WITA Webinar: Conversation with WTO Director General Candidate Tudor Ulianovschi
Wendy Cutler with the Washington International Trade Association (WITA)
On Wednesday, August 26th, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Vice President Wendy Cutler cohosted the eighth and final webinar in an ongoing Washington International Trade Association (WITA) special web series. WITA and Cutler interviewed Amb. Tudor Ulianovschi, Moldova's nominee to become the next World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General. Ulianovschi is the last of the eight official candidates who spoke with Cutler and WITA, which Cutler referred to as a "very impressive slate of candidates."
Cutler, along with WITA Executive Director Ken Levinson and President of the National Foreign Trade Council Amb. Rufus Yerxa, quizzed Ulianovschi on how he would approach several issues confronting the WTO, ranging from increasing calls for protectionism in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic to diplomatic impasses that need to be addressed ahead of the organization's next Ministerial Conference.
Cutler also asked about how the WTO should address calls not only for general protectionism, but for a more nuanced move toward "onshoring" or "nearshoring" supply chains so that countries would find themselves less vulnerable in the event of another shock similar to the pandemic.
Ulianovschi, the former Moldovan Ambassador to the WTO, stressed the need for the next Director-General to bridge the gap, not only between WTO member countries at the geopolitical level, but also between the organization and the wider international trade community as a whole. He also responded to criticisms about his perceived youth by assuring viewers he had the requisite experience at the WTO to handle the job.