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Working Dinner between Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

October 19, 2022
Foreign Minister Hayashi shaking hands with Dr. Okonjo-Iweala

On October 19, commencing at around 7:40pm, for approximately 80 minutes, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a working dinner with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The overview of the meeting is as follows.

  1. At the outset, Minister Hayashi expressed his heartfelt sympathies to all who have been affected by the flood in Nigeria and welcomed Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s visit to Japan.
  2. Minister Hayashi then welcomed the achievement made at MC12 which resulted in the conclusion of fisheries subsidies negotiations and indicated how the WTO could respond to the pandemic and food insecurity. Minister Hayashi stated that it is now more important than ever, as the international environment surrounding trade is rapidly changing, to maintain and strengthen the rules-based free and fair multilateral trading system. Minister Hayashi further stated that Japan will continue to proactively contribute to the discussions on WTO reform, including the dispute settlement system, as well as to facilitate various negotiations including e-commerce. As the G7 Presidency next year, Minister Hayashi expressed that Japan would like to cooperate further with the WTO closely.
  3. In response, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala expressed her appreciation toward Minister Hayashi’s sympathies for the flood in Nigeria. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala expressed that the WTO must make progress in discussions on WTO reform in accordance with the agreement achieved at MC12 towards MC13, and stated that it is important to ratify the fisheries subsidies agreement as early as possible. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala expressed her expectation for Japan’s role, as the G7 Presidency next year, to facilitate and accelerate discussions in the WTO. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala emphasized the importance of including more countries, in particular developing countries, in global trade in order to strengthen the resilience of supply chains whose vulnerabilities after the pandemic and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine have become apparent.
  4. Finally, Minister Hayashi and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala confirmed that Japan and the WTO will continue to work closely to build a free and open economic order and create rules that reflect the contemporary international situation by having the WTO fully perform its functions that meet current day demands.

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