The European Commission has proposed an initial set of ideas for the modernisation of the WTO and for the adaptation of international trade rules to the challenges of the global economy.

At a meeting in Geneva organised by Canada on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform and scheduled for 20 September, the EU will present its views on this reform to its partners, outlined in a document published on 18th September.

During the presentation of the Commission’s conceptual document, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that the need for measures to adapt the WTO to the new conditions in world trade is clearly visible.

The modernisation ideas are linked to three key areas: updating the set of rules in the field of international trade to cover today’s global economy; strengthening the role of the WTO as an observer and overcoming the deadlock in the WTO dispute resolution system.

Brussels recalled that the current rules on international trade do not cover enough, for example, the subsidies.

The EU has already started working with other WTO partners: with the US and Japan in tripartite discussions; with China via the task force set up at the latest EU-China Summit; with other partners – finally at the G20 Trade Ministers meeting.

The WTO reform is particularly relevant in the context of the trade wars taken by Donald Trump, for example with China. The EU remains a firm supporter of the multilateral trading system. For this reason, the European Council on 28-29 June 2018 instructed the EC to promote the modernisation of the WTO so that it can adapt to a changing world and improve its effectiveness.

In the coming weeks, the EU will continue to discuss these initial ideas with different WTO partners in order to make concrete proposals to the WTO. The European Parliament and the Council will be fully informed of these discussions.