Business

Japan, U.S., and EU agree to co-sponsor proposal to reform WTO

Kyodo

Trade ministers from Japan, the United States and the European Union agreed Tuesday to co-sponsor a proposal that would bring changes to the World Trade Organization.

The proposed changes concern the notification system for domestic industrial subsidies and would also strengthen the activities of the regular committees of the WTO, according to a joint statement issued after a trilateral meeting in New York.

It marked the first time that the three parties have agreed to co-sponsor a proposal to reform the Geneva-based global trade watchdog, according to an official of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The three parties plan to submit the proposal to the WTO as early as next month, the official told reporters after the meeting involving trade minister Hiroshige Seko, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom.

“The ministers shared a common view on the need for the reform of the WTO, and, with respect to its monitoring and surveillance function, agreed as a first step to co-sponsor a transparency and notification proposal for consideration at the next meeting of the WTO Council on Trade in Goods” slated for November in Geneva, the statement said.

The meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly came as some WTO members such as China have failed to comply with a notification system under which members of the organization are required to report when they extend subsidies to a domestic industry.