Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi, the Saudi minister of commerce, led the Kingdom’s delegation at a ministerial meeting of the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group in the Italian city of Sorrento on Tuesday.
He said that the meeting was a continuation of the G20’s great work to confront ongoing global challenges. When Saudi Arabia held the presidency of the organization last year, he added, it had played a leading role in the efforts to shape the future of international trade and investment by helping to develop and adopt measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that were designed to support international trade and investment. Italy holds the presidency this year and is urging member states to continue with these measures while developing further initiatives and commitments, he added.
Al-Qasabi, who is chairman of the board of the Saudi General Authority for Foreign Trade, also said that Saudi Arabia is a strong supporter of efforts to reform the World Trade Organization through the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO. Approved by G20 leaders last year, it seeks to promote recovery and restore global growth.
He added that the initiative offers an opportunity to discuss and reaffirm the basic objectives and principles of the system for multilateral trade, and demonstrate the continued political support for necessary reforms of the WTO.
The challenges created by the pandemic require strong and effective action by governments to promote economic recovery, Al-Qasabi said, for example by ensuring that investment in digital trade and services are essential elements of their policies in response to the pandemic. The global health crisis has shown that digital trade is not only necessary but critical for full participation in international trade and the global economy, especially among developing countries.