Trade experts urge globally balanced trade rules, foreign investment into development as G20 summit starts

Joint press release of 7 July 2017

Hamburg, 7 July 2017. Right before the start of the G20 summit in Hamburg on Friday, high-level policymakers and trade experts came together to emphasise the need for both globally balanced trade rules and foreign investment into development. At a roundtable organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), and the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, participants reiterated the importance of promoting an open, well-managed multilateral trading system in order to achieve the goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, urging the G20 heads of state and the international community to adopt decisions to make adjustments in this regard.

GIGA scholar Jann Lay, Co-Chair of the T20 Task Force on the 2030 Agenda, pointed out that “the discontents about globalisation voiced by many of the protesters out on the streets in this city are not without cause.” He called for an “honest and thorough account of the impacts and mechanisms of globalisation” as opposed to a superficial change in the globalisation narrative.

Discussants emphasised the importance of global trade for sustainable development as outlined in the 2030 Agenda. “A multilateral trade system, updated and strengthened, would be a most powerful lever for sustainable and inclusive development,” said Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, the ICTSD’s Chief Executive. Susana Malcorra, Chairperson of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference and former Foreign Minister of Argentina, stressed that “financing for development is key in the 2030 Agenda. Foreign investment, [an] integrated supply chain, and trade were at the centre of what came out of the Addis [Ababa] recommendations, and cannot be forgotten.”

Dirk Messner, Director of DIE, underscored that “global trade needs globally balanced rules.” While restrengthening the WTO is important, he said, it is equally important that the WTO develops a roadmap to promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

Stormy-Annika Mildner, Head of the External Economic Policy Department at the Federation of German Industries (BDI) said: “Global trade rules need to be modernised to be fit for trade of the 21st century. For example, we need clear and predictable rules for digital trade.”

The “G20’s Focus on Free and Fair Trade for Sustainable Development” roundtable was held at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg early on Friday. It had to take place without advance public notice for security reasons. Images of the event are available at

Press Contacts

ICTSD: Andrew Crosby,, +41 22 917 8335
DIE: Tanja Vogel,, +49 (0)228 94927-264
GIGA: Verena Schweiger,, +49 (0)40 42825-558

About the Organisers


Founded in 1996, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) is an independent non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland. The goal of the organisation is to advance sustainable development through trade-related policymaking.


The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies is an independent social science research institute based in Hamburg, Germany. Its mission is to analyse political, social, and economic developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as global issues. As a member of the Leibniz Association, it is committed to the Leibniz principle of “theoria cum praxi”: science for the benefit of society.