On June 4, 2024, the Friends of Multilateralism Group (FMG) organized an online brainstorming session to discuss on the role of WTO Ministerial Conference. Jonathan Fried, FMG member and former Ambassador of Canada to the WTO moderated this session.    


At the meeting, James Baxter, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the WTO, LI Chenggang, Permanent Representative & Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to the WTO, and Pimchanok Vonkorpon Pitfield, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand to the WTO and WIPO shared their insights on how to better leverage the role of the WTO ministerial conference in improving all functions of the WTO, based on three proposals that have been submitted to the WTO, including Maximising The Value of WTO Ministerial Conferences (WT/GC/W/873/Rev.1), Small Steps to Make A Difference (WT/GC/W/879/Rev.2), and Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference (JOB/GC/310). Then Cecilia Malmström, FMG member and former European Home Affairs Commissioner, as well as Peter Ungphakorn, FMG member who previously worked at the Information and External Relations Division of the WTO Secretariat shared their comments as discussants.


Over 50 participants joined the session, including members of FMG, Ambassadors/DPRs of WTO members, Directors of WTO divisions, representatives from related international organizations, and experts from renowned think tanks and universities etc.



Recording of this session can be watched via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6msJMDgufCc.



Annex 1: Programme



Opening Remarks

Speaker: Xiankun Lu (FMG)



Speaker: Jonathan T. Fried (FMG)





Moderator: Jonathan T. Fried (FMG)


Speaker 1: James Baxter (Australia)

14:15- 14:25

Speaker 2: Li Chenggang (China) 


Speaker 3: Pimchanok Pitfield (Thailand)


Discussant 1: Cecilia Malmström (FMG)


Discussant 2: Peter Ungphakorn (FMG)



14:55- 15:30


Moderator: Jonathan T. Fried (FMG)


Annex 2: List of participants



Mercedes Araoz (FMG)

Clemens Boonekamp (FMG)

Wendy Cutler (FMG)

Jonathan Fried (FMG)

Stuart Harbinson (FMG)

Henry Gao (FMG)

Patrick Low (FMG)

Wenhua Ji (FMG)

Mario Matus (FMG)

Mia Mikic (FMG)

Petros Mavroidis (FMG)

Cecilia Malmström (FMG)

Janet Macharia (FMG)

Hamid Mamdouh (FMG)

Hamish McCormick (FMG)

Evan Rogerson (FMG)

Sherry Stephenson (FMG)

Xinquan Tu (FMG)

Peter Ungphakorn (FMG)

John Weekes (FMG)

Anabel González (FFMG)


WTO Missions

Australia: James Baxter, Ambassador

Austria: Brigitte Luth, Counsellor

Argentina: Josefina Bunge, Ambassador

Barbados: Matthew Wilson, Ambassador

Bulgaria: Tsvetelina Dimitrova, Ambassador

Brazil: Guilherme Patriota, Ambassador

China: Li Chenggang, Ambassador

Egypt: Ahmed Ihab GAMALELDIN, Ambassador

Egypt: Ahmed Maghawry Diab, Minister Plenipotentiary

Hongkong, China: Winky SO, Permanent Representative

Korea: Jung Sung PARK, Ambassador

Latvia: Renārs Danelsons, Counsellor

New Zealand: Clare Kelly, Ambassador

Norway: Petter Ølberg, Ambassador

Russia: Platonov Nikolai, Ambassador

Switzerland: Martin Zbinden, DPR

Slovenia: Maruša Baus, Counsellor

Thailand: Pimchanok Pitfield, Ambassador

Uruguay: Alvaro Moerzinger, Ambassador


WTO Secretariat

Willy Alfaro, Director, Trade Policies Review Division


Think Tanks

William Reinsch, CSIS

Jeff Schott, PIIE


International Organizations

Rolf Traeger, UNCTAD

Adam Jakubik, IMF



Werner Zdouc, former Director, Knowledge and Information Management, Academic Outreach and WTO Chairs Programme