USCIB and member companies Deloitte, Google, Mastercard, Merck, Pfizer and Walmart participated in a June 23 exclusive Virtual Trade Dialogue with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and several WTO ambassadors. The Trade Dialogue, facilitated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), provided a robust exchange between global industry leaders and the WTO leadership in three areas: WTO response to COVID-19, deliverables for the twelth WTO ministerial meeting (MC12) and future work for the WTO.
Ngozi expressed cautious optimism about the future of international cooperation, as evident from the successful outcomes of the recent G7, the G20 global health and the U.S.-EU bilateral summits. She reiterated the need to deliver concrete results at MC12 in the areas of trade and health, fishery subsidies and food security as a way to restore credibility in the WTO as an effective institution. Ngozi and WTO ambassadors pressed business leaders to engage their host governments to deliver outcomes, as well as to communicate the importance to global industry of an effective WTO, now and in the future.
Her messages were underscored by ICC Chair and Mastercard Executive Chairman Ajay Banga, who outlined the significance of trade to global economic recovery, and the imperative that nations reinvigorate the WTO as a functional negotiating and adjudicatory body. B20 Chair Emma Marcegaglia concurred, promoting a WTO reform roadmap and other trade objectives business would like adopted this fall by G20 leaders as a catalyst for MC12.
Industry participants expressed hope for progress in areas, such as the role of the WTO in future health emergencies, joint initiatives on e-commerce and services regulations, and trade facilitation for a circular economy, gender inclusivity and micro, small and medium enterprises.
For more, including a summary of the issues raised, click here to link to a WTO report on the Trade Dialogue.