Jake Colvin, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents major multinationals, said it was “originally encouraging to hear Ambassador Tai reaffirming the administration’s continued commitment to the WTO”.
“This is important and cannot be taken lightly,” he said. “I agree with him, and the administration will agree with him, that the organization has to show that it is capable of meeting the challenges and it is not just business for business.”
Richard E. Baldwin, professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, took questions from Ms. Tai after her speech. He was excited to move away from harsh criticisms of the Trump administration. “I haven’t heard the optimism and the WTO say in a single sentence in a long time,” he said.
In his remarks Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, WTO Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela said that despite a raging trade war, discussions to separate the United States and China, and pandemic related shortagesGlobal trade was indeed at historic highs and the multilateral trading system continued to strongly benefit the global economy.
“Reports of the death of multilateral trade are greatly exaggerated, to explain Mark Twain,” she said. “The warnings of globalization don’t match the evidence, not yet, at least.”
As the organization prepares for its meeting next month, WTO members are divided over whether to grant exemptions that allow countries to bypass intellectual property protections that allow pharmaceutical companies to more quickly access their products. Allows to produce and distribute coronavirus vaccines to low-income countries.
Backed by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the Biden administration has stated its support for the exemption. But it is facing criticism, both from supporters who say the administration isn’t doing enough to provide vaccine access to poorer countries, and from the business community, who worry about the long-term effects of the erosion of intellectual property rights. I am worried.