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Veronika Nikishina: “The WTO reform is intended to ensure the effectiveness of multilateral trade rules and efficiently prevent the rise in protectionism.”

Veronika Nikishina: “The WTO reform is intended to ensure the effectiveness of multilateral trade rules and efficiently prevent the rise in protectionism.”

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11/6/2019

The issues of reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the coherence of WTO norms and agreements on the free trade zone (FTZ) were discussed by the participants in the session "Reform of the WTO and Free Trade Agreements:  Opportunities and Prospects" held as part of the International Trade and Economic Forum in Shanghai (the People's Republic of China).

The participants in the discussion called on the international community to responsibly support multilateral trade rules, which are not only a necessary element of the inclusive development of all countries of the world but also the basis for all modern free trade agreements that ensure the efficiency of cooperative relations in regional and global contexts.

Member of the Board (Minister) in charge of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Veronika Nikishina emphasized the need to ensure the functioning of the system for resolving trade disputes in the WTO, a balanced attitude to negotiations on the development agenda, which currently is often accompanied by conflicting views of economically developed and developing members of the organization. "To achieve success in the negotiation process, first of all, the parties should strive to openly solve the problems that gave rise to differences within the WTO. The goals for further negotiations, including on agriculture, the development agenda, subsidies, and other issues, should be set with an eye on the success and failures of the previous Doha Round," the Minister of EEC noted.

At the same time, Veronika Nikishina emphasized that free trade agreements, the growing number thereof is often associated with the fragmentation of global trade and weakening of the WTO, should not be opposed to multilateral trade rules. "Free trade agreements boost the acceleration and diversification of commodity exchange, ensure the efficient functioning of value chains. The right to conclude such agreements was granted back in the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which formed the basis of the modern WTO. Moreover, the new rules, developed as part of the multilateral trade system, originate precisely from free trade agreements, where they have proven their worth," Veronika Nikishina said.

The session participants noted the risk of increasing protectionism trends for the world trade growth and the global economy and confirmed the expert and business community's willingness to provide the required assistance to quickly achieve effective agreements within the WTO that can boost global trade and effectively prevent trade wars.

The session was attended by Danone’s Executive Vice President Bertrand Austruy, Ex-Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body James Bacchus, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Roche Holding Group of Pharmaceutical Companies Andreas Serenus Hoffmann, Executive Director and General Manager of China Taiping Insurance Holdings Wang Sidong, Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing, former judge of the WTO Appellate Body Zhang Yuejiao.

On November 5 - 10, an international trade exhibition is being held in Shanghai, organized for the second time with the view of attracting a wide range of suppliers and investors to the Chinese market and maintaining the momentum of continued diversification of China's foreign trade. Representatives of over 3 thousand enterprises and authorities from 170 countries, as well as several delegations of international organizations took part in the exhibition. The traditional participants in the exhibition events included President Xi Jinping and invited top-level leaders of China's partner states.​