On a working visit to Japan, South Africa’s newly appointed Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has expressed concern at the current growing trade tensions in the global economy.
The minister’s comments on Monday followed the G20 Joint Trade and Digital Ministers Meeting he attended over the weekend in Tsukuba, Japan.
Patel said: “Heightened uncertainty from growing trade tensions and measures is also placing a drag on an already fragile global economy.
“This follows long-standing concerns by many developing countries about the imbalances created by the outcome of the Uruguay Round.”
The G20 trade ministers meeting discussed current international developments in trade; the promotion of trade and investment that contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth; the reform of the UN World Trade Organisation (WTO); and sound business environment that promotes market-driven investment decisions.
Patel said the meetings took place at a time that the multilateral trading system was facing unprecedented challenges, adding that there was greater need for development-orientated trade agreements.
He stated that the G20 countries cannot respond to the current challenges by dismantling the rules-based system and replace it with unilateralism.
“The use of the rules-based multilateral system, coupled with necessary reform of the WTO, should ensure that the promise of increased trade does indeed and in reality benefit all countries and people,” he added.