G20 meeting on trade ends with strong commitment to multilateralism, WTO

  • By Xinhua
  • Oct. 15, 2021
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Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio on Tuesday called on ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) to reinforce the global trade system through the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Speaking at the G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting in the southern Italian city of Sorrento, Di Maio called the multilateral trading system "a source of global stability" that has helped reduce the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The commitment to 'build back better' for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic recovery goes hand in hand with the need to strengthen the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its center," he said.

Di Maio chaired the talks as part of Italy's presidency of the G20 this year.

In a statement, the G20 said trade was central to the organization's three pillars: People, Planet, Prosperity. It said it was important for countries to collaborate in order to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and to spark a sustainable economic recovery while strengthening a "rules-based, non-discriminatory, open, fair, inclusive, equitable, sustainable and transparent multilateral trading system."

The talks in Sorrento were called earlier this year in order to be a "springboard" for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to take place in Geneva from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, focusing on revitalizing the multilateral trading system.

The Sorrento talks, which were held in a hybrid in-person and virtual format, included discussions on the trade barriers, the economic recovery from the pandemic, and global supply chain problems.

Domestic media mostly focused on Di Maio's remarks about the WTO or about domestic issues, with RAI News highlighting the minister's promise to "reinforce" multilateralism and the news agency Dire reporting that Italy's economy was "at a turning point" after the difficulties of the last 18 months.

In addition to those remarks, Di Maio emphasized Italy's commitment to the global economy. He said Italy would be an "engine of innovation" as countries emerge from the worst of the pandemic. In addition to "strengthening the role" of Italy as an innovator, Di Maio said the government would "continue to work for a fairer, greener, and more inclusive society."