Commission presents comprehensive approach for the modernisation of the World Trade Organisation

The European Commission today put forward a first set of ideas to modernise the WTO and to make international trade rules fit for the challenges of the global economy.

The concept paper published today sets out the direction of this modernisation effort in three key areas: updating of the WTO rule book, strengthening of the monitoring role of the WTO and overcoming of the imminent deadlock on the WTO dispute settlement system. It will be presented to EU partners in Geneva on 20 September during a meeting on that subject convened by Canada. Presenting the Commission’s concept paper, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The WTO is indispensable in ensuring open, fair and rules-based trade. But despite its success, the World Trade Organisation has not been able to adapt sufficiently to the rapidly changing global economy. 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 the EU must take a lead role in that.” The EU remains a staunch supporter of the multilateral trading system. For that reason, the European Council of 28-29 June 2018 gave the European Commission a mandate to pursue WTO modernisation to adapt it to a changing world, and to strengthen its effectiveness. The EU already started to engage with key WTO partners – e.g. with the US and Japan, in the framework of the trilateral discussions and with China, in the dedicated working group set up during the latest EU-China Summit, as well as with the members of the G20, last week – and will continue discussing these first ideas with various WTO partners in the coming weeks with a view to preparing concrete proposals to the WTO. For more information, see the full press release and the EU concept paper on WTO reform.