27 April 2018

Multilateralism Key to Global Prosperity, Sustainability, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Symposium, Warning Trade Restrictions Could Erode Confidence, Derail Growth

Following is UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s message, as prepared for delivery, to the high-level symposium:  “Strengthening Multilateralism and Multilateral Trading System in the Age of Globalization”, in New York today:

I commend the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Chinese Mission for convening this high-level symposium.

Multilateralism is the DNA of the United Nations Organization.  The multilateral trading system is the lifeblood of our open, globalized, modern economy.  Peace and prosperity depend on our common commitment to multilateralism and the multilateral trading system.

Trade is the fundamental building block of the modern economy; a driver for broad-based economic growth and sustainable development.  It creates jobs, promotes investment, spreads technological progress and lifts people out of poverty.

That is why, in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders called for efforts to increase significantly the exports of developing countries, with a view to doubling the least developed countries’ share of global exports by 2020.  They further pledged to provide trade-related capacity-building for developing countries, including African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States and middle-income countries.

The United Nations system is giving its full support to Member States in achieving the vision and aspirations of the 2030 Agenda, including by strengthening the multilateral trading system.  The reforms of the United Nations development system that are currently under discussion should help us to improve this support, through greater coherence and accountability.

But, we cannot take the multilateral trading system for granted.  We need to nurture and strengthen it.

During my visit to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings last week, I sensed serious concern over recent trade restrictions.  Fortunately, I also sensed a strong resolve to defend our multilateral trading system.  Member States reiterated a call to work together towards an open, rules‑based, multilateral and equitable trading system that benefits all.

The communiqués of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Intergovernmental Group of 24 on International Monetary Affairs and Development both reaffirm a commitment to strengthening the contribution of trade to our global economy.  I fully support this urgency and resolve.

At a time when the world economy has been showing broad-based momentum, the introduction of restrictive trade policies is cause for concern.  Trade restrictions could undermine confidence and derail global growth.  They could hurt business and consumers alike, and erode confidence in the multilateral trading system.

Over the past decades, globalization has deepened, and the world’s economies have become more integrated than ever.  A universal, rules-based, open, non‑discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization is essential to a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive world.

I wish you a productive discussion.

For information media. Not an official record.