G20 trade ministers reach consensus on tackling pandemic, protecting multilateral trading
By Wang Hui

Trade ministers from the G20 nations agreed that consensus was essential on multiple fronts such as safeguarding the multilateral trading system, fighting the pandemic, fostering trade and creating a better environment.

This year's G20 Trade Ministers' Meeting is a curtain-raiser for the upcoming G20 summit in Rome at the end of this month. It is also an important multilateral meeting before the 12th ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Switzerland next month.

According to data from China's Ministry of Commerce, the GDP, trade volume and inbound investment of the G20 members account for 86 percent, 77 percent and 66 percent of the global total.

Besides approving the G20 Trade Ministers' Meeting Statement, the meeting has also sent out positive signals about safeguarding the multilateral trading system.

"All parties have reiterated that we should strengthen the multilateral trading system surrounding the WTO, with the rules as basis. We have also agreed that we should strengthen WTO functions like making rules and regulations, and facilitate the normal operation of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, and negotiation function," said Chen Chao, a senior official with China's Commerce Ministry.

Chen said all parties have agreed that common efforts are necessary to combat the pandemic. The ministers have committed they will implement the decisions taken by the group to deal with the pandemic and foster global trade and investment.

All parties reiterated that all the urgent trading measures to resolve the pandemic must be targeted, moderate, transparent and temporary. The measures can't cause unnecessary trading obstacles or disrupt the global supply chain. The ministers have also emphasized that they will adopt a constructive approach to facilitate trade, protect intellectual property, and for production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Chen said all parties will strengthen the coordination of trade and environment policies, including reaching an agreement on fishing subsidies at the upcoming ministerial meeting of the WTO, to protect maritime resources. Member countries will also deepen pragmatic cooperation for the development of small and micro enterprises, facilitate trade in services, and boost international investment.

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