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Top trade officials from 12 countries and the European Union on Thursday declared their strong support for reforming World Trade Organization rules in the face of U.S. actions that are effectively threatening to paralyze the body.

The officials, meeting in the Canadian capital Ottawa for a day, said they shared a “common resolve for rapid and concerted action” to address challenges to the WTO.

“The current situation at the WTO is no longer sustainable. Our resolve for change must be matched with action,” said the final communiqué.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is blocking appointments of WTO judges and has threatened to pull out of the grouping designed to ensure a rules-bound global trade system.

“We are deeply concerned by recent developments in international trade, particularly the rise in protectionism, which negatively affect the WTO and put the entire multilateral trading system at risk,” said the communiqué.

As well as Canada, the one-day conference grouped the European Union, Mexico, Japan, Brazil, Australia and seven other countries. Participants agreed to meet again in January 2019 to review progress.

Absent from the meeting were the United States and China, whose escalating tariff war has thrown the future of the 23-year-old trade body into doubt.

The communiqué said participants recognized the need for changes to the WTO’s dispute settlement system – which the United States is particularly unhappy about – but said they were “deeply concerned” that judicial vacancies presented a risk to the WTO system as a whole.

The statement did not refer directly to the United States’ actions to block such appointments.

“We acknowledge that concerns have been raised about the functioning of the dispute settlement system and are ready to work on solutions,” the statement said.

The officials also said they recognize “the need to address market distortions caused by subsidies and other instruments,” a reference to complaints by the United States and some other Western economies that current WTO antisubsidy rules fail to capture all of the ways China’s government supports its industries and state enterprises.

The statement said the officials were concerned with WTO members’ track record in complying with subsidy notification requirements and called for stronger monitoring and transparency of countries’ trade policies.

Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said he wanted the meeting to demonstrate enough progress to make clear that many countries were determined to maintain a rules-based system.

“I would hope that type of momentum is then seen by, for example, the U.S., as a positive demonstration that other nations hear their concerns about the way the WTO hasn’t been working,” he told reporters.

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