Multilateral Trading System
WTO Public Forum 2022 Working Session: Mainstreaming Development in the WTO
30 September 2022
WTO Room E
Time: 11:30-12:45 CEST
The Global South has a fundamental interest in the WTO. In framing the future of trade, reforming and strengthening the organisation requires mainstreaming development in the WTO. The primary question is how to ensure that the broader development dimension of the multilateral trading system is advanced and not simply relegated to polarising conversations about special and differential treatment. This session explores ways in which the multilateral trading system can meaningfully address the needs of developing countries including LDCs. These include assessing different approaches to build greater equity in the trading regime, considering ways to improve the capacity for developing countries to benefit from trade, establishing a deeper role and voice for developing countries including LDCs in developing balanced trade rules, and examining how they can exercise their right to fully participate in the consensus-based decision-making processes of the WTO.
Preserving Special & Differential Treatment in WTO: statement by Ambassador Zhang Xiangchen of China at the General Council Meeting
There remain significant gaps between developing and developed WTO Members in terms of economic and social development, and developing Members still face tremendous capacity constraints in participating in the multilateral trading system. The fundamentals for the application of special and differential treatment in favor of developing Members remain unchanged. US Communications WT/GC/W/757/REV.1 and WT/GC/W/764 neglect this. Below is the statement by H.E. Mr. Zhang Xiangchen, Permanent Representative of China to the World Trade Organization (WTO), at the General Council Meeting on Communications of Development on 28 February 2019. (more…)
The twists and turns of the Doha talks and the WTO
By Martin Khor
Welcome to this session on Doha and the Multilateral Trading System – From Impasse to development? which the South Centre is pleased to co-organise.
This session aims to look at what the future holds for the WTO, in particular in relation to the development dimension, and the interests of the developing countries.
After the Uruguay Round, the developing countries went into a mood of reflection because many of them were not active in the negotiations and did not fully understand what they had signed on to or the implications. So for a number of years after 1995, for the developing countries, their priority in the WTO was to understand the obligations they had entered into and the problems of implementation, particularly in new issues such as TRIPS, Services, TRIMS which they had been obliged to take on as new obligations, in exchange for the re-entering of agriculture and textiles into the GATT system. And to get the WTO to review and possibly reform its rules.
Towards an alternative narrative for the multilateral trading system
By Faizel Ismail
This presentation will argue that the recent attempts by some policy makers to use the concept of Global Value Chains (GVCs) to make a case for increased trade liberalization is deeply flawed for three reasons: First because it attempts to bring back the notion of a self-regulating market that is disembedded from society and divorced from the asymmetries in economic power that characterize today’s interdependent global economy; Second, because it attempts to revive the discredited Washington Consensus; and third because it does not provide a framework for helping developing economies develop beyond their current comparative advantages. Consequently, this approach to trade liberalization we will argue is a false basis to re-invigorate the current Doha round and to deal with the crisis in multilateralism. We will attempt to provide an alternative and more sustainable basis to rebuild the multilateral trading system.