BUENOS AIRES - All countries, especially smaller ones, will be negatively affected if trade conflicts spill over into wider tensions and disrupt global trade, an informal group of 30 smaller states warned on the eve of the Group of 20 (G-20) Leaders' Summit in Argentina.
In a statement on Thursday (Nov 29), the Global Governance Group (3G) also said that global economic growth has been increasingly uneven, and called on leaders of the world's 20 largest economies to safeguard against the risks of uneven growth.
The coalition was formed in 2009 to influence the G-20 to take into account the interests of smaller countries affected by its decisions, and is regularly represented at its summits. Its members hail from several continents and include Singapore, Finland, Malaysia, Qatar and Uruguay.
The 3G noted with concern the rising global trade tensions and welcomed recent efforts by Argentina, this year's G-20 president, to uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system.
These moves include the reinstatement of the G-20 Trade and Investment Working Group and the reconvening of the G-20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting.
The group also reiterated its strong commitment to open trade and investment, and noted a discussion paper it contributed to the G-20, which set out the importance of maintaining and strengthening an open, rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied by the World Trade Organisation, to ensure that trade remains free and open.
The group also welcomed the improved global economic outlook, but added: "That said, growth has been increasingly uneven and some of the risks, including financial vulnerabilities and heightened trade tensions, have partially materialised."
It urged the G-20 to continue to undertake macroeconomic and structural policy actions to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, and to guard against risks.
It welcomed the final report of the G-20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance, an international group of top economists and leaders tasked to review global financial governance issues, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
The report, released in October at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Bali, called for reforms to the international monetary and financial system to enable countries to reach their full growth and development potential and avert the damage caused by financial crisis, noted the 3G.
The 3G also welcomed the G-20's continued efforts to advance work on development, as well as its efforts to end modern slavery and human trafficking.