Deputy Head of Unit WTO Coordination, European Commission
All Sessions by Piotr Rydzkowski
22 February 2019
Will the EU save the WTO?
09:15 - 10:30
Against the background of increasing trade conflicts, unilateralism and challenges to the rules-based multilateral trading system, the WTO is in an existential struggle to remain a credible basis for international trade. Whereas the US blockage of Appellate Body appointments and the prospective breakdown of the dispute settlement mechanism at the end of 2019 has attracted most of the attention in this debate, other issues such as the position and conduct of state-owned enterprises, the Special and Differential Treatment for developing countries and the modernisation of the WTO’s substantive and procedural rules urgently need to be addressed. As a staunch supporter of the multilateral trading system, the European Commission published a first set of ideas for modernising the WTO in September 2018, which also accommodates some US critiques of the system. Moreover, the EU is engaging with like-minded WTO Members such as Japan and Canada to push its reform agenda, but its proposals received a lukewarm reaction from the US while China is preparing its own – different – reform proposals. This Lab session will explore whether the EU’s proposals are balanced and realistic, and how they are feasible in the broader context of the US-China trade dispute.