As a small but vibrant trading nation, Singapore strongly supports an open, rules-based multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which has underpinned the world’s stability, growth and prosperity since it was established on 1 January 1995. Singapore has been an active and constructive member of the WTO since its inception. We hosted the 1st WTO Ministerial Conference in December 1996.
WTO rules have served us well, but together with the international community, we should continue to update it, so that the WTO rulebook remains relevant for the modern economy, can better address the changing global context and ensure that our people continue to benefit from economic globalisation. Amidst the uncertain global economic climate, strengthening the WTO and the multilateral trading system to resist protectionism is vital for a stable framework for economic growth and sustainable development.
At the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 13 December 2017, Singapore co-sponsored a Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce by 71 members. The Statement stated the members’ intention to initiate exploratory work towards future WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce. This was prompted by their recognition of the opportunities and challenges faced by developing countries and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in relation to electronic commerce, and the WTO’s crucial role in promoting open, transparent, non-discriminatory and predictable regulatory environments in facilitating electronic commerce.
Against the backdrop of rising trade tensions, Singapore has delivered statements expressing our concern that retaliatory measures and trade wars would not benefit countries, whether big or small. As a small country heavily reliant on trade, Singapore emphasised the importance of maintaining an open, rules-based multilateral trading system. Singapore urged that an accommodation be found to head off an escalation and for trade disputes to be resolved within the WTO framework.
More information about the WTO can be found at its official website.