WORLD Multilateral rules are 'expressions' of sovereignty: WTO chief


Multilateral rules are 'expressions' of sovereignty: WTO chief


01:29, May 11, 2019


World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevedo holds a press conference, July, 2018. (File photo: China Daily)

GENEVA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Shared multilateral rules are not an infringement on sovereignty, "they are expressions of it," Roberto Azevedo, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said on Friday.

Azevedo said in a speech during a special meeting of the WTO's General Council that at a "crucial moment", the multilateral system is facing "huge challenges."

The General Council is the WTO's highest-level decision-making body in Geneva. It meets regularly to carry out the functions of the organization.

The WTO chief underlined that having shared rules and commitments on global trade is vital for all, as it provides stability and predictability, prevents a race to the bottom, and delivers tremendous economic benefits.

"Shared rules are not an infringement on sovereignty, they are expressions of it," said Azevedo, adding that "they are commitments that governments negotiate with each other and enter into freely, on the basis of shared interests. And they (governments) enter into these undertakings because they are not a zero sum game."

Meanwhile, he stressed that the credibility of rules depends on their enforceability, their transparency and inclusiveness, and their ability to evolve with the times.

He reiterated that multilateral rules can not be "fossilized", but responsive to the changes.

While admitting challenges that face the multilateral trade rules, he said: "We have to find ways to advance, to be flexible and innovative, to deliver outcomes that are ambitious, while accommodating sensitivities and not imposing anything on anyone."

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