"Quo Vadis" WTO after Covid-19?
9 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020
Date Written: May 25, 2020
The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought as an immediate response the introduction of national restrictive measures to international trade favored by a progressive mistrust in the benefits of globalization and reliance on national solutions, yet incapable of resolving problems which have an inherent global dimension. Although public interest exceptions in the WTO Agreement may allow such limitations, the need of multilateral cooperation has been broadly recognized also as a method to ensure open trade in medical devices and pharmaceuticals The negative impact of the sanitary emergency on international growth, economic development and trade aggravates the existing crisis of the WTO and of the multilateral trade system. One the one hand, the shortcomings of existing rules to tackle new dimensions of trade, such as e-commerce, is not being addressed by negotiations. On the other hand, the attack of the Trump administration on the WTO in general and on the dispute settlement system specifically, has not found an adequate forward-looking response by other WTO members notwithstanding their declared trust in multilateral solutions. The US-China rift, which goes well beyond bilateral trade and economic and technological competition, aggravates the risks of fragmentation and paralysis of the multilateral cooperative trading system, which remains in any case a precious common good of the international community.
Keywords: WTO, USA-China relationship, Covid-19 pandemy consequences,multilateral trade system
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