Today, at the Foreign Ministry, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi di Maio, received the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, for a meeting focused on the importance of the multilateral trade system for relaunching the world economy in the wake of the pandemic.
The Foreign Minister confirmed Italy's support for the WTO reform process, also in view of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, which will start at the end of the year.
In its capacity as President of the G20 – Di Maio added – Italy will work intensively in the coming months to support this process and to foster a broad international convergence on the revival of trade and investments, with particular attention to the strengthening of the value chains of medical products, to environmental sustainability and to the strengthening of medium and small enterprises on international markets.
Minister di Maio also thanked the Director General for her commitment to the supply and distribution of vaccines. He added that Italy is committed in all the international fora to mobilise adequate financial support for developing countries in the fight against COVID-19 and to encourage a significant increase in vaccine production.
In this perspective, the recent US proposal for patent liberalisation constitutes a new element in the ongoing debate on this issue and Italy, together with the EU, is ready to discuss any proposal that addresses such cases in an effective and pragmatic way. In the short term, we also continue to call on vaccine-producing countries to allow exports and to avoid any measures that interfere with international supply chains. On this last point, Minister di Maio said, the European Union has adopted a balanced and forward-looking approach, which can serve as an example for our partners. Our priority is to increase the production and availability of vaccines.