Kazakhstan calls off WTO ministerial conference over coronavirus

Kazakhstan has a tradition of hosting big international events. A view of the venue of the Expo of 2017. [Georgi Gotev]

Kazakhstan is suspending all public events and taking special preventive measures due to the global spread of the coronavirus, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev wrote on Twitter on Thursday (12 March).

The Central Asian nation, which borders China, has so far reported no coronavirus cases on its soil, but the authorities have said the arrival of the disease appeared imminent.

Tokayev said the government would ensure steady supply of food and other necessities and urged officials to minimize the impact of the outbreak on small- and medium-sized businesses.

Separately, the Interfax news agency quoted deputy prime minister Alikhan Smailov as saying that the June World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference in Kazakhstan has been canceled because of the virus outbreak.

The Twelfth Ministerial Conference of WTO (MC12) was expected to take place from 8 to 11 June in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan.

The international community and the EU in particular had put high hopes in the WTO ministerial, held at a time of crisis for this organisation.

Croatian Presidency praises Kazakhstan for readiness to host ‘difficult’ WTO ministerial

The Croatian EU Presidency praised Kazakhstan on Monday (20 January) for its initiative to host a ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at a time when the world trade body is facing a deep crisis.

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