Thailand expresses full support for WTO reforms

Thailand expresses full support for WTO reforms

Thailand has voiced full support for the World Trade Organization's (WTO) reforms to make the intergovernmental body aware of trade situations and that would enable it to accelerate the global economic recovery following the pandemic.

Sansern Samalapa, vice-minister to the commerce minister, said Thailand has confirmed its support for the WTO's attempt to restore confidence in the multilateral trading system.

The WTO wants to strengthen its role in dealing with the economic recovery brought about by the pandemic, it said at an informal ministerial meeting via video conference on Oct 27.

"International trade measures must comply with WTO rules in terms of transparency, appropriateness, and temporary enforcement. The measures should not create unnecessary trade barriers in order to stabilise international trade and promote global production chain recovery rapidly," said Mr Sansern.

He said the meeting discussed pending issues that have not been agreed upon, such as a reduction/removal of fisheries subsidies, the reduction/removal of farm subsidies that result in a distortion of the global price mechanism and an advantage over competitors, as well as e-commerce regulations.

The meeting has proposed signatory members become more flexible and compromising in negotiations, especially on the elimination of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and a ban on subsidies on fisheries that endanger aquatic life.

The WTO ministerial meeting also agreed to support the reform of the WTO in line with the current trade rules and push for the appointment of vacant members in the appellate body, which has an important role in protecting members' rights.

The appellate body is a seven-member group that functions as the WTO's highest adjudicator. Each member serves a four-year term, with the possibility of a one-time renewal.

The group has not been able to work at full capacity for over a year because of insufficient members. Under WTO rules, a minimum of three judges must sign off on any ruling. Over the past few years, trade tensions have erupted, with many countries introducing protectionist measures on a bilateral basis.

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