With protectionism on the rise as a countervailing trend to globalisation, G20 trade ministers have committed to check and rollback protectionist measures with a view to boost global trade at a time of continuing economic slowdown, a statement said.
In their meeting held in Shanghai on July 9 to 10, G20 trade ministers resolved to improve world trade governance and remain committed to an open global economy to help address the ongoing slowdown while voicing concern that despite the group’s repeated pledges, restrictions on trade in goods and services has continued to rise.
“In response, we recommit to our existing pledge for both standstill and rollback of protectionist measures, and to extend it until the end of 2018. We also commit to improve the track record of notifications related to standstill and rollback efforts, including making better use of existing WTO bodies,” said the statement by the trade ministers.
The G20 group of developed and emerging economies includes India, Australia, Brazil, China, France, US, European Union and Britain, which voted last month to leave the EU.
“G20 members agree to provide political leadership by acting with determination to promote inclusive, robust and sustainable trade and investment growth, which is integral to achieving our ambition of 2% additional growth by 2018 set by G20 Leaders in Brisbane in 2014,” it said.
“We resolve to step up our efforts to better communicate the benefits of trade and investment openness and cooperation to a wider public, recognising their important contribution to global prosperity and development,” it added.
Briefing the trade ministers in Shanghai, World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general Roberto Azevedo said 2016 is likely to be the fifth consecutive year of trade growth below 3%.
“Global trade is not in good shape today. With the exception of the immediate slump after the financial crisis, this is the weakest sustained level of trade growth for 30 years,” he said. In light of this, the G20 has a pivotal role to play in strengthening the trading system, in exploring ways to boost trade growth, and in resisting trade-restrictive policies and anti-trade sentiment, he added.
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