ISLAMABAD - A meeting was held at the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday to prepare strategy for the forthcoming ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization to be held in Nairobi, Kenya next week.

Representatives of WTO Wing of the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Textile and Ministry of Industries and Production participated in the meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan.

The meeting discussed Pakistan’s stance on several agenda items which will come under discussion in the ministerial meeting. The meeting decided that Pakistan’s trade interests will be thoroughly defended in the ministerial meeting through rigorous trade diplomacy. It was agreed that Pakistan will only support and under certain terms and conditions, the proposal to allow countries to have public stockholdings of agricultural commodities and export the same commodities. The permission for public stock holding was allowed in the Bali meeting in 2013 under certain monitoring and evaluation to support the resource poor farmers of the developing countries and ensuring their food security. Some countries misused the facility by exporting the commodities kept in public stock in massive amounts which has a negative effect on international trade. Pakistan would seek the support of Cairns Group of the WTO to further its case in this matter.

The Cairns Group is a unique coalition of agricultural exporting countries with a commitment to reforming agricultural trade. A diverse coalition bringing together developed and developing countries from Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, the Cairns Group has been an influential voice in the agricultural reform debate since its formation in 1986 and has continued to play a key role in pressing the WTO membership to meet in full the far-reaching mandate set in Doha.

Ministerial Conference is the topmost decision-making body of the WTO which usually meets every two years. It brings together all members of the WTO, all of which are countries or customs unions.

The Ministerial Conference can take decisions on all matters under any of the multilateral trade agreements.