Ministers meet to discuss international trade in Oslo

Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende played host when ministers from 25 countries and the Director-General of the WTO gathered in Oslo for informal talks on Friday and Saturday. International trade, preparations for the WTO's next ministerial conference in Argentina in December 2017 and the continuing work in the organization were among the topics discussed.

"I am pleased with the talks we have had in Oslo. The participants carried out constructive discussions on a great many issues surrounding the work in the WTO and further trade negotiations in both the short and intermediate term," says Foreign Minister Brende. 

With slow growth in international trade and growing protectionism as the backdrop for the meeting, the ministers were concerned with the need for continuous political involvement leading up to next year's ministerial conference. 

"I look forward to Argentina's leadership in the preparations for the ministerial conference in Buenos Aires. I hope and believe that the Oslo meeting has provided new inspiration for further negotiations, and that we have laid a good foundation for concrete results. Trade is essential in order to contribute to inclusive economic growth, to pursue sustainability goals, good framework conditions for trade and industry, and new jobs. 

The primary topic of the meeting was maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trading system and further negotiations in the WTO. The ministers also discussed how new regional free trade agreements and mega-regional agreements can serve as inspiration for the WTO's work. The interests of developing countries were a key topic of discussion at the meeting. 

The meeting in Oslo was informal. The Foreign Minister's summary of the meeting is shared with WTO members.