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24 Dec 2018


WTI Trade Winds Newsletter 4/2018

The final newsletter of 2018 features an introduction by Peter Van den Bossche, and is available on our website.

Introduction of the current newsletter by Peter Van den Bossche:

Dear colleagues and friends of the WTI,

For those of us who believe in cooperation and burden-sharing between nations to address the multiple challenges facing mankind and who believe in the rule of (international) law as an alternative to age-old power politics, 2018 has been a distressing and worrisome year. The assault on the rules-based multilateral trading system continued unabated and the world’s largest economies went to (trade) war with each other, affecting billions of RMB, USD and EUR of Chinese, US and, to a lesser extent, EU trade. While this year more than twice the number of disputes (38) have been referred to the WTO than in previous years, the WTO dispute settlement system, once lauded as the jewel in the crown of the WTO, is fighting for its survival. Formal and informal proposals for the adaptation of the WTO and its dispute settlement system to 21st century needs as well as to address concerns of some Members have been tabled by individual WTO Members as well as broad coalitions of Members. To date, however, these proposals have not been accepted as a useful basis for negotiations to overcome the current crisis.

In this past year, the WTI has – as one would rightfully expect – continued to make its contribution to creating the conditions for better global economic governance. It has done so through its advanced-study programmes, its research and its outreach activities.  In 2018, the WTI both hosted and co-organised a number of events and activities including workshops, tailor-made training, summer academies (in Bern and elsewhere), doctoral colloquia, special lectures, larger conferences and smaller seminars. Of special note is the successful launch of our Global Economic Governance Seminar Series, which began in September and featured ambassadors, Appellate Body members, and senior national and international officials on various topics significant in today’s multilateral trading system. In addition, in 2018 we formed academic and strategic partnerships with universities around the globe. We also started two new research projects, namely RESPECT - Realising Europe's soft power in external cooperation and trade (2018-2020) and Heterogeneity - Regulatory heterogeneity in international trade: from measures to systems (2018-2022).

While our focus remains heavily on the progress and success of our current master students, who are nearing the end of their intense first semester, we are already in the midst of the selection process for the 2019-2020 intake of MILE and TRAIL+ students. Early application is highly recommended as spaces are limited. Information about the MILE and TRAIL+ programmes can be found on our website.

Registration is also open for our Winter Academy 2019, which will begin on 21 January 2019. Through the Winter Academy, the WTI offers week-long courses to students and professionals who are interested in the WTI’s programmes, but have limited time. The 2019 Winter Academy courses include: WTO Law on Border Management and Trade Facilitation; GATT, SPS and TBT Law versus National Policy Space; WTO Law on Anti-Dumping and Safeguard Measures; and WTO Law on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. Visit the Winter and Summer Academy page for more information.

On behalf of all my WTI colleagues, I wish you and those dear to you a healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2019.

Kind regards,

Peter Van den Bossche
WTI Director of Studies

The full text of the current WTI Trade Winds Newsletter is available via the link below. Email communication@wti.org to sign up for the newsletter.