NOW: Alan Wm. Wolff discusses his decidedly positive view of the WTO’s future, saying that though what we have in the trading system is of great value does not make it sufficient. This is a time of testing for the WTO.
Watch live & follow this thread:
➡️Understanding what we have
➡️Identifying the primary challenges
➡️Charting a path to the desired future
There are 8 major challenges facing the WTO right now:
1⃣Dealing with trade aspects of fighting the pandemic
2⃣Using trade to boost economic recovery; special attention to developing countries
3⃣Making recovery greener
4⃣Carbon border adjustment measures based on cooperation
5⃣Forestalling fragmentation of digital economy
6⃣Putting in place binding dispute settlement that is accepted as legitimate by all litigants
7⃣Making the trading system visibly more positive for workers
8⃣Reforming the WTO as an institution
1⃣Curbing sauve qui peu—everyone save themselves—vaccine nationalism.
Pious words are insufficient.
Transparency is needed:
➡️Export restrictions
➡️Vaccine availability
➡️Prospects for increasing supply,
➡️Terms of licenses
Fighting the pandemic with trade:
➡️Suspend tariffs on essential goods
➡️Take into account the effects of export controls on others
➡️Define the obligation to provide an ”equitable share”
➡️Make trade facilitation measures for essential goods and services fully effective
More can be done:
➡️Ad hoc Working Party on Covid 19
➡️Coordinated subsidization of #GVC for essential goods (Bown)
➡️Accelerated dispute settlement
➡️Non-traditional responses – ”the Ngozi factor” (coordinated investment push)
➡️Work with WHO, World Bank, IMF, OECD.
2⃣Supporting economic recovery
➡️Recognize trade is an essential supplement to fiscal & monetary policy
➡️Hold the line on unnecessary protection (like on food)
➡️Use the 'bully pulpit' for maintaining #GVC
➡️Restore trade finance (avoid a K-shaped recovery)
3⃣Making the recovery greener
💡There must be structured discussion on trade and the environment
➡️Technical assistance
➡️Aiming for deliverables
4⃣Dealing with climate change
➡️Policy support for low carbon technologies
➡️Addressing industrial subsidies fostering sustainability outcomes
➡️Reducing (ideally eliminating) fossil fuel subsidies
Current WTO rules are not an impediment to the adoption of environmental measures
5⃣Forestalling fragmentation of global digital economy
➡️Either WTO creates rule-book or individual Members will
➡️Expiration of waiver on electronic transmissions.
➡️Early harvest or bundle with hardest issues:
freedom of cross-border data flows & forced location of servers
6⃣Making trade agreements enforceable again
💡Enforceability is the distinguishing feature of the WTO
➡️Goal: binding dispute settlement that is accepted as legitimate by all litigants.
💡The price of liberalization is trade remedies
Solution will be structural - a new Appellate Body
➡️Settling disputes; not making law
➡️Directions from Members to give deference to national interpretations
➡️Expanded membership.
➡️Time limits
➡️No gap filling
& more...
7⃣A system designed to benefit people
📈Enabling commercial success of workers, farmers, small business & women
🏛️Political imperative
➡️Permit necessary trade remedies
➡️Open foreign markets
➡️Address child labor/slave labor/forced labor
➡️Accept suppression of wages as subsidy
8⃣WTO Institutional!
Must have:
➡️Deliberation & negotiation
➡️Enforcement through dispute settlement
➡️A strong executive
💡Can only be achieved by addressing immediate challenges through action
💡A near-term separate compact/alternative venue?
The WTO needs new rules, Alan Wm. Wolff says:
💡No veto over the activity of others
💡No appeals into the void allowed
💡Consensus only required for rules of universal applicability
💡Future agreements will be multi-speed.
💡All expected to contribute to WTO moving forward
The path forward for the WTO:
1⃣Vaccine pact
2⃣Economic recovery
3⃣Making it green
4⃣CBAM pact
5⃣E-commerce pact
6⃣Dispute settlement–enforceability restored
7⃣WTO for people–rebalancing, trade finance
8⃣Institutional reform
➕Fisheries subsidies agreement & WFP Agreement
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