Liz Truss calls on G7 partners to modernise World Trade Organisation

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"It really is now or never for the World Trade Organisation. International trade only works when it is fair and when countries submit themselves to a common set of rules, and for that to happen we need a more modern and dynamic WTO" - International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

The International Trade Secretary will use the UK-hosted G7 Trade Ministerial meeting this week (27 to 28 May) to rally the world’s leading democracies to the cause of WTO reform.

Liz Truss will push for a fully-functioning dispute settlement system, to tackle unfair subsidies in industry and agriculture, to modernise the WTO rulebook, and advance digital and green trade.

She will warn that if real progress is not made to bring the WTO into the 21st century, there is a danger of the global trading system fragmenting.

Truss will urge the G7 to support the WTO’s new Director General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is working to make progress on reform and create a new framework for action ahead of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC-12) in November.

The UK is seeking agreement at the WTO on the need to tackle harmful industrial subsidies, which distort competition and undermine international trade. As holders of the G7 Presidency, the UK will increase collaboration and cooperation between G7 members on stopping unfair trading practices through methods such as better evidence-sharing and greater transparency from non-market economies.

This week’s trade meeting provides an opportunity to push for G7 support for sustainable supply chains, a crucial aspect of the UK’s commitment to promoting greener trade, ahead of the COP26 Summit in November.

During the meeting the International Trade Secretary will also call for collective action to boost production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and medical goods.

Speaking at the opening session of the G7 Trade Track, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is expected to say:

It really is now or never for the World Trade Organisation. International trade only works when it is fair and when countries submit themselves to a common set of rules, and for that to happen we need a more modern and dynamic WTO.

We want to use our G7 Presidency to address the fundamental issues facing global trade, and support Dr Ngozi in her work to bring the WTO into the twenty-first century. Like-minded democracies need to lead the charge on trade reform, because if we don’t then there is a very real danger that global trade fragments and that fewer countries end up playing by the rules.

The International Trade Secretary will be joined at the second virtual G7 Trade Track meeting by trade Ministers from the member countries of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, US, and the EU, as well as Dr Okonjo-Iweala, members of the Business 7 group, the Gender Equality Advisor Council (GEAC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The third and final G7 Trade Track meeting is due to take place in person in October where the UK will be looking to finalise our shared agenda with our G7 partners.


Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

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