Our global rulebook of trade is outdated. It does not accommodate geopolitical power shifts, it is unfit to cope with the rapid internationalization of state-owned enterprises, it has little to say on the challenges brought about by the digitalization of business models and it is often seen as hindering rather than promoting the ecological transformation of our economies. There is widespread scepticism as to whether international trade actually works for the people. Trade governance is also central progress with climate protection. With more and more countries introducing carbon prices, the international community needs to find ways to adjust for regulatory differences at the borders. The Covid-19 pandemic has also fuelled the discussion about countries’ resilience to shocks and the role of trade therein. The dependence on a global supply chain in the provision of medical goods has led to critical shortages in the first wave of the pandemic. Can reliable supply be ensured without setting off a new wave of implicit or explicit protectionism? The WTO has an important role in dealing with all those challenges. How can G20 leaders support a rejuvenated WTO under new leadership – and in a changing world?
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