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G20 ministers pledge to seek reform of World Trade Organization

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 10, 2019
Ministers from the Group of 20 major economies wrapped up a two-day meeting on trade and digital economy on Sunday with a joint statement pledging to pursue an overhaul of the World Trade Organization.
WTO meeting
World   "We will work constructively with other WTO members"
“We will work constructively with other WTO members to undertake necessary WTO reform with a sense of urgency,” the statement said.

Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, said that it is significant that specifics concerning WTO reform were included in a G20 ministerial statement for the first time.

Improving the organization’s system for resolving disputes is one of them.

“We agree that action is necessary regarding the functioning of the dispute settlement system consistent with the rules as negotiated by the WTO members,” the statement said.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono said it was a “big feat” for Japan, which places importance on this issue, that the need to address the system was explicitly mentioned in the statement.

Tokyo argues that the organization’s appellate body, which makes final judgments, does not effectively settle disputes and has called for change.