In a new Lowy Institute Analysis the Director of the Lowy Institute’s International Economy Program Mark Thirlwell argues that the multilateral trading system is in trouble and that G20 Leaders should work harder to save it.
Repeated failures to complete the Doha Round of trade negotiations, the growth in ‘murky’ protectionism, the rise of mega-regional agreements such as the TTP and the new EU-US trade talks launched this week, all demonstrate serious strains in the multilateral trading system - a system that for more than half a century has facilitated the growth of world trade and global prosperity.
‘Opting to stand by while the multilateral system unravels is precisely the kind of risky, high-stakes gamble that world leaders should be working hard to avoid’, says Thirlwell.
Saving multilateralism: the G20, the WTO and global trade identifies five actions G20 leaders should take to restore the health of the world’s multilateral trading system.
This includes placing international trade at the heart of the G20’s ‘Framework’, extending the group’s standstill on protectionism whilst strengthening WTO surveillance, setting a hard ‘kill or complete’ deadline for the Doha negotiations, encouraging the WTO to focus on a new, 21st century trade agenda, and supporting reforms to strengthen the WTO.
‘It’s time for leaders to reverse the slide of trade down the G20 agenda. They must make a renewed commitment to save the multilateral trading system’, says Thirlwell.
This Analysis is published by the Lowy Institute’s G20 Studies Centre. The G20 Studies Centre, which was established with funding by the Australian Government, aims to generate new ideas and publish policy research and analysis to help build a stronger and more effective G20. G20 related research papers, including G20 Monitors, are available free of charge on the G20 Studies Centre website.