Business / Economy

Commerce ministry urges G20 members to back trade facilitation agreement

By Zhong Nan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-01 10:59

The Ministry of Commerce will urge G20 members to approve the Trade Facilitation Agreement made by the World Trade Organization by the end of this year during the G20 trade ministers' meeting in Shanghai on July 9 and 10.

Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said this proposal will support the development of the multilateral trade system, global investment flows and value-chain building in the current global economic climate.

The early entry into force of the TFA was approved as part of the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali in 2013. It is designed to make a significant contribution to the sustainability of global trade and highlight the value of the WTO to its stakeholders around the world.

"Trade ministers from G20 economies will discuss in Shanghai solutions to reduce trade cost, prevent trade friction, improve the global trade environment, as well as reemphasize the magnitude of the WTO functions and rules," said Wang at a news conference held by the ministry in Beijing on Thursday.

China will also work with G20 members to jointly set up a Global Trade Alert Index, similar to various indexes being used in the financial industry, to further help companies avoid risk. China will also urge more technical and financial assistance to less-developed economies, especially African and Pacific island states.

Even though more than 3,300 bilateral investment agreements have played an important role in complementing global liberalization initiatives, Wang said G20 countries, which are the biggest economies, should reach a new investment agreement to further promote investment transparency and offer more protection to investors on a bigger platform.

Foreign direct investment witnessed a robust global recovery in 2015, surging 38 percent on a year-on-year basis to $1.76 trillion, the highest since the global financial crisis in 2008.

"Signing the TFA could help countries reduce costs on trade up to 15 percent a year and further stimulate the development of e-commerce and service businesses," said Li Guanghui, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

Li said notable progress has already been made among G20 members to address development, trade investment and governance. Member states agreed to build a trade-investment mechanism and also worked out high-level principles on the repatriation of fugitives and asset recovery.

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