Are retreats the new pandemic at the World Trade Organization?

Following the ‘success’ in June, the new enthusiasm for ‘retreats’ suggests WTO members don’t actually know what to do

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED OCTOBER 8, 2022 | UPDATED NOVEMBER 13, 2022

An epidemic of retreats is breaking out at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

On Monday October 10, 2022, WTO members gathered in Evian in France (cross the lake and turn left) to talk about fish. A fortnight later they were back on the Geneva shore to discuss agriculture. Not long after, they talked about “WTO reform”.

There’s even a call to do the same on intellectual property. The list is getting longer. The epidemic could become a pandemic.

Continue reading “Are retreats the new pandemic at the World Trade Organization?”
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WTO members pick week of June 13 for rescheduled Ministerial Conference

Members want to hold it as soon as possible because without a deadline momentum is flagging

By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED FEBRUARY 22, 2022 | UPDATED FEBRUARY 23, 2022

The postponed World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference will be held in-person at the WTO’s Geneva headquarters in the week of June 13, the organisation’s General Council decided today (February 23, 2022), a move that delegations hope will concentrate minds on reaching agreements.

“The precise dates still have to be determined,” WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said. This is partly because the WTO will want to minimise clashes with other events scheduled at around the same time in Geneva, such as the UN Human Rights Council on June 13–July 8.

The decision was taken by consensus — as is standard in the WTO — on the first day of a two-day formal meeting. It creates a new deadline for members to focus on.

Continue reading “WTO members pick week of June 13 for rescheduled Ministerial Conference”