EU calls for urgent WTO reforms
EU Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis pleaded on Thursday for urgent reform of the World Trade Organization, saying it was high time to change the World Trade Organization.
Dombrovskis has said he is ready to consider a major overhaul of the WTO dispute settlement system, media reported.
He visited the WTO headquarters in Geneva for a meeting with the organization’s director general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, then outlined the European Union’s priorities for the future of the WTO, two months before the ministerial conference of the professional body.
“The face of trade has changed dramatically since the founding of the WTO” in 1995, said Dombrovskis. “Meanwhile, the rules governing the organization have not.
“In its current form and condition, the WTO is caught between a rock and a hard place. Its negotiation function is paralyzed. Its dispute settlement system is frozen.
And he said there was a lack of a common goal among its 164 member states. “The WTO is in urgent need of reform,” said the European commissioner.
Diplomats and experts alike agree that the world trade body – which only makes decisions by consensus – has been stuck in a rut for years and unable to close large-scale negotiations.
Dombrovskis called for reform of WTO rules on investment facilitation and subsidies, including industrial and agricultural subsidies.
The former Latvian prime minister said trade must play its part to face the “big tests of our time – from health issues to climate change to digital”.