Canada is working on a project for reform
of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and aims to organize international
talks on the subject next month, Canadian sources said Friday as US pressure
on the body mounts.
President Donald Trump threatened late last month to pull his country out
of the WTO, which arbitrates trade disputes, if it does not shape up.
He has previously criticized the WTO's dispute settlement system as being
unfavorable to the US, although the body most often rules in favor of the
United States when Washington brings cases before it.
We recognize the challenges at the heart of the WTO and believe it is
necessary to find the means to do the necessary work to advance reforms, a
spokesman for Jim Carr, Canada's Minister of International Trade
Diversification, told AFP.
This work has started, he said, adding that the WTO can overcome some of
its historic challenges and make progress.
A small group of like-minded trade ministers will gather in Ottawa October
24-25 to discuss WTO reform, a Canadian government source told AFP,
requesting anonymity given the sensitivity of the discussions.
The group will identify concrete means of improving the WTO over the
short, mid and long term, the source said, adding preparatory work has
Australia, Brazil, Chile, the European Union, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New
Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland will be part of the
working group, the official said.
A European diplomatic source said the Ottawa gathering is not totally
confirmed because a meeting of trade ministers from the G20 group of major
economies takes place at the same time, and Canada is still verifying if it
has enough support for steering WTO reform.
At a meeting in Washington in July, Trump won a commitment from European
Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to work together for WTO readjustment to
address some of the US leader's complaints about China on theft of US
technology, the behavior of state-owned enterprises, and overcapacity in
Trump complained in April on Twitter that the WTO considers China, despite
its economic might, a developing nation.
They therefore get tremendous perks and advantages, especially over the
US, he said. The WTO is unfair to US.
In May, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo agreed with a call from French
President Emmanuel Macron on the need to strengthen the WTO and to make it
more effective in addressing the trade challenges of today, where the
protectionist US administration has imposed tariffs on allies and trade
disputes have multiplied.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)