WTO Director General Azevêdo calls on APEC members to help address challenges in global trade

Addressing a meeting of APEC trade ministers in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on May 25, 2018 Director-General Roberto Azevêdo called on ministers to address rising trade tensions and to step up efforts to advance the WTO’s work in a number of areas. During their session on ‘Supporting the Multilateral Trading System’, which had a thematic focus on the digital economy, the Director-General also updated ministers on ongoing debates in Geneva following the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires

WWTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo

“APEC members have long been champions of the global trading system. I urge ministers to stay active and engaged, and to play their part – both in resolving the critical issues before us today and in finding ways to continue strengthening and improving the multilateral trading system. An escalation in trade tensions would affect everyone across the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond. Working together through the WTO, we have resolved previous tensions and helped to preserve the stability of the global economy. We must do the same again today.

“To remain strong, effective and relevant, the trading system must also be responsive to its members. With the global economy changing before our eyes, members should feel able to discuss issues of emerging economic importance at the WTO – including in relation to the digital economy and issues of economic inclusion. The leadership of APEC members will continue to be important here.

“Work is also continuing in Geneva to advance negotiations after MC11. On all issues, it will be essential to find new ideas that could lead to convergence. And, in all of these areas, I ask for the support of APEC members. The work on fisheries subsidies is a notable bright spot. These discussions are proceeding with a real sense of urgency following the decision taken by members in Buenos Aires.”