The World Trade Organization (WTO) is holding its yearly public forum this week with a focus on the multilateral group’s contribution to global trade since its inception 20 years ago.
Described as the WTO’s “largest annual outreach event” the forum regularly attracts over 1,500 representatives from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliamentarians and inter-governmental organizations.
The event will be held from 30 September-2 October at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Under the general theme “Trade Works” almost 90 sessions are planned covering issues such as agriculture, trade facilitation, global value chains, and intellectual property.
According to the WTO, the forum will explore on “how trade works through the multilateral system to boost growth, lift people out of poverty, increase access to goods and medicines, and promote peaceful, mutually-beneficial relationships between nations.”
For the first time, a women-only panel will open the Public Forum to discuss “Making Trade Work More Inclusively”. The debate will look at how international trade can close the gaps between countries, how trade contributes to socio-economic development, and how trade policy should be shaped at the multilateral level.
In the second plenary debate, entitled “Making Trade Work for Business”, the speakers will exchange views on how trade policy should be used to address global challenges, how trade can work better and where the WTO can do more for the private sector, now and in the next 20 years.
Among other subjects tackled at the forum are free trade agreements, investment rules, competition, and the WTO dispute settlement system.