On the occasion of WTO Public Forum, representatives from GBC members chose to lead a workshop dedicated to identifying the effects of WTO blockades and suggesting ways to move forward. Along with Iana DREYER, fonder of Borderlex, Mohamed Kassem (Federation of Egyptian Industries), Fernando Landa (Unión Industrial Argentina), John G Murphy (US Chamber of Commerce) and Álvaro Enciso Schweinfurth (Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales) discussed the topic for a large and enthusiastic audience.

Here are the outlines of the discussion:

The business community is deeply concerned about the future of the multilateral trading system regarding its three main pillars: rule making, monitoring and dispute settlement worldwide-synchronized slowdown as a result of the unresolved tensions is leading towards the slowest pace of growth since the financial crisis. Work must be accelerated to preserve our collective economic well-being

  • The Appellate body crisis and the risk of paralysis by the end of December raises a lot of uncertainties that are clearly not good for businesses, that require predictability to expand and invest
  • To ensure open and fair trade without competitive distortions WTO members need to address industrial subsidies and non-market practices where existing rules are not effective. An estimated 22% of the world largest companies are under State control. Recognizing the important role these enterprises play in certain economies, how do we create the appropriate environment for constructive discussions?
  • The evolution of market access for services is clearly not satisfying. How to overcome the blockades and open markets to what has been identified as a major source of growth for the future?
  • We are already very late in the digital rules discussion. How to make Digital a beneficiary opportunity for all businesses, especially small & medium ones?

All those issues exemplify political stalemates that turn into struggling complexities for business. What are the solutions to these blockades? Is it possible to reshape existing rules at a time when political will for multilateral solutions can be questioned?

Public Forum 2019 – Session 121 – Blind spots and blockades, how to revive and update the WTO by reform HERE.

GBC complete article HERE.