Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh speaks at a plenary session of the 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Argentina on December 11 (Source: VNA)

Buenos Aires (VNA) – Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh highlighted Vietnam’s commitment to promoting the multilateral trading system while addressing a plenary session of the 11th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Argentina on December 11.

The Deputy Minister said there have been a lot of changes since the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference, including the acceleration of negotiations of numerous free trade agreements (FTA) and regional trade agreements (RTA).

However, the global trade and multilateral trading system is also facing potential risks due to the strong comeback of populism and trade protectionism, he noted, adding that shortcomings remain in the system.  

The Vietnamese official called on the WTO to put forth measures to address the limitations and improve its operational efficiency to make it an effective negotiation forum and a prestigious organisation in maintaining and ensuring fairness in global trade.

WTO member countries need to maximise efforts and be flexible to reap positive negotiation outcomes, creating important foundation for the settlement of crucial matters in the coming time, Khanh said.

He warned that failure of negotiations at this conference would cause negative impacts on the multilateral trading system as well as the world’s economic recovery.

Vietnam is willing to join other WTO members to address the organisation’s matters, he said.

He noted that at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week held in Da Nang city in November 2017, Vietnam made remarkable contributions to the release of a joint statement supporting cooperation to improve the WTO’s operation, including mechanisms for negotiation, supervision, and settlement of disputes, with a view to handling properly any challenges that the trade system is encountering and bringing practical benefits for people and businesses.

The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference opened in Buenos Aires on December 10 with the participation of more than 4,000 delegates from 164 member countries.

During the four working days, nearly 180 ministers will discuss key issues such as food security, agriculture development, fisheries support, e-commerce and tax on industrial products. They will also seek measures to support the development of small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), attract investment, and promote trade exchanges and environmental protection.-VNA