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Under-Secretary, Hon. Manlio Di Stefano attends the G7 Trade Ministers’ Meeting (15 September 2022)

Under-Secretary Di Stefano attended the G7 Trade Ministers’ meeting held today at Neuhardenberg Castle in Germany. The issues discussed at the meeting focused on sustainability and the resilience of global supply chains, reform of the World Trade Organisation and combatting economic coercion.

The meeting was preceded yesterday evening by a working dinner with Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Yulia Svyrydenko in attendance, during which the commercial consequences of the Russian attack were discussed, and Italy’s commitment, within the EU and along with other member States, to considering how best to support the Ukrainian economy.  The Under-Secretary said “Italy continues to offer its unconditional support to Ukraine, victim of a Russian attack, unreservedly supporting the European measures aimed at eliminating duty on Ukrainian product imports and guaranteeing the export of wheat.  We also fully support the sanctions taken against Moscow which are finally starting to have an effect on the Russian economy.” According to Hon. Di Stefano “the Russian war against Ukraine has caused a serious crisis on international markets, especially the energy market. As a government, we have to take concrete, effective steps to reduce Italy’s dependence on Russian energy, and we are providing political, financial and military support to Ukraine. Along with our European partners, we are willing to consider further measures to support the Ukrainian economy and people.”

During the meeting, the Under-Secretary pointed out that global supply chains had “already been stretched to the limit at the outbreak of the pandemic, and further damaged by the Ukrainian crisis, creating uncertainties on international markets and worsening the food crises, especially in developing countries. This situation is further exacerbated by the increase in energy prices which are hitting families and companies hard”. Hon. Di Stefano continued by saying “We believe that the G7 should encourage dialogue and the exchange of best practices on issues such as diversification of global supply chains. Increasing the resilience of the supply chains is a condition for sustainable development and the well-being of all countries”. Hon. Di Stefano also referred to the importance of environmental sustainability in international commerce and the need to speed up the green transition until climate neutrality has been reached.

The Under-Secretary then dealt with the reform of the World Trade Organisation saying “the success of the 12th Ministerial Conference showed that despite the difficult geopolitical situation, the Organisation can still provide effective solutions to current global challenges and ensure free and fair trade.” Hon. Di Stefano emphasised the need for the institutional reform of the WTO and its main functions: contractual, monitoring and the settlement of disputes.

Finally, the Under-Secretary referred to the importance of defending international trade against anti-competitive practices and encouraging debate on the issue of the public support of enterprises.

The meeting concluded with adoption of a Final Declaration by all the G7 representatives. The document firmly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, refers to the measures adopted by the member States to support Kiev and reconfirms the support of G7 countries for the government and population of Ukraine. The Declaration also confirms the commitment by all Parties to reform the multilateral trade system and the WTO, to work to guarantee the proper performance of global supply chains and to develop new international rules against anti-competitive practices in international trade.

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