Charting a Path Forward at the WTO: Determining Next StepsVIEW EVENT DETAILS
The postponement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference (MC-12) has thrown a curveball at global efforts to advance negotiations on a broad range of critical trade issues. Nevertheless, work is continuing in Geneva on issues such as fisheries subsidies, pandemic response, including a potential WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for vaccines, e-commerce, sustainable trade, and reforming the WTO dispute settlement system.
Moreover, some progress has already been achieved, including the successful conclusion of negotiations on services domestic regulation, the announcement of shared commitments of three new environmental initiatives, and efforts to conclude e-commerce negotiations by the end of 2022. However, given the obstacles currently facing the global trading system, members will need to act swiftly to proceed with negotiations in other areas, and not wait for the postponed ministerial to commence. The WTO’s Director General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has urged negotiations to continue with delegations in Geneva “fully empowered to close as many gaps as possible.”
To better understand the prospects for moving forward at the WTO, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) will convene a panel of experts to explore the following questions:
- What is the impact of the postponement of the Ministerial on key deliverables and work programs?
- What are the prospects for a successful conclusion of the fisheries subsidies negotiations?
- What initiatives on pandemic response and economic recovery can the WTO make significant strides in?
- What are the prospects for negotiations on non-market economies issues, including industrial subsidies and other market-distorting measures?
- How are governments deepening their engagement in the area of trade and climate? What progress is being made on the plurilateral front among members?
Asia Society Policy Institute Vice President Wendy Cutler will first join Angela Ellard, deputy director-general at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in a moderated conversation. This will be followed by a panel discussion that will delve deeper into these issues with Simon Evenett, professor of international trade and economic development at the University of St. Gallen; Yuka Fukunaga, professor at Waseda University; and Sarah Stewart, executive director of the Silverado Policy Accelerator.
Angela Ellard currently serves as a Deputy Director-General to the WTO, overseeing work on legal affairs, rules, administration and general services. Prior to her current role, Angela had a distinguished career working as Majority and Minority Chief Trade Counsel and Staff Director of the House Ways and Means Committee. In this capacity, Angela has negotiated and delivered significant bipartisan trade policy outcomes and legislation for well over 25 years with Members of U.S. Congress and senior Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton Administration officials.
Wendy Cutler (Moderator) is Vice President at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and the managing director of the Washington, D.C. office. In these roles, she focuses on building ASPI’s presence in the nation's capital and on leading initiatives that address challenges related to trade, investment and innovation, as well as women’s empowerment in Asia. She joined ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where she also served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. During her USTR career, she worked on a range of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade negotiations and initiatives, including the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership, U.S.-China negotiations and the WTO Financial Services negotiations.
Simon Evenett is Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen and Founder of the St. Gallen Endowment. Prior to his current role, Simon taught at Oxford, Rutgers and Johns Hopkins universities. Simon was also the Director of Economic Research at the World Trade Institute and has been Co-Director of the CEPR’s International Trade and Regional Economics Programme.
Yuka Fukunaga is Professor at Waseda University, where she teaches public international law and international economic law. She is a winner of the Waseda Research Award in 2017. Prior to Waseda, Professor Fukunaga was an assistant legal counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) (The Hague, 2012-2013). She is also an Executive Council Member of the Japan Chapter of the Asian Society of International Law (AsianSIL) and a Board Member of the Japan Association of International Economic Law.
Sarah V. Stewart is the Executive Director of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a non-profit focused on advancing American prosperity and global leadership in the 21st century and beyond. Prior to Silverado, Ms. Stewart led public policy efforts at Amazon on U.S. trade policy and export controls matters. Sarah worked for the Office of the United States Trade Representative from 2013 - 2018, with her most recent position being the DAUSTR for Environment and Natural Resources.