G-20 Discussed ‘Urgent Need’ to Improve WTO

(Bloomberg) -- Trade ministers for the world’s 20 largest economies said Friday that they found an "urgent need" to reform the World Trade Organization.

Member nations recognize the need to "step up dialogue" to mitigate risks, enhance confidence in global trade, and improve the WTO, they said in a statement released following meetings in Mar del Plata, Argentina. The meetings included European Union Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom and deputy trade representatives from China and the U.S.

The WTO has come under fire from President Donald Trump, who threatened to pull out of the organization if it doesn’t treat the U.S. better. A U.S. withdrawal from the WTO potentially would be far more significant for the global economy than even Trump’s growing trade war with China, undermining the post-World War II system that the U.S. helped build.

"It’s clear that we share that it’s of utmost importance to find proposals for the WTO to be more responsive to the current challenges to trade," Argentina’s Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie told reporters after the statement was released. "We validated the existence of the organization, which is the most important element."

Representatives from the G-20 nations will meet in November to discuss WTO reform at a technical level, said Spain’s Minister of Industry and Trade Reyes Maroto to journalists. Faurie confirmed the meeting at his presser and added that the topics in its agenda have not yet been determined.

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