Director-General Roberto Azevêdo strongly welcomed the communiqué agreed by G20 leaders at the summit in Osaka, Japan on 29 June recommitting the G20 to the need for WTO reform. The Director-General participated in the summit, where he also underlined the urgency of addressing the blockage in the WTO dispute settlement system.
Speaking in Osaka at the close of the summit, the Director-General said:
“Once again there has been strong support from the G20 for a strong, predictable and stable trade and investment environment including the role of trade as an important engine of growth, job creation and development. Leaders have again recognised the importance of the WTO by reaffirming their support for its necessary reform so its functions can be improved. Importantly, the leaders also addressed the critical situation in the WTO dispute settlement system by agreeing that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the system consistent with the rules negotiated by WTO members.
“I welcome these important messages. Furthermore, G20 leaders committed to work constructively in the lead up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. This will be an important benchmark in our work and I am committed to work with all WTO members to do everything possible to achieve progress by then.“
The declaration agreed by the G20 leaders is available here. The key paragraph on trade issues is as follows:
“We welcome the G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy in Tsukuba. We strive to realize a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open. International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. We reaffirm our support for the necessary reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to improve its functions. We will work constructively with other WTO members, including in the lead up to the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference. We agree that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the dispute settlement system consistent with the rules as negotiated by WTO members. Furthermore, we recognize the complementary roles of bilateral and regional free trade agreements that are WTO-consistent. We will work to ensure a level playing field to foster an enabling business environment.”