The European Parliament today backed a report calling for the EU to lead the drive for a reformed World Trade Organization (WTO). S&D MEPs stressed the need for the EU to continue to stand up for a rule-based multilateral system in the face of attacks from a protectionist US President.
S&D MEP Bernd Lange, Chair of the European Parliament International Trade Committee and author of the report said:
“Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull the USA out of the WTO and is very clear that he prefers bilateral agreements between countries rather than a multilateral approach. On this, as on many things, he is wrong. Setting rules at a global level is the only way we can hope to shape globalisation in a fair and progressive way. This helps the EU just as it helps the USA. We urge Donald Trump’s administration to stop blocking the reappointment of members to the appellate body in order to allow the dispute settlement system to work effectively.
“The European Union has put forward a proposal to reform the WTO and bring it into the 21st Century. We need to update the rulebook on international trade to better reflect trade patterns in today’s global economy, strengthen the monitoring role of the WTO and overcome the deadlock in the dispute settlement system. We want the EU to work with other like-minded partners to reform the WTO to better protect our workers and our industries.”
S&D spokesperson on trade Alessia Mosca added:
“It is no secret that the WTO is facing very serious challenges. The latest round of trade negotiations, known as the Doha Development Agenda, began in 2001 and has still not been concluded. While taking well into account that the world has changed, that the distinction between developed and developing countries needs to be reviewed and that crucial actors like India and China need to give contributions based on the level of development of their economies, we continue to support this agenda but are ready to start negotiating on new issues, such as social, environmental challenges, and gender.
“Increasing trade between countries can benefit everyone but the rules that govern it must be clear and transparent. Today the European Parliament has shown that we want the EU to lead the reform of the international trade system. If we work together with like-minded countries we can push a trade agenda that is open, progressive and fair.”