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The New DG of the WTO: Hopes and Expectations

  • AuthorJongduk Kim
  • Series208
  • Date2021-03-11
On March 1, 2021, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister and former vice-president of the World Bank, started her first day in office at the WTO as Director-General. There are a myriad of worries and challenges ahead of her. Notwithstanding its long-term importance, the “moribund WTO” is not regarded as a subject of urgent attention. In her inaugural statement, she laid out imminent challenges the global economy faces and urgent tasks that need to be addressed by the WTO. Under the circumstances, however, what the multilateral trading system needs most is the restoration of confidence and trust in trade and intergovernmental cooperation based upon this, not tackling the set-out agenda one by one. In the perspective of desperate urgency and long-term importance, the resumption of the Appellate Body at the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) would be not only a great deliverable of the the 12th Ministerial Conference but the significant first step toward reviving the multilateral trade system as well. The Biden administration has constantly sent signals that the United States would come back to the multilateral table and cooperate with allies. Hopefully, the new Director-General will take actions to establish a common ground across members to move forward in this imperative matter as soon as possible.
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