Summary of U.S. Mission to the WTO and Ambassador María L. Pagán’s Engagement at the WTO during the week of January 8, 2024

January 12, 2024

GENEVA – This week, U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Ambassador Maria Pagán, represented the United States in an informal meeting of the General Council, which convened to review and prepare for endorsement a slate of candidates for WTO committee chairpersons for 2024. This process reflects the importance of active Member engagement in oversight and steering of WTO committee work.
Ambassador Pagán participated in two informal, structured small group discussions on the WTO agriculture negotiations. In these meetings, the United States and a range of WTO Members exchanged views on approaches to advance agricultural negotiations and on possible outcomes for the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13). In total, the U.S. delegation participated in five meetings covering agricultural issues this week.
Ambassador Pagán also engaged with the Chair of the ongoing fisheries subsidies negotiations on developments to the text in advance of the upcoming Ministerial Conference. In these consultations, Ambassador Pagán reiterated the importance of transparency to highlight forced labor practices in the industry, as well as a desire to have a prohibition on subsidies contingent upon fishing outside a country’s national jurisdiction. She also expressed concerns with the growing calls for carve outs from the disciplines by a large proportion of the WTO membership.
After an eight-year hiatus in accessions, WTO Members concluded negotiations on the accessions of Comoros and Timor Leste. In addition to actively participating in both working parties, the United States delegation worked very closely with both acceding countries through technical assistance, frequent bilateral technical consultations, as well as high level engagement to assist in their accessions. With the conclusion of the work of both working parties, the accession packages will be referred to ministers for approval at MC13. The United States is looking forward to welcoming these two countries as Members of the WTO.
The U.S. delegation participated in the ongoing informal discussions on additional aspects of the LDC graduation proposal. In addition, the U.S. delegation participated in 6 bilateral and plurilateral meetings relating to trade and development issues.
The U.S. delegation participated in an informal meeting of the committee on trade and environment to discuss a potential contribution to the draft MC13 ministerial declaration as well as future thematic discussions on trade and environment.
The U.S. delegation participated in over 10 meetings on dispute settlement reform with WTO Members in various configurations.
The U.S. delegation comprises Washington and Geneva based officials and is supported in its work in Geneva by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. and a range of other U.S. agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, and Department of the Treasury. The delegation engaged in 35 additional bilateral and plurilateral meetings during the week across a wide range of issues.