WTO needs to be reformed to fit for the 21st century

Global trade has been a key driver of prosperity and poverty reduction over the past few decades and the World Trade Organization has been at the heart of this. Now, at a time of geopolitical tensions, political uncertainty and the growing weaponisation of trade, the value of multilateral co-operation within the WTO is greater than ever.

The existing WTO rules still govern the majority of global trade. But the Appellate Body became defunct under the Trump administration. As a result, appeals cannot be heard and disputes are left in limbo — or “appealed into the void”.

Reforming this dispute settlement system is critical to the WTO’s overall legitimacy and to stopping the erosion of trade rules. It is vital in providing stability for companies to invest and export. The EU and others have now made good progress on a set of reforms, but there is still work to be done to have a fully functioning system, including the possibility of appeal review, as soon as possible.

For more information, please see here the publication written by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis.