G20 Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting Concluded
Riyadh, The G20 Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting was concluded today by issuing a final communique which reads as follows:
” We, the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers, met virtually on 22 September 2020, under the G20 Saudi Presidency, to further strengthen G20 trade and investment cooperation.
We have met on two previous occasions this year for extraordinary virtual meetings to ensure a coordinated response to the impact of COVID-19 on global trade and investment and the global economy. We remain gravely concerned with the serious risks posed to all countries, particularly developing and least developed countries, and notably in Africa and small island states.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue our cooperation and coordination to: (i) support recovery of international trade and investment; (ii) support the necessary reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to which the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO provides political support; (iii) encourage greater international competitiveness of Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs); (iv) foster economic diversification; and (v) strengthen international investment.
At this critical time, trade and investment must act as important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation, development and poverty reduction, to contribute to laying the foundation for a global economic recovery that leads to sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. We will continue to take joint actions to strengthen international cooperation and frameworks.
We recall the importance of maintaining focus on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the role of trade and investment in this regard.
We continue to endorse the “G20 Actions to Support World Trade and Investment in Response to COVID-19” which we will continue to implement and recall our request that the Trade and Investment Working Group provide status updates. In this regard, we welcome the progress achieved, in particular the termination of many trade restrictive measures and the implementation of trade facilitation measures. We reiterate the importance that any emergency trade measures designed to tackle COVID-19, if deemed necessary, are targeted, proportionate, transparent, temporary, reflect our interest in protecting the most vulnerable, do not create unnecessary barriers to trade or disruption to global supply chains, and are consistent with WTO rules.
We will continue to do whatever it takes and to use all available policy tools to minimize the economic and social damage of the pandemic, restore global growth, maintain market stability, and strengthen resilience, as mandated by our Leaders.
As health challenges continue to take center stage, we emphasize the essential role of the multilateral trading system in promoting stability and predictability of international trade flows, as well as of trade and investment policies in ensuring that all countries have access to essential medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, at an affordable price, on an equitable basis, where they are most needed and as quickly as possible, and incentivize innovation consistent with members’ international commitments. We also recognize the need to increase the sustainability and resilience of national, regional, and global supply chains and to expand production capacity and trade, notably in the areas of pharmaceutical, medical and other health-related products. We will continue to explore COVID-19 related WTO initiatives in this respect.
We will continue to work to realize the goal of a free, fair, inclusive, non- discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment and to keep our markets open, including to assist in the recovery from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
The need to handle trade tensions and to foster mutually beneficial trade relations, affirmed last year in Tsukuba, is critical in the post COVID-19 scenario. We reaffirm that structural problems in some sectors, such as excess capacities, can cause a negative impact. We will continue to work to ensure a level playing field to foster an enabling business environment.
We highlight the critical role that the digital economy and electronic commerce have played in helping sustain economic activity through the COVID-19 pandemic and in ensuring the continued operation of supply chains and delivery of essential goods and services. We also note that the pandemic has underscored the challenge of the lack of access to the digital economy for many vulnerable citizens due to the persistence of the digital divide. We recall the Osaka Leaders Declaration and the Tsukuba Trade and Digital Economy Ministers Statement and reaffirm the interface between trade and the digital economy. We note the ongoing discussions under the Joint Statement Initiative on Electronic Commerce and the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions, and reaffirm the need to reinvigorate the Work Program on Electronic Commerce at the WTO.
We recognize the importance of continuing to foster women’s economic empowerment with a view to achieving global economic recovery. To that effect, we take note of the work of the Women 20 and will continue to support the growth of women-owned businesses and their increased participation in global markets and international trade.
Source: Saudi Press Agency