Parliamentarians push for reform of WTO to improve efficiency and legitimacy
At the annual session of the Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organization (PCWTO), the delegates of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the European Parliament called for WTO members to strengthen the parliamentary dimension of the WTO to ensure its democratic legitimacy.
They also asked for a modernization of the WTO to increase its effectiveness and legitimacy, including in the dimensions underlined in a recent resolution of the European Parliament.
MEPs and other delegates reiterated their commitment to a fair and equitable international trading system, based on free and fair trade to encourage global economic growth and sustainable economic development, creating jobs and ensuring welfare for all.
They urged the WTO to modernize with a view to increasing both its effectiveness and its legitimacy.
“As Parliamentarians, we act as a vital link between citizens and decision makers as we convey the views of our electorates to those who are in charge of negotiating multilateral trade deals. At the same time, we have the responsibility to hold our governments accountable and ensure that citizens’ concerns are heard,“ said Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD, IT), the Vice-President of the European Parliament.
“In this time of turbulence, when multilateralism and the very functioning of the WTO are at risk, our partnership is of critical importance in raising political awareness, understanding and support for the WTO and its work. As parliaments and parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to ensure accountability that brings about a more effective and efficient trading system that works for all,” said Margaret Mensah-Williams, the Chair of the National Council of Namibia and co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the PCWTO.
“We have had intense discussions on the way forward for the WTO. I believe it’s important that all WTO members are involved in this, that we create a common path for the future. If we want to move forward on gender and sustainable development, it’s crucial that Parliaments are involved and push for these issues,” said Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), the Chairman of the Committee on International Trade.
The Parliamentary Conference on the World Trade Organisation is a joint project of the European Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (the global organisation of 178 national parliaments), with the goal to enhance the transparency of the WTO and to make the WTO accountable to elected representatives of the people.
It holds its meetings yearly, when possible back-to back with WTO Ministerial Conferences. It is aimed primarily at parliamentarians who specialise in international trade issues. It provides them with an opportunity to examine the main issues arising from the WTO, to obtain first-hand information on relevant subjects from WTO leaders and to give input into the decision making process of the WTO.