Leveraging the Full Potential of Plurilateral Initiatives in the WTO

Crisis WTO Appellate

Inclusive plurilaterals are important to revitalize multilateral trade cooperation at the WTO. Yet they are largely pursued by advanced economies and developing countries often do not participate in them.

In a recent Think20 Policy Brief the steering committee members of the Trade and Investment Research Network propose that enhancing plurilaterals could be achieved by:

(1) Focusing on developing countries’ needs and capacities using the Trade Facilitation Agreement model to address implementation challenges;
(2) Conducting negotiations in an inclusive and transparent manner to avoid negative effects and establish trust;
(3) Clarifying the legal options for incorporating Plurilaterals into the WTO;
(4) Increasing coordination between different plurilateral tracks;
(5) Conducting impact assessments and evaluations; and (6) Making greater use of online or hybrid negotiations to ease capacity constraints

They foresee an expanded role for the WTO Secretariat in this, and also argue that the G20 should enhance substantive discussions on plurilaterals facilitated by a sub-committee under the Trade and Investment Working Group.


Catherine Grant-Makokera(Moderator), Tutwa Consulting Group (South Africa), and Senior Visiting Lecturer, Institute for International Trade, the University of Adelaide

Professor Peter Draper, (Presenter), Executive Director, Institute for International Trade, the University of Adelaide

Anabel Gonzalez(Discussant), Deputy Director General, World Trade Organization (WTO)

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