Statement by Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Germany, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland , Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, United Kingdom, Ukraine, United States and Uruguay:
We, the Trade Ministers/Heads of Delegation of the undersigned WTO Members, gathered today in Geneva on the occasion of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, to reiterate our full support and solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We express our deep sadness at the devastating loss of life and deep suffering caused by the aggression against Ukraine. In doing so, we reiterate our support for the United Nations General Assembly resolutions of March 2, 2022 (A/RES/ES-11/1) and March 24, 2022 (A/RES/ES-11/2).
The war is also having a devastating impact, especially on Ukraine’s economy and its ability to trade. The destruction of a significant part of Ukraine’s transport infrastructure, including roads, bridges, ports and railways, significantly hampers Ukraine’s ability to produce, export and import. We are gravely concerned about the consequences of this destruction for Ukraine and for world trade, in particular with regard to the supply of international markets with a number of essential basic products produced by Ukraine, in particular agricultural and food products, fertilizers, sunflower oil and critical minerals. We are also deeply concerned by the numerous reports of looting of grain from Ukraine. These actions are in contradiction with the principles and values of the WTO.
We stress the importance of maintaining open and predictable markets and Ukraine’s ability to trade. In view of this, we strongly condemn any action aimed at the means of supply, production and transport necessary for Ukraine to produce and export to the world, including agro-food products. We stress the need to ensure that trade routes, especially sea routes and ports, are not blocked by the threat of the use of force.
The food security impacts are dramatic for those directly affected in Ukraine, but are not limited only to Ukraine and its citizens. Ukraine is one of the world’s leading exporters of key agricultural products like wheat, corn, barley and sunflower oil. It is a major supplier to the World Food Programme. The impact of the war, including the blocking of Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea, is seriously compromising food supplies to some of the world’s most vulnerable regions in developing countries. This risks plunging millions of people into food insecurity, worsening the already serious situation caused by COVID-19.
In this context, we will seek to support Ukraine and facilitate its exports. We encourage WTO Members must do the same in a manner commensurate with their capacity, including by facilitating the use of infrastructure or by facilitating and simplifying customs procedures.
Within our capabilities, we will look for ways to help Ukrainian farmers continue to plant and grow much-needed grains and oilseeds that the world needs. Within the limits of each person’s abilities WTO Honorable Member, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of Ukrainian civilians, including to help ensure their access to basic goods and services, including food. We will also look for ways to help Ukraine in its reconstruction as soon as circumstances permit.