Photo via Presidencia/Télam/CF 10/12/2017

President Mauricio Macri yesterday opened this year’s World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference, which will take place in Buenos Aires City until Thursday. The President began his address by inviting the representatives of the international organization’s 164 member states to “move forward to reach the necessary consensus for the rules of world trade to be in sync with the 21st century’s social reality,” indicating the occasion also provides them with the opportunity to “place human development, the care of the planet, gender equality, and social equality on the spotlight.”

Macri went on to indicate that, as organizer of the event, Argentina wants to “contribute to make growth more dynamic, as well as contributing to building consensus to achieve equitable and sustainable development.” Moreover, he assured multilateral trade will be key to do so, arguing this goal can only be achieved by “working together towards getting our economies to be more interconnected and promote job creation, quality education, innovation and the inclusion of small and medium-sized businesses.”

The intention of the President, along with his counterparts from the Mercosur trading bloc – i.e the presidents of Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil – to expedite the signing of a free trade agreement with the European Union before the end of the year is a clear example of this. In fact, Macri highlighted that their presence in the conference “is a clear gesture of support to multilateral fair trade and the goal of achieving this through clear rules.”

In another moment of his address, the President pointed out that, as organizer of the conference, Argentina seeks to “pave the road towards having a debate about how to make the multilateral trade system more efficient, so it becomes a driver for economic growth.” A key factor to reach this goal, he said, is “having an open world, where everyone trades with everyone, with clear and fair rules.”

Photo via Telam

(Photo via Télam)

In a perhaps not so veiled jab at the government of the United States, Macri argued “it is not sustainable to have a system where the other one is always protectionist, or it’s the other one who doesn’t abide by the rules. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to be aware of the fact that each one of us is expected to make concessions. The more concessions we can make, taking the collective benefit into account, the more we will be on the right path,” Macri said.

Regarding Argentina’s present, Macri said the task of organizing the conference “coincides with a new era of Argentina,” which is seeking to consolidate itself as “a nation that it is trustworthy, productive, sustainable and part of the world,” a process he assured “generates a lot of enthusiasm” in the international community.

According to Télam, this conference intends to perfect a framework for trade in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors, as well as debating issues such as electronic trade and the insertion of small and medium-sized businesses in the world stage.