Trade Ministers to Mull Bolstering Multilateral Trade, Climate Policy, WTO Reform


March 30, 2021

The Group of Seven Trade Ministers are scheduled to meet virtually on Wednesday to discuss collective actions to shore up multilateral trade system and improve the World Trade Organization

Multilateralism, globalization and the trade system have become hot topics among the seven member nations—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K. U.S. and European Union Commission as they seek ways to offset China and manage emerging trade challenges such as digitalization and taxation.

Trade Ministers and Representatives, including U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai who is making her international debut appearance at the meeting, are expected to mull strategies to revamp the outdated international trade system that gave birth to China’s skyrocketing influential economic power in the world.


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The meeting, hosted by United Kingdom Minister of International Trade Elizabeth Truss under the auspice of the British government’s G7 Presidency, is first of its kind under the aegis of the G7 dedicated solely to international trade and part of the ministerial events leading up to the climactic G7 Summit in June.

The G7’s Trade meeting underscores a significant paradigm shift in the trade system and comes amid a historic global trade trifecta moment in a month where the unexcitable global trade news become front and center the most titillating international headline news due to a international cargo vessel mishap that wrecked havoc on global trade maritime logistics and this news happens just as a new leader, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes charge at the WTO and the G7 nations buttress their alliance to spur multilateralism.

The meeting also comes as the global pandemic economic recovery efforts are underway, offering an opportunity for the group to design a bold global vision for an inclusive economic recovery that collectively build back better based on a mutual interest framework for a greener, prosperous, resilient and equal world through four priority areas: WTO reform, trade and health, digital trade, and trade and climate policy.

Given the challenges pose by China, emerging technologies and climate change, experts say now is the right time to retool the international trade system to meet the emerging needs of today’s world.

In an attempt to address some of these challenges directly, the G7 leaders have assembled an advisory group-G7 Economic Resilience Panel that is made up of prominent individuals from academia, civil society, private and public sectors that will advise on how to build a better resilient and sustainable global logistics markets, promote high standards, good governance and competitive global market, support open economies and societies in harnessing and retaining the benefits of new technology and innovation. The G7’s ERP has also been assigned to develop proposals for the upcoming G7 Summit in June, in line with the U.K. G7 Presidency’s wider agenda.

Last month, members of the G7’s ERP-Mark Sedwill, former U.K. Cabinet Secretary and National Security Adviser and Chair of the Atlantic Future Forum; Carolyn Wilkins, former Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada; Professor Thomas Philippon, Economic Adviser to President Emmanuel Macron, Economist and Professor of Finance at New York University’s Stern School of Business; Dr Stormy-Annika Mildner, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, Adjunct Lecturer Hertie School, and former Head of Department for External Economic Policy at the Federation of German Industries; Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Special Economic Adviser to the Italian Government, and founding director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London; Professor Nobukatsu Kanehara of Doshisha University, Tokyo; former Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe;  Dr Felicia Wong, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Roosevelt Institute and Thomas Wieser, the former President of the Euro Working Group and the European Financial Committee, held their first meeting during which the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurría launched a high-level report to inform the panel’s work.