Australian PM: WTO needs mending to keep up with the times

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a joint press conference at the Istana or Presidential Palace in Singapore, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a business lunch event hosted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a joint press conference at the Istana or Presidential Palace in Singapore, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a joint press conference at the Istana or Presidential Palace in Singapore, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, speaks with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong during a joint press conference at the Istana or Presidential Palace in Singapore, Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, left, and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shake hands at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore, Friday, June 7, 2019. (Wallace Woo/Pool Photo via AP)

SINGAPORE — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that the World Trade Organization needs mending to keep up with the times.

Morrison said many leaders attending the Group of 20 summit in Osaka later this month share the view.

"There is a strong consensus about the need to modernize the WTO and its rules," he said.

"We need to mend it, we don't need to break it, and mending it requires a lot of partnership," he added. "Just now it's the technical practical things that need to get done."

Morrison, who spoke at a lunch organized by the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, didn't go into the specifics of what needed to change.

But he referred to a "very practical" speech by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at an annual security conference last week.

Lee said multilateral institutions like the WTO were "far from perfect" and in need of reform.

"Multilateral global deals like the Uruguay Round are no longer practical, when agreement requires a full consensus among 164 member countries of hugely diverse interests and philosophies," he said.

"Furthermore, the WTO was designed for an agricultural and manufacturing-based world economy, but the world has moved on to services and now increasingly digital and intellectual property, which need much more complicated rules," Lee added.

Morrison is on his first overseas trip after a shock election victory in May. It includes stops at the Solomon Islands, Britain and Singapore.

You may also interested in

Indonesian gets 6 years for smuggling migrants to...

Mar 16, 2017

An Indonesian court has sentenced a people-smuggling kingpin to six years in jail for organizing a...

Muslim protesters march against Jakarta's...

Mar 31, 2017

Undeterred by the arrest of hard-line protest leaders, thousands of Muslims marched in Indonesia's...

The Latest: Crowds mass at jail where Jakarta...

May 9, 2017

Hundreds of apparent supporters of Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama have massed outside the Jakarta...

Prosecutors seek caning for gay couple in...

May 10, 2017

Shariah prosecutors in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province are seeking 80 lashes for two men...

President orders thorough probe of Indonesia...

May 25, 2017

Indonesia's president has ordered a thorough investigation of the network behind two suicide...

News

Sign up now!