Shortly after taking office, World Trade Organization (WTO) spokesperson Ismaila Dieng led the WTO to the sixth CIIE.
“I am very happy to come to the CIIE. More than 154 countries, regions and international organizations are participating in the CIIE. Companies from all over the world come here to display products and share ideas and ways of doing business. In my opinion , this is true international trade.”
“The WTO has been involved in the CIIE since the first CIIE. It is particularly important for us to be here this year because the CIIE has fully returned to offline mode. Three years after the COVID-19 epidemic, the WTO has also returned to the CIIE offline exhibition for the first time. Pavilion.” When the “International Finance News” reporter saw Ismaila Dieng in the 5.2 National Pavilion, he expressed his excitement unabashedly.
“Trade is a key engine of global growth, and we have repeatedly emphasized the importance of keeping the trading system open. Therefore, we encourage and welcome countries to participate in opportunities like the CIIE to provide opportunities for business exchanges and development of trade relations. The WTO must establish a A rules-based, open and fair international trade system is a symbol of the role of international trade standards. For us, participating in the CIIE is a good opportunity. We can also communicate with companies and listen to their opinions. ideas and share our work,” said Ismaila Dieng.
Keeping the trading system open is important
Global trade is currently facing many challenges, and the latest report released by the WTO in early October issued a clear warning.
In this report, the WTO lowered its forecast for global merchandise trade growth in 2023. It is expected that the volume of merchandise trade in 2023 will increase by 0.8% year-on-year, which is lower than the 1.7% growth predicted in April. That would be well below the 2.6% average annual growth rate since the global financial crisis.
The report believes that trade appears to be slowing down across the board, involving a large number of countries and a variety of commodities, especially certain categories of manufactured goods, such as steel, office and telecommunications equipment, textiles and clothing. Inflation, high interest rates, a rising dollar and geopolitical tensions are all adding fuel to the fire.
“From the perspective of the WTO, it is very important to keep the trading system open at present,” Ismaila Dieng told reporters. “Keeping the trading system open also means diversifying the supply chain, so that more people can Bringing people, more countries, and more industries into the global trading system. This will advance the trading system, boost economic growth, and lift millions of people out of poverty.”
“Reglobalization” is an urgent topic
The COVID-19 epidemic has caused chaos in the supply chain, and the war between Russia and Ukraine has led to shortages of energy and raw materials. In the context of global trade, “de-globalization” practices are increasing, and global trade is at a crossroads.
“The WTO has always called on all members to avoid protectionist measures and advocate re-globalization, but we do hear some voices talking about deglobalization.” Ismaila Dieng admitted that not all WTO members have a consensus on globalization. , many countries have expressed concerns about the multilateral trading system and its effectiveness.
Ismaila Dieng also said that international trade is still far from de-globalization. Global trade is still growing, and even trade between China and the United States is at an all-time high. “But we are seeing the first signs of fragmentation… some countries are struggling to trade with their friends or countries they get along with. This will have consequences for economic growth and development.”
Previous simulation results conducted by the WTO show that if the two global trade camps are truly decoupled, it may cause a 5% loss to global GDP.
For the WTO, which has always advocated the multilateral trading system, “re-globalization” is the most pressing issue recently.
“We call on countries to keep their trading systems open and avoid fragmentation,” Ismaila Dieng said.
Ismaila Dieng mentioned that the 13th Ministerial Conference to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2024 will be very important.
This ministerial meeting is the most important annual meeting of global trade ministers, where trade agreements with far-reaching global impacts are usually discussed and consensus reached.
“Last year, at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, agreements were reached on some important issues, such as the fishery subsidy agreement. The goal of the 13th Ministerial Conference is to build on the success of the 12th Ministerial Conference to make the trading system Stay as strong as possible,” said Ismaila Dieng.
WTO reform is an ongoing process
The appeal mechanism has failed and trade disputes have proliferated. The WTO is considered to be in urgent need of reform. However, discussions on reform have been going on for many years, and there is no consensus among members on the direction of reform. The role of the WTO in maintaining the multilateral trading system has also been questioned.
Ismaila Dieng believes that the WTO is still playing a role, and members are working hard to effectively strengthen this system, with the goal of having the dispute arbitration mechanism fully operational by 2024.
Issues that need attention at the 13th Ministerial Conference include WTO reform, especially the reform of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, and the reform time point set by each member is already around the corner.
“The reform of the WTO is an ongoing process, as the environment changes and new issues continue to arise. Therefore, it is always necessary to adapt to the coming changes. This is exactly what we intend to do in the coming months.” Meira Dion said.