‘Urgent Need’ To Reform WTO As New Trump Tariffs Loom, G20 Trade Ministers Warn

The Group of Twenty (G20) is warning that there is an “urgent need” to reform and improve the World Trade Organization (WTO), Reuters reports.

Trade and investment ministers from G20 countries are meeting in Argentina amid the rapidly-escalating U.S.-China trade war.

As stated on the international forum’s official website, G20 is made up of the European Union and 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

With U.S. President Donald Trump preparing tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods, G20 trade ministers are “stepping up the dialogue” on international trade disputes, they say, without providing details on how international dialogue is being normalized.

“Obviously the new tariff measures are not positive. But we need to see how things evolve,” Argentina’s Production and Labor Minister, Dante Sica, said.

But Sica said, the upcoming free trade deal between the European Union and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay (the so-called Mercosur trade bloc) is approaching its final stages and will likely be wrapped up by the end of 2018.

“We are in the final stages regarding the most delicate aspects of an EU-Mercosur agreement and we are concluding with the political and technical details.”

The deal is a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist tendencies, tariffs on imports, and what appears to be economic isolationism.

According to German Deputy Economy Minister Oliver Wittke, the joint statement from G20 members is a powerful message against Donald Trump’s protectionism, and a strong signal demonstrating the importance of the World Trade Organization.

“We have to use this momentum,” Wittke added.

Roberto Azevedo, the WTO’s director general, was also present at the meeting.

G20 leaders will meet again, in November.

President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods have harmed the Asian country’s economy, so Chinese diplomats are now, according to the Washington Post, on a charm offensive. China is smoothing over old disputes, winning new friends, embarking on trade partnerships. China’s relations with Japan, Russia, and Germany have, according to WaPo, never been better.

Apart from maintaining a hardline stance on China, President Trump has been critical of various international trade agreements.

More recently, as the Guardian reported, Trump threatened to withdraw from the World Trade Organization, unless it “shapes up.”

As the Inquisitr reported, Trump’s comments were criticized by Roberto Azevedo, the WTO’s director general, who warned that U.S. exit would cause the world economy to descend into chaos, harm American companies, and American consumers.