1 Oct 2012

The WTO: Staying Alive – The Quest for Coherence in Challenging Times

Panel Elsig Public Forum 2012

The World Trade Institute and CIGI (Centre for International Governance Innovation) jointly organised a panel at the WTO Public Forum. It brought together researchers and WTO Ambassadors. The debate focused on how the WTO should institutionally react to the growth of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) as well as how to adjust the ways rules are made in the WTO

The session addressed the following questions: How can the WTO regain its centrality as the forum for multilateral rulemaking? Would accepting some plurilateral agreements on the basis of “critical mass” or “variable geometry” be worth exploring as mechanisms to keep the WTO alive? Is the “single undertaking” concept helping or hindering the cause of multilateralism? How could new issues identified in PTA negotiations be brought into WTO negotiations in a more systemic way? Are there interface mechanisms that could be established to provide greater coherence between the WTO and the PTAs to develop a truly multilateral trading system?

The panel was moderated by H.E. Mario Matus, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile to the WTO, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva. The speakers included H.E. Eduardo Muñoz Gomez, Ambassador of Colombia to the WTO; Chair of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body; Manfred Elsig, Assistant Professor in International Relations, World Trade Institute, University of Bern, Switzerland; H.E. Joakim Reiter, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the WTO, Geneva; and Debra Steger, Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada

For more information about the event, please contact Manfred Elsig.