October 9th, 2021
On 12 October, the G20 Ministers responsible for international trade will meet in Sorrento.
Trade serves people, the planet and global prosperity, in line with the three pillars of the G20 “People, Planet, Prosperity” agenda. The commitment to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on trade and investment and to “build back better” for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery goes hand in hand with the need to strengthen a rules-based, non-discriminatory and transparent multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation at its core.
The G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting aims to become a springboard for a successful outcome of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, scheduled to take place in Geneva from 30 November to 3 December 2021, which will represent a key moment in revitalising the multilateral trading system. The meeting is structured in 3 sessions and will cover six topics.
Regarding the link between trade and health, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of ensuring the resilience of global supply chains for medical and pharmaceutical products. The G20 will discuss improving the capacity of the trading system to respond to public health emergencies by leveraging existing WTO initiatives.
Sustainable development and environmental protection are key objectives of the Marrakesh Agreement that established the WTO in 1995. A growing number of countries are increasingly relying on trade policy instruments to achieve environmental objectives. The discussion is intended to foster transparency and dialogue. The G20 could provide political impetus to conclude negotiations on fisheries subsidies, a key step in trade and environmental sustainability.
The debate on services and investment will focus on promoting digital trade, reducing the costs of trade in services and adopting transparent, predictable and efficient regulatory and administrative frameworks for investment purposes.
The focus will also be on supporting the participation of SMEs in world trade, taking into account current and future challenges, including the ongoing green and digital transition. SMEs play a key role in our economies, including in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The G20 will also discuss the issue of transparency of government support interventions in the economy, to understand their complex effects on global markets, at a time when the opportunity costs of scarce public resources needed to address short- and long-term challenges are high.
With the G20 Trade Ministerial, the Italian Presidency intends to put WTO reform at the heart of the agenda, providing political impetus to an inclusive process of institutional reform of the organisation to revitalise trade multilateralism. The Sorrento Ministerial Declaration will reflect these priorities by reflecting the progress of the meeting.