Time To Stop Weaponizing Trade And Reempower The WTO


(MENAFN- Asia Times) The World Trade Organization (WTO) will hold its 1th WTP Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in February 2024. There is much at stake and success is not guaranteed.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has identified the
key areas
that will require close attention
if MC13 is to succeed
and fulfill the promises of the
12th WTO Ministerial Conference
(MC12) - food security, fisheries subsidy disciplines, the development dimension of trade, dispute settlement reform, intellectual property rights and e-commerce.

Each of these topics warrants attention - and each raises difficult issues.

Key issues include addressing purchasing power difficulties of the poorest communities, gaining additional acceptance of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and helping countries that lose support as they graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status.

Other issues include addressing the US conviction that the WTO Appellate Body jurisprudence is openly hostile to trade defense instruments, resolving the paradox of patents and meeting the twin goals of data security and data access in the promotion of digital trade.

But there is an overriding challenge facing MC13. The liberal trading order is under siege as world trade becomes increasingly weaponized through targeted government interference, with imports, exports and state-funded subsidies all utilized in the pursuit of other goals.

The evidence is clear – the stockpile of G20 trade restrictions has grown more than tenfold since 2009. There are four interlinked motivations for using trade as a weapon when pursuing other objectives.

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Asia Times

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