in: T7 International cooperation for the global common good (March 2022)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in its deepest crisis since its creation. This relates to each of its three pillars: 1. trade liberalization and rules-setting, 2. trade policy monitoring, and 3. dispute settlement. Germany’s G7 Presidency will require a careful balancing between addressing long-standing issues such as aligning the WTO with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and reforming the dispute settlement process on one hand side and focusing on the immediate challenges presented by the geopolitical crisis as well as recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. This requires, more than ever, multilateral collaboration and innovative and interdisciplinary solutions. The G7 countries, in close cooperation with their partners, have a unique opportunity to articulate a new vision for trade and the multilateral trading system. The G7 can lead by example while also incentivizing and supporting other nations to raise the level of ambition in aligning trade policies with current world challenges. As such, the goal should not be to try to re-establish the status quo but rather to adapt the world trading systems and its rules to the realities and necessities of the 21st century and the new geopolitical context. What is needed is a WTO 2.0 that responds to the world’s peace, health and environmental challenges and proactively contributes to solving them.