WTO needs urgent change; Saudi T20 Group, Offers 8 Recommendations

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Saudi Arabia’s Think20 (T20), the region’s engagement group which makes suggestions to the Great 20 nations group (G20) has proposed for an immediate and extensive restructuring of the World Trade Organization (WTO) with respect to the drastic changes the world trade segment is going through amid coronavirus.

The T20 took part in the G20 presidency meeting in Saudi Arabia for the Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) to serve as a forum for trade negotiations where it helped in developing a plan for improving the role of the WTO.

The group made eight recommendations to tackle WTO’s issues and enhance its position in the international community.

The recommendations were 

  1. The G20 should initiate a dialogue to help identify and resolve controversial issues leading towards a WTO reformation.

  2. The G20 should empower the Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) to improve the dialogue among WTO members.

  3. WTO needs to manage contingencies preemptively that can disrupt the trade of all kinds.

  4. WTO should encourage achieving consensus on agreements leading to successful implementation.

  5. WTO should focus on reducing tensions surrounding the issue of subsidies and strengthen its surveillance and implementation of subsidies.

  6. WTO should ensure that global trade barriers are WTO-compatible and transparent.

  7. WTO should support digital trade and its transformation in a post-pandemic economy.

  8. WTO needs to revise and upgrade its rule to ensure that the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) is not overloaded.

The results of the TIWG meeting in which Saudi T20 took pat will assist G20 leaders and trade ministers in molding the future of the WTO, and combating the economic effects of the pandemic on trade and investment.

In recent decades the WTO has tried to keep pace with developments in the world economy but has failed to meet challenges that are dictated by regional economies which are at different stages of development.