US Vice President Calls WTO DG On Issues Related To Human Rights, Technology And Other WTO Reforms

March 13, 2021
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The United States Vice-President Kamala Harris, on Thursday spoke over phone with Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

During the conversation they discussed the need for reforms within the WTO to maximize its effectiveness for the future.

In a tweet, Harris said, “I spoke with WTO Director-General Dr Okonjo-Iweala. We agreed to advancing international trade for recovery and equitable economic growth. We discussed human rights, investing in the environment, health, and technology to spur development and prosperity for the American people.”

“Thank you Madam Vice President Kamala Harris @VP for a great conversation on the way forward on @WTO reform. Your encouragement and wise counsel is much appreciated,” Okonjo-Iweala responded, thanking Kamala for the call.

Okonjo-Iweala, a former Nigeria’s Finance Minister, had earlier held discussions on WTO reforms with Ambassador Lopes Parola of Brazil, who represents the Mission of Brazil to the WTO and Other International Economic Organizations in Geneva; George Mina, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the WTO, WIPO, and UNCTAD; as well as Yamazaki Kazuyuki of Japan, who is also his country’s Permanent Mission of Japan to international organizations in Geneva.

According to Business Standard, during the call, Harris congratulated the director-general and offered her strong support as the global community works toward recovery from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Business Standard reported that they committed to work together to address the economic and health consequences of Covid-19 and climate change, and to prioritize resilience in the global supply chain.

In a readout of the call, the White House said, “The Vice President and the director-general agreed on the importance of using trade to promote equity and economic growth. They discussed how improved living standards, labour rights, human rights, and the well-being of working families must be at the centre of our shared priorities to use trade as a lever to lift communities out of poverty.”

It added that, “They also discussed the need for reforms within the World Trade Organization to maximize its effectiveness for the future. The vice president highlighted the priority of the United States to invest in health and technology as engines for growth and to advance sustainable development.”

Harris and Okonjo-Iweala committed to work closely together for the benefit of all in the global economy.

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