Making the most of the 2021 WTO ministerial: What the United States should do

Chad P. Bown (PIIE), Thomas J. Bollyky (Council on Foreign Relations), Gary Clyde Hufbauer (PIIE), Jeffrey J. Schott (PIIE) and Alan Wm. Wolff (PIIE)

PIIE Briefing
October 2021
Photo Credit: 
REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
Making the Most of the 2021 WTO Ministerial




The 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), from November 30 to December 3, 2021, in Geneva, provides a major opportunity to articulate a US vision for the multilateral trading system, setting priorities for updating the WTO rulebook and refocusing the WTO dispute settlement on judging compliance with existing WTO obligations. This collection of essays by leading PIIE scholars offers recommendations on how the United States can help advance world trade reforms at MC12. To restore credibility to the rules-based trading system, the WTO needs to come up with firm plans to address the shared challenges its members face: (1) ensuring that the trading system speeds the production and flow of essential goods to fight the pandemic, including vaccines across borders; (2) addressing how trade measures can support carbon abatement commitments through new provisions covering green subsidies, energy regulations, and carbon taxes and border measures; and (3) advancing a plan to fix the dispute settlement process so that it can be used effectively to counter foreign subsidies and other discriminatory practices that harm workers, farmers, and companies doing business abroad or competing against unfair imports at home. To be credible, the global trading rules must be enforceable.


1. Restoring US Leadership in the World Trade Organization
Jeffrey J. Schott and Alan Wm. Wolff

2. The World Needs a COVID-19 Vaccine Investment and Trade Agreement
Chad P. Bown and Thomas J. Bollyky

3. MC12 Should Set the WTO Agenda on Trade and Climate Policies
Jeffrey J. Schott

4. How to Revive Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization
Gary Clyde Hufbauer

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Gary Clyde Hufbauer Senior Research Staff
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