G20 trade and investment ministers used their meeting in Argentina to
encourage each other to collectively and individually continue to generate
ideas to ensure that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) continues to be
The ministers met in the resort city of Mar del Plata in
Argentina on Friday, 14 September 2019. The meeting was held to strengthen
G20 trade and investment cooperation under the overall objective of the G20
Argentinean Presidency of ¡§building consensus for fair and sustainable
development¡¨, taking into consideration national needs, priorities and
¡§We stepped up our dialogue on current international trade developments,
recognising the urgent need to discuss current events in international trade
and ways to improve the WTO to face current and future challenges.
¡§In this context, we discussed what the G20 can do to address the current
situation in a collaborative manner,¡¨ said the trade ministers.
Their session included South African Trade and Industry Minister, Rob
Davies. Prior to leaving South Africa to attend the session, Minister Davies
expressed concern with current global developments.
¡§The G20 Trade Ministers¡¦ Meeting is taking place at a time when the
multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges. Of concern
is the rise of trade measures that are not compatible with the WTO.
¡§The G20 Trade Ministers¡¦ Meeting will provide an opportunity for a dialogue
on current developments in international trade and its implications for the
global economy,¡¨ Minister Davies said.
At their meeting, the leaders stressed that international trade and
investment continued to be important engines of growth.
¡§International trade and investment continue to be important engines of
growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. Rapid
technological advances are transforming the world economy at an
¡§Economic growth remains robust, while trade shows signs of recovery since
the financial crisis, with an increase of 4,7% in 2017 and a projected
increase of 4,4% for 2018,¡¨ the ministers said.
The leaders, however, noted that there were downside risks and
vulnerabilities and that growing inequality could affect confidence and the
prospects for strong, balanced and sustainable growth.
G20 countries also pledged to work together to enhance sustainable economic
growth, keep markets open, address economic development and reinvigorate the
international trading system.
The leaders noted that the expansive and transformative changes brought
about by the New Industrial Revolution (NIR) and the adoption of digital
technologies across all industries had wide-ranging implications for the
scope, scale, speed and patterns of production, trade and investment.
¡§The NIR has the potential not only to increase productivity, but also to
transform comparative advantages among countries and break down the
traditional boundary between the physical and the digital world and between
goods and services.¡¨
The leaders also welcomed the discussion of factors for G20 policymaking
options to face the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that
the NIR posed for trade and investment flows, with particular attention to
micro, small and medium enterprises; developing countries; and women.
For South Africa, the G20 engagements provide a platform to discuss, assess
and advance economic and policy issues, and for knowledge transfer on policy
practices to foster the country¡¦s development objectives.
It also provides a platform for the exchange of views on the current
developments in global trade.
The G20 ministers recommended that these issues be discussed at the Buenos
Aires Summit in November.