Yesterday, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Hon. Manlio Di Stefano took part in an online meeting of G7 Trade Ministers and organised by the German Presidency. In addition to the Trade Ministers of the Member States, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis also took part in the meeting.
The discussion focused on “the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on international trade, with special emphasis on the framework of sanctions and the procurement of raw materials” said Undersecretary Di Stefano.
In his address, the Hon. Di Stefano explained that “the deterioration of the crisis in Ukraine, which is already damaging global economic prospects and the smooth functioning of commercial traffic, is forcing Western nations to break free from high risk suppliers such as Russia as quickly as possible and to rethink supply chains” by diversifying supply chains and expanding the EU network of commercial agreements.
In light of the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference, Undersecretary Di Stefano also hoped that a decision would finally be made within the scope of the TRIPS agreement to facilitate the production of vaccines, especially in regions like Africa; this would be to boost production capacity and the resilience of African healthcare systems as part of a broader response by multilateral trade to the pandemic, while simultaneously maintaining incentives for innovation and the fundamental investments needed for research into anti-COVID 19 vaccines.
According to Undersecretary Di Stefano, this agreement would have to be accompanied by other measures to facilitate trade and “the logistic and industrial efforts needed to really start up the factories”. The Undersecretary concluded by saying that “Italy is working hard to achieve this result”.