The postponement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference (MC-12) has thrown a curveball at global efforts to advance negotiations on a broad range of critical trade issues. Nevertheless, work is continuing in Geneva on issues such as fisheries subsidies, pandemic response, including a potential WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for vaccines, e-commerce, sustainable trade, and reforming the WTO dispute settlement system.
Moreover, some progress has already been achieved, including the successful conclusion of negotiations on services domestic regulation, the announcement of shared commitments of three new environmental initiatives, and efforts to conclude e-commerce negotiations by the end of 2022. However, given the obstacles currently facing the global trading system, members will need to act swiftly to proceed with negotiations in other areas, and not wait for the postponed ministerial to commence. The WTO’s Director General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has urgednegotiations to continue with delegations in Geneva “fully empowered to close as many gaps as possible.”
To better understand the prospects for moving forward at the WTO, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) will convene a panel of experts to explore the following questions:
- What is the impact of the postponement of the Ministerial on key deliverables and work programs?
- What are the prospects for a successful conclusion of the fisheries subsidies negotiations?
- What initiatives on pandemic response and economic recovery can the WTO make significant strides in?
- What are the prospects for negotiations on non-market economies issues, including industrial subsidies and other market-distorting measures?
- How are governments deepening their engagement in the area of trade and climate? What progress is being made on the plurilateral front among members?
Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President Wendy Cutler will first join Angela Ellard, deputy director-general at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in a moderated conversation. This will be followed by a panel discussion that will delve deeper into these issues with Simon Evernett, professor of international trade and economic development at the University of St. Gallen; Yuka Fukunaga, professor at Waseda University; and Sarah Stewart, executive director of the Silverado Policy Accelerator.
To register for this event, please click here.