US, EU, Japanese Trade Ministers Agree on Need for WTO Reform – Joint Statement

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a joint statement with his European Union and Japanese counterparts agreed during a meeting in New York City that there is a need for the reform of the World Trade organization (WTO).
“The ministers shared a common view on the need for the reform of the WTO,” the ministers said in a press release on Tuesday.

Lighthizer, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seko and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom also agreed to continue working together to maintain the effectiveness of existing WTO disciplines, the release said.

The ministers said as a first step toward reform they will co-sponsor a transparency and notification proposal for consideration at the next meeting of the WTO Council on Trade in Goods, the release pointed out. 

The release also said overly broad classifications of development, mixed with self-designation of development status, inhibits the WTO’s ability to negotiate new, trade-expanding agreements and undermines their effectiveness.

Earlier on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said during his address to the UN General Assembly that the world trading system needs to be immediately reformed, and some WTO members breach every principle on which the organization was founded.

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