EU calls for urgent WTO reform – Expat Guide to Switzerland
EU Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis pleaded on Thursday for urgent reform of the World Trade Organization, saying it was high time to change the World Trade Organization.
Dombrovskis said he was ready to consider a major overhaul of the WTO dispute settlement system.
He traveled to the WTO headquarters in Geneva for a meeting with the organization’s director general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
He then outlined the European Union’s priorities for the future of the WTO, two months before the ministerial conference of the professional body, which will be held in Geneva from November 30 to December 3.
“The face of trade has changed dramatically since the founding of the WTO” in 1995, said Dombrovskis.
“Meanwhile, the rules that govern the organization have not.
“In its current form and condition, the WTO is caught between an anvil and an anvil. Its negotiation function is paralyzed. Its dispute settlement system is frozen.
And he said there was a lack of a common goal among its 164 member states.
“The WTO is in urgent need of reform,” said the European Commissioner.
Diplomats and experts alike agree that the world trade body – which only makes decisions by consensus – has been stuck in a rut for years and unable to close large-scale negotiations.
The administration of former US President Donald Trump has neutralized the organization’s legal arm by blocking the appointment of any new judge.
His successor Joe Biden has yet to end the paralysis.
Dombrovskis called for reform of WTO rules on investment facilitation and subsidies, including industrial and agricultural subsidies.
The former Latvian prime minister said trade must play its part to face the “big tests of our time – from health issues to climate change to digital”.
– Good vibrations –
He said the EU was ready to consider “major reforms” of the WTO Appellate Body dispute settlement system, on condition that they make it “more efficient and legitimate”.
Dombrovskis said the upcoming 12th ministerial conference must launch a serious process of negotiations on reform of the Appellate Body, which must be completed before the 13th conference.
“We need the United States on board for meaningful reform of the WTO,” he added.
Revitalizing the dispute resolution system is one of Okonjo-Iweala’s top priorities.
She also hopes to present an agreement on fisheries subsidies to the next ministerial conference to show that the WTO can still conclude delicate negotiations.
Dombrovskis said an agreement on the issue was “doable”, but stressed that countries with very large fishing fleets “like China should not claim special and differential treatment”.
He was convinced that the November-December meeting in Geneva could lead to “significant results”, saying there was “good momentum” thanks to the new WTO leadership of Okonjo-Iweala and an administration Biden who seems “much more attached to multilateralism” than Trump. .