The European Commission is seeking a comprehensive modernization of the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to an official statement on Tuesday.
The commission said its reform plan covers three fundamental principles: updating the rulebook on international trade for today’s global economy, strengthening the WTO’s monitoring role, and overcoming an imminent deadlock on the WTO dispute settlement system.
“The multilateral trading system has for the past decades provided a stable, predictable and effective framework for companies across the world, helping many economies to grow rapidly,” Cecilia Malmstrom, trade commissioner, said in a statement.
“Also today, the WTO is indispensable in ensuring open, fair and rules-based trade,” Malmstrom said.
“But despite its success, the WTO has not been able to adapt sufficiently to the rapidly changing global economy,” she added, saying that as the world has changed the WTO has not.
“It’s high time to act to make the system able to address challenges of the today’s global economy and work for everyone again,” she said. “And the EU must take a lead role in that.”
According to the official statement, the EU will continue discussing these first ideas with various WTO partners in the coming weeks with a view to preparing concrete proposals to the global trade body.