In light of the recent disruptions caused by the U.S. within the multilateral trading system, the European Union (EU) has taken up the task of leading reform talks with the view of saving the WTO. The proposals made public by the European Commission at the end of September 2018 focus on three areas: (1) creation of new substantive rules; (2) making regular committee work more efficient and improving transparency of trade policies; and (3) reforming dispute settlement.
Join CSIL and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) for a talk with Professor Jan Wouters, the founding Director of the Institute for International Law and of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies. Dr Wouters will consider:
Are the proposals balanced and effective?
Do they stand any chance or will securing consensus at the WTO be a very long shot?
Will the newly proposed substantive rules (i.e. on subsidies, state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfers, digital trade, different approach to special and differential treatment for developing countries) be acceptable to China, which is clearly targeted by them?
Will the proposals on transparency and committee work (i.e. improving subsidy notifications by creating a rebuttable presumption of serious prejudice in case of non-notification) appeal to the wider WTO membership?
And, last but not least, will the proposed changes to dispute settlement fly with the U.S., as they may go in a different direction compared to the latter’s views?