Last reviewed 14 June 2022

Political leaders must aim for bold reforms to boost world trade in goods and services, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has urged in the run-up to the next World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC12).

Too many smaller businesses are still missing out on export opportunities, the BCC warned, especially as they are facing the trade headwinds of the war in Ukraine plus continued supply chain concerns in Asia.

BCC Head of Trade Policy, William Bain, said: “We urge ministers to take further action on kickstarting e-commerce, improving the commitments on gender equality in trade, reaching agreement on subsidies, and adopting a bold reform agenda to create a trade system which business can more easily engage with, and rely upon.”

It was, he went on, vital that delegates to MC12 do not end the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmission of goods and services as this would hurt exporters of UK creative, professional and business services in particular.

“Leaders in Geneva must deliver practical support to smaller businesses in the UK, and beyond, who are keen to scale up their export capacity in the coming months and sustain global economic growth,” Mr Bain concluded.

Also urging action at MC12, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that delegates needed to focus on fisheries subsidies, agriculture, the WTO response to the pandemic (including the waiver to the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)) and WTO reform, plus development and least-developed country (LDC) issues.