A business agenda for the WTO

Earlier this week the US launched a case against India at the World Trade Organisation, asserting that India’s ban on poultry imports—imposed to prevent avian flu—violated global trade rules.

The move has been interpreted as a sign that the US administration is becoming increasingly aggressive on trade enforcement, following the recent establishment of a new taskforce to deal with trade litigation. But the dispute should also emphasise the fact that trade tensions between major global economies remain high—an issue that warrants urgent attention given the institutional crisis facing global trade (an issue touched on in past blog posts).

Last year’s trade ministerial raised hopes of a new agenda for the WTO, but tangible progress has been hard to discern over recent months. So what next? On 14 March, ICC will hold a major conference to look at a business-led agenda for multilateral trade liberalization. With buy-in from a number of  key economies, we hope that our initiative will give new impetus to efforts to strengthen the WTO and push forward multilateral trade liberalisation.

An update on outcomes from the conference will follow next week.