The WTO is back in business?

Crisis WTO Appellate

The building on Lake Geneva which houses the WTO stands as the symbol of the multilateral trading system and the bastion of global non-discrimination in trade governance. Meetings held under WTO auspices, whether physical or virtual, attract global participation by all trading partners. No other institution, and no other location, provides such a venue.

Recent frantic activity inside the WTO building, sadly last week without political decision-makers at Ministerial level, has managed nevertheless to magic up some valuable concrete outcomes.

Very importantly, services trade stakeholders witnessed last week the first trade facilitating outcome on services since the WTO was created. The OECD estimates this deal is worth USD150 billion in annual trade cost savings. This is not to be scoffed at. The announcement on 2 December of agreement at the WTO on a Reference Paper on Services Domestic Regulation is undoubtedly an outcome of historic significance. 67 WTO Members, accounting for 90 per cent of world trade in services have agreed to adopt best practice regulatory principles in a joint effort to cut red tape and ease compliance costs for business. Many more WTO Members are expected to sign on in coming months.


The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

European Union

With the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

Tagged in Trade and Investment in Services Associates, World Trade Organisation (39, trade

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