The WTO must fit its purpose: Wolff

The World Trade Organization (WTO) must adapt to its purpose, urged its deputy director general, Alan Wolff, to the Group of 20 (G-20) on Tuesday.

“In an era of political and economic tension, the WTO must adapt to its purpose. It should be considered that it provides equity to all those who participate in world trade or are affected by it”, he highlighted in his participation in the virtual meeting of the G-20 Trade and Investment Ministers.

In his vision, a renewed commitment by WTO Members can ensure that the WTO is fully prepared to meet the challenges of a changing world economy.

As the pandemic continues, trade restrictive emergency measures must be reviewed through the lens of the G-20 criteria that existing measures are in fact specific, proportionate, transparent and temporary.

At the same time, according to Wolff, members should begin to relax those measures that are no longer absolutely necessary.


Wolff said that the ongoing negotiations to modernize international trade rules to meet the challenges of the global digital economy and facilitate sustainable development must be concluded successfully.

The process of systemic reform, called for by the leaders of the G20, should begin in earnest with the Members of the World Trade Organization deliberating on concrete proposals, restoring this organization to its rightful place.

That place should be where negotiations are concluded successfully and where disputes are resolved within a universally accepted structure, actively served by a strong, dedicated and professional Secretariat.



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