Press Releases

Telephone Talks between Foreign Minister MOTEGI and
Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Okonjo-Iweala

March 11, 2021

On March 11, commencing at 6 p.m. JST for approximately 20 minutes, Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held his first telephone talks with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), since she took office as Director-General on March 1. The overview is as follows:

  1. At the outset, Minister Motegi congratulated Director-General Okonjo-Iweala on her inauguration and conveyed Japan’s readiness to work closely with her. Director-General expressed her appreciation to Japan’s support.

  2. Minister Motegi stressed that Members must establish a common understanding on challenges facing the WTO and steps forward to address them. In addition, Minister Motegi stated that Japan would continue to lead the efforts among Members for carrying out the WTO reform in cooperation with the Director-General, through producing concrete outcomes in rule-making in such important areas as the smooth trade of medical supplies including COVID-19 vaccines and digital economy, as well as reforming the dispute settlement system.

  3. In response, Director-General Okonjo-Iweala stated that this would be an extremely important year for the WTO reform, and renewed her appreciation and expectation for Japan’s leading role in various negotiating areas. Director-General also expressed her strong aspiration to make tangible deliberables in the WTO reform as early as possible, by working with Japan and other Members in the lead-up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held at the end of this year.

  4. Minister Motegi and Director-General Okonjo-Iweala concluded the talks by concurring to continue their close cooperation.

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