There is a need to sustain the rules-based multilateral trading system as embodied by the WTO.
Mr Lee noted that this “remains the best guarantor of common growth, as well as effective and resilient supply chains”, but its rules will need to keep pace with digital transformation and remain relevant for the modern economy, as well as bolster global food and energy security.
“We therefore urge the G20 to provide a strong impetus to advance negotiations on WTO reform, in particular, to restore a fully-functioning dispute settlement system as soon as possible.”
Another is to reform the international financial architecture to support sustainable development and protect the global commons. The latter refers to resource domains or areas that lie outside of the political reach of any one nation-state, such as the high seas and outer space.
Mr Lee said Singapore “strongly” supports efforts put forth by India, as the host of G20 this year, to study reforms of the multilateral development banks. These banks, such as the World Bank, are supranational institutions set up by multiple states to provide assistance to developing countries.
“The urgency and scale of the financing needs are tremendous,” he added, noting that better and more efficient use of the balance sheets of these banks should be encouraged as a start.
New and innovative ways to scale up and mobilise development funding from the private sector will also be needed, to help complement and amplify the impact of public funds.
“We will need all hands on deck,” said Mr Lee.
“The G20’s leadership in reinvigorating multilateralism is urgently needed to respond to the development challenges. Singapore will do our best to contribute our part, both individually and collectively, as we have always done.”