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World Trade Organization — Latest news
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) centennial
  • WTO marks ILO centenary and welcomes back historic artwork
    The WTO hosted an event on 25 March to mark the centenary of the founding of the International Labour Organization, which was previously headquartered in the Centre William Rappard (CWR), the current home of the WTO. Director-General Roberto Azevêdo welcomed ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and delegates attending the ILO’s Governing Body meeting back to the ILO’s former abode by noting the close partnership between the two organizations and their efforts to address challenges facing international trade and the global workforce.

  • Guatemala initiates WTO dispute complaint against Indian sugar subsidies
    Guatemala has requested WTO dispute consultations with India regarding domestic support measures and alleged export subsidies provided by India to producers of sugarcane and sugar. The request was circulated to WTO members on 25 March.

  • Fall armyworm: a case study on how the SPS Agreement enables access to tools, technologies
    WTO members discussed the role of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures in enabling access to SPS tools and technologies and facilitating international trade, using the fall armyworm pest as a case study. The discussion was part of a thematic session prior to meetings of the SPS Committee held on 21-22 March, where members drew conclusions from a second thematic session on equivalence and debated four new specific trade concerns.

  • DG Azevêdo in Brazil: Open trade policies are vital to boost competitiveness
    WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo visited São Paulo, Brazil, between 18 and 21 March, where he took part in a number of events to discuss the importance of open trade policies and a strong rules-based trading system to promote the competitiveness of the Brazilian economy. These events included the launch of the “O Brasil Quer Mais” (Brazil wants more) initiative spearheaded by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Brazil, which aims to engage the private sector to help Brazil’s greater integration in world trade.

  • WTO members hold latest “cluster” of services meetings
    The latest “cluster” of services meetings took place at WTO headquarters on 19-21 March, with meetings of the Council for Trade in Services, the Working Party on Domestic Regulation and the Committee on Specific Commitments. Key topics addressed at these meetings included electronic commerce and cybersecurity, regulatory disciplines and scheduling issued related to “mode 4” supply of services, notifications and the WTO’s waiver in favour of services suppliers from least developed countries (LDCs).

  • DDG Wolff welcomes South Sudan’s bid for WTO membership
    Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff on 21 March welcomed South Sudan’s bid to join the WTO, saying it was a “timely reminder” of the fundamental benefit of the multilateral trading system. DDG Wolff spoke at the panel on “Trade For Peace Through WTO Accession,” which took place on the margins of the first meeting of the WTO’s Working Party on the Accession of South Sudan. DDG Wolff’s remarks are below:

  • South Sudan kicks off WTO membership negotiations
    At the first meeting of the Working Party on the Accession of South Sudan on 21 March 2019, WTO members expressed support for working with the world’s youngest nation in order to advance its accession negotiations. South Sudan pledged to use the WTO accession process as an instrument for promoting peace.

  • Russia launches two safeguard investigations: on microwave ovens and on welded tubes of stainless steel
    On 19 March 2019, the Russian Federation notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated two safeguard investigations: (a) one on microwave ovens imported into the customs territory of the Eurasian Economic Union, initiated on 1 March 2019 and (b) the other on imports of welded tubes of stainless steel imported into the customs territory of the Eurasian Economic Union, initiated on 4 March 2019.

  • DDG Wolff: A crisis properly managed can lead to a positive outcome
    Speaking at the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum in London on 20 March, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff said the WTO is facing enormous challenges but that past crises have spurred initiatives that eventually strengthened the global trading system. “A crisis properly managed can lead to a positive outcome,” he declared. The text of DDG Wolff’s speech is below:

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