Geneva, Switzerland (13 June 2022) – At the sidelines of the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo represented the Philippines at a Mini Ministerial meeting focused on combating climate change. Undersecretary Rodolfo joined WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Ministers from 21 other delegations representing a cross-section of WTO members including the United States, Canada, Japan, Fiji, Nigeria, Colombia, Singapore and Vietnam, in an informal exchange of views on how to strengthen the environmental sustainability agenda in the WTO.
During the meeting, Ministers committed to strengthen engagement and dialogue with a view to creating a Coalition of Trade Ministers to address climate change. In his remarks, Undersecretary Rodolfo stressed that the Philippines, as a climate vulnerable country, “supports the vision of a coalition of Trade Ministers to respond to climate change and supports revitalizing plurilateral engagement on environmental goods and services that builds on work in other fora like APEC. The Coalition can provide guidance on the scope and approach to future negotiations.”
Ministers had a candid exchange of views on how trade could support a clean energy transition. The Philippines noted its high-level ambition is reflected in recent private sector investments, including the recent announcement of a 4,500 MW solar farm, which will be the world’s largest once it is constructed. The Philippines is pursuing a Sustainable Finance Roadmap and has just enacted a law to develop the electric vehicle industry. However, Undersecretary Rodolfo cautioned that “for us to meet these ambitions, developing countries must forge partnerships with the developed world on financing, technology transfer and technical assistance.”
The Philippines has intensified its engagement in the WTO’s Dialogue on Plastics Pollution since Ambassador Manuel Teehankee confirmed our participation last year. The Philippines is now co-leading with Australia a work stream on promoting trade to tackle plastics pollution. Undersecretary Rodolfo emphasized that “we must continue to share our experiences in dealing with the plastics crisis and contribute to the multilateral treaty on plastics.” He called for further cooperation on this front to pursue strategies that would reduce single-use plastics and support sustainable plastic packaging. Packaging accounts for almost 50% of the plastics market in the country, including the so-called “sachet economy.”
The meeting was co-hosted by the Ministers of Ecuador (Vice Minister Daniel Legarda), European Union (Commissioner Valdis Dombrovkis), Kenya (Minister Betty Maina) and New Zealand (Minister Damien O’Connor). END