in: T20 Saudi Arabia, Policy Brief, Online
In a time when the world is confronted with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a functioning World Trade Organization (WTO) is more important than ever. The commitments to WTO reform at the Buenos Aires and Osaka G20 summits, however, remain general and do not describe concrete reform paths. In fact, positions of G20 members are far apart on key reform areas. The main focus of the reform debate so far has been on highly politicized issues such as dispute settlement and the role of developing countries in the WTO. In light of the current stalemate concerning these WTO reform issues, we suggest to focus on a number of concrete and promising paths for reform on the negotiation of open plurilateral agreements, regime management and decision-making procedures. We make suggestions for how the G20 can help to improve key functions of the WTO by adopting these often technical and underappreciated reform options.