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WTO: Between Fragmentation and Globalisation

Recorded live from the WTO Public Forum 2023

This podcast episode was recorded on 13 September 2023.


Angela Ellard, WTO Deputy Director-General

Jennifer Hillman, Professor, IIEL at Georgetown Law; Co-Director of The Center on Inclusive Trade and Development, Georgetown Law

Stormy-Annika Mildner, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Germany


Rem Korteweg, Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael Institute

The 2023 edition of the AIG Global Trade Series explores the extent and impact of regionalisation on the global trade landscape.

This special episode of the GTS was recorded at the headquarters of global trade – the WTO in Geneva - during its annual Public Forum in September.  With the theme ‘It's Time For Action’, the 2023 WTO Public Forum brought delegates and trade experts together to assess the state of trade multilateralism.

Many of these discussions focused on how trade can contribute to tackling climate change and promoting sustainability.  A new sense of urgency was palpable this year. The 2023 WTO Global Trade Report, launched during the Public Forum, also raised concerns about the regionalisation or even fragmentation of the trade landscape. Protectionist tendencies remain strong and proliferating subsidies are posing a challenge to multilateral rulemaking. At the same time, in a context of rising geopolitical tensions, trade policy is increasingly seen through a national security lens.

Where does this gloomy outlook leave the WTO? What role can it play in reducing the risks of trade fragmentation and restoring the credibility and relevance of a rules-based system?


The Global Trade Series is a collaboration between AIG and the following international organisations with leading expertise on global trade: the Aspen Institute GermanyCEBRI - the Brazilian Center for International RelationsChatham House (UK); the Clingendael Institute (The Netherlands); the Institute of International Economic Law at Georgetown University Law Center (US); ISPI - the Italian Institute for International Political Studies; the Jacques Delors Institute (France); RIETI - the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan); and the St. Gallen Endowment for Prosperity through Trade (Switzerland).

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