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WTO looks to reach trade deals with its fate on the line

WTO looks to reach trade deals with its fate on the line

The World Trade Organization is facing one of its most dire moments, the culmination of years of the slide toward oblivion and ineffectiveness. Now may be a chance to turn the tide and reemerge as a champion of free and fair trade – or face a future further in doubt.

For the first time in 4 and a half years, after a pandemic break, the ministers of the government of the WTO countries will meet for four days from Sunday to tackle problems such as the overhanging of the seas, the COVVI vaccines -19 for the world in the development and food security in a time when Russia war in Ukraine blocked the export of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian cereals to developing countries.

Faced with a key test of his diplomatic skills since he took the post 15 months ago, the director-general of the Ngozi Okonjo-ideal Woteli expressed in recent days “careful optimism” according to which progress could be made On at least one of the four problems that should dominate the meeting: fisheries subsidies, agriculture, the pandemic response and the organization of the organization, said spokesperson Fernando Puchol.

Diplomats and sales teams have worked “at a long time – long hours” to serve at least a “clean text” for a possible agreement – which ministers can simply stadium in rubber and not have to negotiate – on one of These questions, Puchol told journalists on Friday.

“It is difficult to predict a result right now,” he said.

The organization based in Geneva, barely a quarter of a century, brings together 164 countries to ensure international and fair trade and settle commercial disputes. Some external experts are waiting for a few realizations of the meeting, saying that the principal could bring the ministers to the table.

“The multilateral trading system is unhappy. The Ukrainian situation does not help, “said Clemens Boonekamp, ​​an independent trade policy analyst and former head of the WTO agricultural division. “But the simple fact that they meet is a sign of respect for the system.”

Alan Wolff, a former deputy managing director of the WTO, seemed optimistic that members could make at least some progress.

They could reach an agreement, he said, to help relieve a global food crisis that results from the war in Ukraine by ensuring that the United Nations World Food Program receives a derogation from food export bans imposed by WTO countries wishing to feed their people.

WTO looks to reach trade deals with its fate on the line

Now a principal researcher at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, Wolff expressed his confidence in Okonjo-Iweala, saying: “I am not willing to sell it in the short term.”

He said that members “seem to make progress” on an agreement to reduce grants that encourage overfishing – something they have been trying to do for over two decades.

“Do they conclude this time?” Asked Wolff. “Not clear. It was a drama.” “

Among many problems is that the WTO operates by consensus so that one of its 164 member countries could stock up on works.

In short, the WTO has become an important diplomatic battlefield between developed and developing countries, and some experts say that reform is necessary to get things done.

The commercial organization, created in 1995 as a successor to the general agreement on prices and trade, has experienced a slow collapse. He has not produced a major commercial agreement for years. The last great success was a 2014 agreement billed as a boost for low-income countries that cut administrative formalities on the boundaries of goods for compensation.

Years ago, the United States began to tighten the WTO Court of Appeal, which in theory issues the last word on trade disputes, such as that of high level between the United States and the UE involving Airbus and Boeing plane giants.

Then, American president Donald Trump arrived, threatening to withdraw America from the WTO for his insistence that he is unfair to the United States. In the end, he did not do it and bypassed The WTO – slaps the sanctions against the allies and the enemies and bypassing the WTO and the sanctions against the allies and the enemies and ignoring the rules of rules and the system of resolution of the disputes of the commercial organization.

Formerly champion of the WTO, the United States has reduced its admission to China and insists that Beijing has violated the commercial organization’s rules. The United States accuses China of excessively supporting public enterprises and embarrassing free trade, among others. China denies these allegations.

There is a generation, and the WTO has led to enormous vituperative, even violent-demonstrations-notably anti-globalists and anarchists who hated its closed-door secret and the image of the elites-decides.

William Reinsch, a former manager


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WTO looks to reach trade deals with its fate on the line

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