The World Trade Organization (WTO) is facing a number of systemic challenges and requires meaningful progress on key issues, including: responding to the pandemic, reforming the dispute settlement system, updating trade rules for the twin transitions to digital and green economies, disciplining harmful fisheries subsidies, and tackling market-distorting policies and practices.
Ahead of the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) at the end of the year, this discussion offers an opportunity to analyse the priorities and deliverables for the organisation during this critical time for global trade and the years ahead. It is the first ministerial conference under the organisation’s new leadership and after significant political change in some of the WTO member states, including the US.
• What are the key issues that the WTO and its members should prioritise between now and MC12, and for the future direction of the WTO?
• How can plurilateral initiatives (meaning efforts among a subset of the 164 WTO member countries) best be integrated into the broader multilateral trade framework?
• What role can other international platforms and configurations, such as the Canada-led ‘Ottawa Group’ or G7/G20 groupings, play in advancing the WTO’s reform objectives?
Anabel González, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization
Professor Merit Janow, Dean, School of International and Public Affairs; Professor of Professional Practice in International Economic Law and International Affairs, Columbia University
Chair: Marianne Schneider-Petsinger, Senior Research Fellow, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House