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Crisis at the WTO: Fixing a broken dispute system
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Crisis at the WTO: Fixing a broken dispute system

The appeals body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is like the Supreme Court for global trade. But it’s fundamentally broken: it hasn’t been able to hear any cases or issue decisions since 2019.

The US has blocked new appointments of WTO appeals judges under the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, complaining that the organization’s rules have hurt US jobs and industry while it lets China protect its massive domestic market from foreign competition. Until WTO reform happens, the US says, it will block any new judges from sitting on the appeals bench.

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Climate change is "wreaking havoc" on supply chains
Climate change is "wreaking havoc" on supply chains | GZERO Media

Climate change is "wreaking havoc" on supply chains

Climate change is disrupting industries around the world, and that has a major impact on global trade. On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala lays out the case for diversifying and decentralizing production around the world to build resiliency and reduce risk in global supply chains.

“Climate change is wreaking havoc in so many places,” Okonjo-Iweala says, “If you concentrate your production in any one place, you risk really disrupting things.

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Africa's economy could rival China or India, says WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Africa's economy could rival China or India, says WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala | GZERO Media

Africa's economy could rival China or India, says WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The African continent has a population of 1.4 billion people, but it imports more than 90% of its medicines and 90% of its vaccines. WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says the time has come to open up the continent to globalization and encourage businesses to invest in African countries.

On GZERO World with Ian Bremmer, Okonjo-Iweala makes the case for decentralizing and diversifying global trade to open up new markets, bring Global South countries into the mainstream of the world economy, and reduce reliance on any one country for crucial goods and services.

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World trade at risk without globalization, warns WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
World trade at risk without globalization, warns WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala | GZERO Media

World trade at risk without globalization, warns WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer sits down with WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to talk about world trade, the complicated business of moving goods and services across borders around the world.

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Podcast: Calling for the "reglobalization" of trade: WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Transcript

Listen: Ian Bremmer sits down with World Trade Organization Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first woman and first person from Africa to lead the organization, for a conversation about the good, the bad, and the future of global trade on the GZERO World podcast.

In the last half century, globalization has dramatically increased economic output, created hundreds of millions of jobs, and lifted millions of people out of poverty. But development between countries has been uneven, and global inequality is on the rise. Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine disrupted exposed weaknesses in the supply chain. And rising tension between the US and China has led to a world economy that’s becoming increasingly fractured.

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Ian Explains: What is the World Trade Organization?
Ian Explains: What is the World Trade Organization? | GZERO Media

Ian Explains: What is the World Trade Organization?

You probably don’t spend a ton of time thinking about the World Trade Organization (WTO), but it has a huge role in almost every aspect of your daily life—from your morning Brazil-roasted coffee to the Chinese-made smartphone you’re probably using to watch this video.

The WTO is an international organization that deals with the complicated business of moving goods and services across borders. It’s kind of like the referee for global trade, setting the rules and providing a forum for countries to negotiate agreements and resolve disputes. It’s why you can buy avocados from Mexico, clothes from Vietnam, or cars from Korea in the United States without a second thought.

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What We’re Watching: China vs Australia, Kashmir talks, EU’s Putin FOMO

China-Australia trade row continues: In the newest installment of the deepening row between China and Australia, Beijing has launched a complaint against Canberra at the World Trade Organization over tariffs placed on three Chinese exports: wind towers, railway wheels and stainless-steel sinks. Australia says it was caught off-guard by China's suit — the tariffs have been in place since 2014, 2015, and 2019 — and that Beijing didn't go through the regular WTO channels nor pursue bilateral talks before filing the complaint. It's the latest move in a game of tit-for-tat: last year, Beijing slapped tariffs on Australian products like wine and barley, a massive blow to Australia's export-reliant economy. Since the Chinese crackdown on Australian wine, sales have fallen from AU$1.1 billion ($840 million) to just AU$20 million, prompting Australia to recently challenge Beijing's move at the WTO. China-Australia relations have become increasingly fraught over a range of issues including trade, Chinese spying, 5G, and Australia's call for a global probe into the origins of the pandemic.

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Ari Winkleman

What We’re Watching: US vaccine patent U-turn, right wins big in Madrid, Biden weighs in on Russia-Ukraine

US reverses course on vaccine patents: In a surprise move, the Biden administration will now support waiving international property rights for COVID vaccines at the World Trade Organization. Until now the US had firmly opposed waiving those patents, despite demands from developing countries led by India and South Africa to do so. Biden's about face comes just a week after he moved to free up 60 million of American-bought AstraZeneca jabs — still not approved by US regulators — for nations in need. It's not clear how fast an IP waiver would really help other countries, as the major impediments to ramping up vaccine manufacturing have more to do with logistics and supply chains than with patent protections alone. But if patent waivers do accelerate production over time, then that could accelerate a globalreturn to normal — potentially winning the US a ton of goodwill.

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