The U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization on Tuesday warned WTO members against letting discussions about reforming the multilateral trading system get in the way of meaningful changes.
[Brett Fortnam | October 18, 2018 | Inside US Trade]
“We are hearing a great deal these days about reforming the WTO in order to increase its effectiveness and its relevance,” Dennis Shea said at an informal heads of delegation meeting in Geneva. “The United States welcomes this more open and robust engagement on institutional issues. While advancing a reform agenda will require time and some patience, we must avoid falling into the trap of letting talk and discussion become substitutes for concrete action.”
Shea’s comments come less than a week before a handful of trade ministers are set to gather in Ottawa to discuss potential WTO reforms – a meeting of the so-called middle-grounders that the U.S. and China were not invited to attend. Canada and the EU have put forward papers on outlining potential routes WTO members could take to reform the organization. Last week, Shea said Canada’s discussion paper did not go far enough because its tenor encouraged more discussion rather than action. “I think we’re beyond the point,” he said.