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DG Azevêdo: EU leadership vital to strengthening trading system

           Addressing a meeting of European Union trade ministers in Bucharest, Romania, on 21 February 2019, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo welcomed the EU’s engagement in the conversations aimed at strengthening the WTO and called for their continued leadership to help address some of the key challenges in global trade, including current trade tensions and the impasse in the WTO’s dispute settlement system.
The Director-General said:
         “Strengthening the trading architecture is a critical element in improving prospects for global trade. WTO members are exploring possible reforms to the trading system that would help efforts to that end. This is very positive. We have struck a series of major new trade deals over the last few years, but we must do more to make the WTO faster and responsive to members' needs. I welcome the key role that the EU is playing here to help us meet these challenges and find positive ways forward.
          “There’s no doubt that we are faced, today, with an extremely difficult and complex range of challenges. But we also have the opportunity to put the trading system on a stronger footing for the years to come. Our best response is to tackle systemic issues head on, while also advancing wherever possible in our negotiating work and other issues which are of interest to members. On all of this, the EU's leadership will be essential.”
            The Director-General also commented on the current situation regarding the impasse in appointments to the WTO Appellate Body, urging all members to keep probing for possible ways forward. The meeting was chaired by Romania's Minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship, Ștefan-Radu Oprea. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Bernd Lange MEP and Chair of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade also addressed the meeting.
           During his visit to Bucharest, DG Azevêdo also had a bilateral meeting with Romanian Vice Prime Minister Ana Birchall to discuss the outlook for global trade and Romania's continued integration into the global economy.

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