15 Apr 2013

An Appeal to the World Trade Organization’s Next Director General

In April 2013, two members of the European University Institute’s Global Governance Programme posted the link to an e-book and initiated an online discussion about what the World Trade Organization (WTO) will require from its next Director General.

In their web post, MILE Professor, Bernard Hoekman, who has held various positions at the World Bank and Petros C. Mavroidis, Edwin B. Parker Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, gave an outline of the current leadership transition and key issues facing the WTO. They call for the WTO to “engage more directly with the business community and regulators to ensure that its work on trade issues addresses priorities that will have a significant economic impact”.

Pierre Sauvé, WTI Director for External Programmes and Academic Partnerships, contributed on the discussion on 11 April 2013, highlighting several core challenges the next Director General will need to contend with. He argued that getting members to agree to a development-friendly Doha-round package at the forthcoming Bali Ministerial Meeting represented an essential down payment towards renewed forward momentum in the WTO. Only such progress could help pave the way towards adapting the WTO’s operating system such that it ensures greater adequacy between the world economy of today and the trade rules governing it. Lastly, Sauvé encouraged the next Director General to promote greater doses of variable geometry through plurilateral and critical mass initiatives best able to deal with the WTO’s considerable diversity of development levels and collective preferences.  More