December DG Azev\u00eado welcomes G20 leaders commitment to improve functioning of

December dg azevêdo welcomes g20 leaders commitment

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December DG Azevêdo welcomes G20 leaders’ commitment to improve functioning of WTO at Buenos Aires Summit. DG Azevêdo and UN Secretary-General Guterres discuss ongoing cooperation to deliver SDGs. March Ambassador Junichi Ihara of Japan appointed as Chair of General Council. 2 World Trade Organization Annual Report 2019 19 2018: a snapshot
Our year Trade negotiations and discussions 21 Implementation of WTO agreements and decisions 22 Dispute settlement 23 Supporting development and building trade capacity 24 Outreach 25 • WTO members accepted Kazakhstan’s invitation to host the 12 th Ministerial Conference, to be held in June 2020. It will be the first country in Central Asia to organize a ministerial conference. • WTO members sought to move trade negotiations forward in advance of the Conference, with the most active areas of negotiation including agriculture, fisheries subsidies, services, development and dispute settlement reform. Discussions also got under way among some members on possible ways of modernizing the WTO. • Many WTO members stressed that the “joint initiatives” – on e-commerce, investment facilitation, small businesses and women’s economic empowerment – launched in December 2017 are important for ensuring that trade policies remain relevant to today’s global economy. 20 World Trade Organization Annual Report 2019 A year in review
Trade negotiations and discussions During the year, WTO members sought to move trade negotiations forward in advance of the 12 th Ministerial Conference to be held in June 2020. The Chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, emphasized the fundamental value of the multilateral trading system to the global economy and said that the needs of developing countries have to remain at the heart of WTO members’ work. In all areas of activity, flexibility is key, he said. Chairs of active negotiating groups – agriculture, fisheries subsidies, services, development and dispute settlement negotiations – regularly reported to the full membership on work in their respective areas. DG Azevêdo pointed out that if members are to address current challenges and move forward, they have to put forward new ideas that could lead to convergence. There were some early signs of modest movement in some areas, he said. Many WTO members pointed to the intensive work undertaken on fisheries subsidies and noted the decision at the July General Council to keep the deadline of December 2019 for an agreement. DG Azevêdo emphasized that an outcome will not come easily and said all members have to be prepared to work hard to achieve a positive result in this area and in other important longstanding issues. Many WTO members stressed that the joint initiatives launched in Buenos Aires in December 2017 – on e-commerce; investment facilitation for development; micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; and women’s economic empowerment – are important for ensuring trade policies remain

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