• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer affirmed the need for reforms to the World Trade Organization in a phone call on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said.

The two agreed on the need for “permanent changes” to be made to the WTO’s dispute settlement system, the ministry said, adding that the call was held at the request of the American side.

U.S. President Donald Trump has often criticized the Geneva-based organization as ineffective at its job of enforcing rules on international trade, showing his dissatisfaction by blocking appointments to its top court, the Appellate Body.

Since December, the Appellate Body has not had enough members to hear new appeals after the terms of two of the remaining three judges expired. It is normally composed of seven members.

Motegi and Lighthizer also discussed the establishment of regulations on e-commerce and agreed to work together on the response to the novel coronavirus, the ministry said.

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