The evening gala for the G20 Summit at Hangzou, China. Source: Reuters
The evening gala for the G20 Summit at Hangzou, China. Source: Reuters

G-20 leaders, including those from India, the U.S. and China, on Monday promised to roll back protectionist measures by the end of 2018 and ensure rule-based and transparent multilateral trading system with WTO for global growth.

“We reiterate our opposition to protectionism on trade and investment in all its forms. We extend our commitments to standstill and rollback of protectionist measures till the end of 2018 and reaffirm our determination to deliver on it,” said the G20 Leaders’ communique.

The G20 nations reaffirmed to continue support the work of WTO, UNCTAD and OECD in monitoring protectionism. “We emphasise that the benefits of trade and open markets must be communicated to the wider public more effectively and accompanied by appropriate domestic policies to ensure that benefits are widely distributed,” it said.

After the two-day summit in the Chinese town, the leaders committed to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement by the end of 2016 and call on other WTO members to do the same.

The agreement was aimed at promoting global trade through easing Customs procedures.

“We reaffirm our determination to ensure a rule-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system, with WTO playing the central role in today’s global trade,” it said.

They also reiterated advancing negotiations on remaining DDA (Doha Development Agenda) issues as a matter of priority, including all three pillars of agriculture — market access, domestic support and export competition, non-agricultural market access and services, among others.

Highlighting the important role that bilateral and regional trade agreements can play in liberalising trade and development of trade rules, the countries recognised the need to ensure they are consistent with WTO rules.

The leaders also endorsed the strategy for global trade growth, under which the G20 will lead by example to lower trade costs, harness trade and investment policy coherence, boost trade in services, enhance trade finance, promote e-commerce development, and address trade and development.
Further, it said, they would support policies that encourage firms of all sizes, in particular women and youth entrepreneurs, women-led firms and SMEs, to take full advantage of global value chains.

It also added that the G20 will continue to prioritise its work on food security, nutrition, sustainable agricultural growth and rural development as a significant contribution to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The statement reaffirmed its commitment to promoting investment with focus on infrastructure in terms of both quantity and quality. “We stress importance of quality infrastructure investment, which aims to ensure economic efficiency in view of… job creation, capacity building, and transfer of expertise and knowhow on mutually agreed terms and conditions while addressing social and environmental impacts and aligning with economic and development strategies,” it said.

Further, it said, generating quality employment is indispensable for sustainable development and is at the center of the G20’s domestic and global agenda. “We will work to ensure the benefits from economic growth, globalisation and technological innovation are widely shared, creating more and better jobs, reducing inequalities and promoting inclusive labour force participation,” it added.

“We endorse the strategies, action plans and initiatives developed by G20 labour and employment ministers to enhance the growth and development agenda by taking effective actions to address changes in skill needs, support entrepreneurship and employability, foster decent work, ensure safer workplaces including within global supply chains and strengthen social protection systems,” it said.

The communique said also added that it will further develop the G20 employment plans in 2017 to address these commitments and monitor progress in a systemic and transparent manner in achieving the G20 goals, especially on youth employment and female labour participation.

“We recognise strengthened labour market institutions and policies can support productivity and promote decent work, and therefore higher, sustainable wage growth, in particular for the low-income workers,” it said.

It also recognised the importance of addressing opportunities and challenges brought into the labour market through labour migration as well-managed migration can bring potential benefits to economies and societies.