Ideas for reforming the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be discussed by European Union and Chinese trade officials in Beijing next month. The meeting was announced on September 26 by EU ambassador to the WTO Marc Vanheukelen.
Vanheukelen declined to give details of the October 9 talks to reporters. However, as reported by the Reuters news agency, the meeting adds to a flurry of reform efforts among WTO member states, including proposals put forward by the EU and Canada.
According to Reuters, WTO member states have been under increasing pressure to reform the body since US President Donald Trump, deeply critical of the global trading system, blocked the reappointment of WTO judges and imposed huge tariffs on China and other countries.
China is widely seen as the principal target of Trump’s ire, so getting it to acquiesce to tougher WTO rules on subsidies, state-owned firms and preferential treatment could be key to achieving the “shape-up” of the WTO that Trump has demanded.