WTO is in urgent need for reform to stay relevant, agree panellists at ICRIER’s webinar on “WTO 2.0 in the post-COVID World”

New Delhi, May 5 2022: The intensifying call for reform of the WTO and the establishment of the so called ‘WTO 2.0’ that is in sync with ‘Globalization 2.0’ was the central theme of the discussion at the webinar organized by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). The webinar discussion dwelt on new areas such as e-commerce and digital trade; pressing issues around environmental sustainability; the TRIPS Agreement and public health; and the role of trade in promoting gender equality.

The speakers were Jörg Mayer, Senior Economist, UNCTAD; Prabhash Ranjan, Professor, Jindal Global Law School; R. V. Anuradha, Partner, Clarus Law Associates, New Delhi; and Anoush der Boghossian, Head of Trade and Gender Unit, WTO. The discussion was moderated by Amiti Sen, Senior Deputy Editor, The Hindu Business Line.

The panelists agreed that for the WTO to have continued relevance in the post-COVID world, reform was absolutely essential and urgently needed. However, it was also pointed out that, in the run-up to the 12th ministerial conference (MC-12) of the WTO, most of the attention in India has been focused on the issue of COVID vaccine patent waiver. At the same time discussion on issues relating to environment sustainability, e-commerce, gender etc. are being advanced as plurilateral initiatives and will set the agenda for global negotiations. The panelists urged India to take these on board and not opt out of these initiatives.

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