A group of 47 World Trade Organization (WTO) members issued a joint call on Wednesday for fellow members to work together to ensure the sound functioning of the WTO-based multilateral trading system as it faces a number of important challenges ahead.
In their joint statement, the group, including Australia, Canada, China, Russia, Singapore, etc., said they were "strongly supportive of the multilateral trading system and are concerned that the WTO is facing challenges" as it prepares for its 11th ministerial conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires in December.
"To date, the political will to find compromises and to forge consensus is lacking. Even the legitimacy of discussing topics of interest to members has been put into question," the group noted.
The statement added that other important functions of the WTO were also facing challenges, such as compliance with notification obligations and the functioning of the WTO's dispute settlement system.
The group called on members to safeguard the integrity of the open, rules-based trading system embodied in the WTO.
"The WTO continues to be essential to achieving inclusive and sustainable global growth and development, including through the further integration of LDCs (least developed countries) into world trade," concluded the statement.