Open, multilateral trade essential to growth: Global Governance Group

Friday, 11 December 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SINGAPORE: There needs to be an open, rules-based multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to promote sustainable and balanced global growth, said the Global Governance Group (3G) following the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey last month.

It also welcomed the G20’s recognition of the WTO as the backbone of the multilateral trading system and the central role of the WTO in promoting economic growth and development, according to the press release issued on Thursday.

The 3G is an informal coalition among United Nations member states, including Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The full statement is as follows:

“The Global Governance Group (3G) takes note of the outcomes of the G20 Leaders’ Summit held in Antalya, Turkey, from 15 to 16 November, 2105. The 3G recognises that continued decisive action on the part of all countries as well as regional and international organisations is required to help ensure the continued stability of the international economic system, including financial markets, and to ensure that growth is strong, sustainable and balanced, and creates better jobs and promotes labour force participation.

We welcome the steps taken by the G20 towards greater inclusiveness and transparency, and commend the outreach efforts undertaken by Turkey during its 2015 G20 Presidency. We look forward to the continued commitment of the G20 under the 2016 Chinese Presidency to go beyond consultations with non-G20 members and groupings, including the 3G and relevant regional organisations, and find ways to incorporate their input into G20 outcomes.

This would contribute to reinforcing the complementarity between the G20, multilateral organisations and other key stakeholders, while reaffirming the role of international organisations with universal membership in global standard setting.

The 3G supports the commitment by the G20 to implement sound macroeconomic policies and to apply fiscal policies flexibly to take into account near-term economic conditions. We are also encouraged by the G20’s resolve to undertake actions in a manner that mitigates uncertainty, minimises negative spillovers and promotes transparency.

We welcome the assurance in the G20 Leaders’ Communiqué of the G20’s commitment to achieving its ambition of lifting collective G20 GDP by an additional 2% by 2018, as announced in Brisbane last year. We note the analysis by the IMF, OECD and World Bank Group that the G20’s implementation of commitments so far represents more than one third of the G20’s collective growth ambition, and are hopeful that the adjusted growth strategies and implementation schedules for key commitments as outlined in the Antalya Action Plan will contribute to the implementation of remaining commitments.

Global unemployment continues to increase while global labour force participation and productivity growth rates remain relatively low. The 3G commends the commitment by the G20 to create quality jobs for all, invest in skills and reduce inequalities to promote inclusive and robust growth. We welcome the G20 goal of reducing the share of young people who are most at risk of being permanently left behind in the labour market by 15% by 2025 in G20 countries, taking into account national circumstances.

We also welcome the G20 Framework on Promoting Quality Jobs as well as actions to improve and invest in skills through the G20 Skills Strategy. We further appreciate the G20’s efforts in tackling global infrastructure investment shortfalls, as well as the work done on facilitating SME financing.

To promote sustainable and balanced global growth, an open, rules-based multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is essential. Bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements should also complement one another, and be transparent, inclusive and consistent with WTO rules.

The 3G welcomes the G20’s recognition of the WTO as the backbone of the multilateral trading system and the central role of the WTO in promoting economic growth and development. In particular, the 3G appreciates the commitment by the G20 to increase efforts to implement all elements of the Bali Package, as well as to undertake the prompt ratification and implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. We support the G20’s commitment to work together for a successful 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The 3G is also encouraged by the G20’s commitment towards open trade and investment, reducing barriers to trade and resisting protectionism in all forms.

World leaders adopted the landmark 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) in September this year, which seeks to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions and to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner, building on the Millennium Development Goals and completing what these did not achieve. The 3G commends the strong commitment expressed in the Antalya Communiqué to implement the outcomes of the 2030 Agenda, and welcomes the G20’s decision to develop an action plan in 2016 to further align its work with the 2030 Agenda.

We are encouraged by the efforts by the G20 in areas such as energy access and food security and nutrition, including the G20 Energy Access Action Plan: Voluntary collaboration on Energy Access, the G20 Voluntary Toolkit of Voluntary Options for Renewable Energy Deployment and the G20 Action Plan on Food Security and Sustainable Food Systems. The 3G further agrees with the G20 that the private sector has a role to play in development and poverty eradication, and supports the G20 Call on Inclusive Business.

Representing over 75% of global carbon emissions, the G20 should make a decisive contribution to the success of the 21st session of Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP-21) in Paris, France, in 2015. There is an urgent need for strong and effective action to address climate change.

The 3G notes the affirmation of the G20’s determination to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC that is applicable to all Parties, and welcomes the G20’s commitment to work together for a successful outcome of the COP-21.

The 3G appreciates Turkey’s Presidency of the G20 in 2015 and looks forward to continuing our constructive engagement with the Chinese G20 Presidency in 2016. The 3G reiterates its position that the UN is the only global body with universal participation and unquestioned legitimacy, and emphasises that actions by the G20 should complement and strengthen the UN system. We support efforts to ensure that non-G20 representatives are included in the G20 process in application of the principle of ‘variable geometry’, and look forward to Turkey updating the UN membership on the outcomes of the Antalya Summit.”