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World Trade Organization 10/30/2020 11:56
WTO members should begin a serious discussion on reform of the WTO, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff said on 30 October. Declaring that “continued drift is unacceptable,” DDG Wolff told a virtual Chatham House discussion on global trade reform that confidence in the WTO would be restored by early successes such as a package of responses to the current health and economic crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as agreements in the ongoing negotiations on fisheries subsidies and electronic commerce. His remarks are below.
World Trade Organization 10/28/2020 13:00
General Council Chair David Walker of New Zealand and his two co-facilitators in the selection process to choose the WTO’s next Director-General told the organization’s members on 28 October that based on their consultations with all delegations the candidate best poised to attain consensus and become the 7th Director-General was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria.
World Trade Organization 10/26/2020 13:00
At a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body on 26 October, WTO members agreed to a request from the European Union for authorization to impose countermeasures on US goods and services trade with the EU up to a value of US$ 4 billion annually. The authorization was granted in line with a WTO arbitrator decision stemming from the longstanding EU-US dispute over government subsidies to Boeing.
World Trade Organization 10/26/2020 13:00
More than 60 specific safeguard investigations were reviewed by WTO members at the WTO’s Safeguards Committee meeting on 26 October. The large number of actions under review was partly due to the spring meeting not taking place because of the COVID-19 lockdown. The European Union’s safeguard measures on imports of steel products continued to draw many comments from members. Members also discussed the United Kingdom’s “transition review” of safeguard measures currently imposed by the EU.
World Trade Organization 10/23/2020 13:00
WTO members participating in the negotiation of rules on e-commerce shared updates on the work done to streamline the negotiating text at a plenary meeting on 23 October. The co-conveners, Australia, Japan and Singapore, encouraged members to propose constructive solutions and show flexibility in an effort to deliver a consolidated negotiating text by December this year.
World Trade Organization 10/22/2020 13:00
Global trade in services in the second quarter of 2020 plunged by a record 30% year-on-year, with the travel sector particularly hard hit by COVID-19 and associated restrictions. Declines in services trade were recorded across all regions and most services sectors except for computer services, which was buoyed by a shift towards remote working and a rising demand for digitalization.
World Trade Organization 10/21/2020 13:00
The COVID-19 pandemic was a recurring theme at the meeting of the WTO’s Committee on Trade Facilitation on 20-21 October. A number of members highlighted how trade facilitation — and the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in particular — can be used to help authorities ensure that essential goods related to COVID-19 treatments and equipment can cross borders and reach their intended recipients quickly.
World Trade Organization 10/21/2020 13:00
WTO members debated market access issues related to agricultural and environmental services at an informal meeting of the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services on 21 October. The discussion stemmed from two communications that underscored the role of services trade in environmental sustainability and in agricultural value chains.
World Trade Organization 10/21/2020 13:00
The WTO held on 21 October 2020 the first edition of the technical workshop on “An Integrated Health, Trade and Intellectual Property Approach to Address the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The workshop, intended for policymakers, aimed at building capacity to assess domestic health systems, intellectual property (IP) regimes and trade policy settings to use these tools effectively in an integrated and coherent way to respond to the pandemic. It also offered participants an opportunity to identify and consider their priority capacity-building needs.
World Trade Organization 10/20/2020 04:56
At the meeting of the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on 15-16 October 2020, WTO members discussed how best to use the global intellectual property (IP) system to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Members also discussed the extension of the transitional period for least developed countries (LDCs) to implement the TRIPS Agreement and a new proposal on the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the protection of IP rights.
World Trade Organization 10/19/2020 06:34
The WTO Secretariat has circulated a meeting notice and list of items proposed for the next meeting, on 26 October 2020, of the Dispute Settlement Body, which consists of all WTO members and oversees legal disputes among them. The meeting notice is circulated in the form of a document officially called an “airgram”.
World Trade Organization 10/16/2020 10:31
The WTO launched a new publication to answer commonly raised questions about trade and the environment at a virtual event on 16 October. “Short Answers to Big Questions on the WTO and the Environment” explores trade’s impact on the planet, the policies that governments enact to protect it and the role of the WTO regarding environmental issues.

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