Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende played host when ministers from 25 WTO members and the Director-General of the WTO gathered in Oslo for informal talks 21 – 22 October 2016. 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.
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. With slow growth in international trade and protectionism as the backdrop for the meeting, the ministers underlined the need for continuous political involvement leading up to next year's ministerial conference. 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.
Minister Brende said after the informal gathering in Oslo that he looks forward to Argentina's leadership in the preparations for the ministerial conference in Buenos Aires. The minister hopes that the Oslo meeting has provided new inspiration for further negotiations, and that the participants 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 minister emphasized.
The meeting in Oslo was informal. The Foreign Minister has summarized it on his own responsibility. The chair's summary of discussion is shared with WTO members, and can be found here.