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Is the current multilateral trading system equipped to deal with 21st century challenges?

Is the current multilateral trading system equipped to deal with 21st century challenges?
Date
Thursday 8 April, 2021
Event no.
WP1909V

Organised in partnership with the UK Department for International Trade (DIT), this Wilton Park dialogue will consider both the substantive and institutional gaps in the global trading system, as well as exploring potential solutions to these challenges.

The dialogue will explore some of the substantive areas where it will be important to see progress in global trading rules. Trade and environment, and digital trade and innovation will be considered as two case studies of 21st century challenges requiring attention. The integration between goods and services will be a prominent cross-cutting theme across these two areas.

Participants will be asked to consider how reform of the trading system can best address current global economic and social changes in support of the following objectives:

  • To explore the current institutional challenges facing the multilateral trading system, specifically those relating to rulemaking and transparency.
  • To identify and evaluate the trade policy implications of two particular areas of challenge: environment, and digital trade and innovation.
  • To test whether there are similarly important, wider areas of challenge, or if these areas are indicative of broad economic trends (e.g. the interlinkage of goods and services).
  • To generate in each of these areas discussion and agreement on the key challenges and explore the trade policy responses and changes that could be made in the WTO along with critical areas for further research.
  • It will consider how stakeholders can make the WTO work institutionally, with a particular focus on the system’s rulemaking and trade monitoring arms. We recognise that the dispute settlement system is also in need of reform but have consciously chosen to focus discussions on the rulemaking and trade monitoring arms to allow a more thorough discussion of these WTO functions. A well-functioning system will be key to driving progress on 21st century global trade challenges.

It will consider how stakeholders can make the WTO work institutionally, with a particular focus on the system’s rulemaking and trade monitoring arms. We recognise that the dispute settlement system is also in need of reform but have consciously chosen to focus discussions on the rulemaking and trade monitoring arms to allow a more thorough discussion of these WTO functions. A well-functioning system will be key to driving progress on 21st century global trade challenges.

Wilton Park reference number: WP1909V

Contacts

Robert Grant: Programme Director

Biography and other events

Wendy Head: Project Manager

Partners

In association with