At the time of the final WTO General Council meeting for 2019, the groups called on world leaders, through their representatives in Geneva, to intensify efforts to progress discussions on WTO reform and agree a path forward to ensure the global rules-based trade system is not put at risk with the potential discontinuation of the dispute settlement mechanism.
The dairy industries of Argentina (Centro de la Industria Lechera); Australia (Australian Dairy Industry Council); the European Union (Eucolait and the European Dairy Association); and New Zealand (Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand), which represent the majority of global trade in dairy products, said they have growing concerns over the lack of progress maintaining and reinvigorating the global trade rules system.
The rules-based trade system has delivered benefits to the dairy industry across the globe, the group said.
“As industries closely engaged in international trade supply chains, we have operated in a relatively stable environment underwritten by rules governing border and beyond the border trade measures. Global dairy trade has gone from strength-to-strength under this framework,” the groups said.
For the dairy producers, processors and traders the organizations represent, they added, “the international rules-based trading system is more important today than ever. In uncertain times, knowing that there are rules to be followed and a process for both transparency and enforcement underpins confidence in our industries and the global economy at large.”
The joint statement continued, “It pays to remember that global trade has played a major role in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and that trade openness is strongly correlated to improvements in real income among the lowest earners in developing countries.
“Uncertainty has the potential to dampen global economic growth. It also risks our ability to achieve progress in other areas, such as in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals: global prosperity is much harder to achieve when adherence to accepted norms becomes optional.
“The system is not perfect, but the risks to our industries of a world without it are unimaginable. We urgently call on negotiators in Geneva and world leaders to find a pathway forward. There is no time to lose.”