Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, September 11 (Reporter Fan Yu) Recently, the selection of the new director-general of the World Trade Organization has proceeded in an orderly manner. Eight candidates have expressed their opinions on how to promote the reform of the World Trade Organization and better play the role of the World Trade Organization. Although their propositions have their own focuses, the concepts they convey are invariably the same:defend multilateralism and safeguard the WTO-centric and rule-based multilateral trading system.

getUrls?link=9c57c79d9e457107170422cee763f6b8 - International Current Review | Short Review:Defending multilateralism is what people want

This is the exterior view of the World Trade Organization headquarters taken in Geneva, Switzerland on July 15. Published by Xinhua News Agency (photo by Li Ye)

At present, the WTO, with 164 members, is experiencing unprecedented difficulties. On the one hand, the Doha Round of negotiations has stalled, the Appellate Body in the dispute settlement mechanism has been suspended, and the WTO itself is in urgent need of reform and repair; on the other hand, the international environment has become increasingly complex, unstable and uncertain, and the new crown epidemic continues to spread. Under the background of the WTO, the authority and effectiveness of the WTO are facing challenges. It is extremely difficult to maintain the stability of the world trade order and promote the growth of global trade.

Nowadays, the eight new candidates for WTO Director-General have different opinions and the same ideas. This situation profoundly shows:what way to solve the current problem, what strategy to break through the current predicament, everyone can see the benevolent and the wise. However, putting aside the technical differences, the foundation of the idea of ​​defending multilateralism is what people want, and it is the common expectation of the world to safeguard the WTO-centric and rule-based multilateral trading system.

For many years, multilateralism and free trade have injected impetus for economic growth, employment improvement, and living standards in many countries. The WTO, which shoulders important responsibilities such as multilateral trade negotiations, dispute settlement and trade policy supervision, has been working with It has played an important role in the struggle against trade protectionism and is the cornerstone of maintaining the rules-based multilateral trading system.

It’s not difficult for people to see that when the new crown epidemic brings a”cold current” to global economic growth, when the United States is pursuing protectionism and power hegemony, and when the world’s development and prosperity is facing daunting challenges, defend Multilateralism is the right direction to deal with the challenges, and maintaining the WTO-centered and rules-based multilateral trading system is the right path to regain growth. Otherwise, the world may once again fall into the”jungle age” of bullying, and such a future is by no means a blessing to mankind.

It is undeniable that the WTO and the multilateral trading system are not perfect, and they need to be reformed and improved to keep pace with the times. But no matter how they reform, the concept of multilateralism will not be outdated, and the role of the multilateral trading system in promoting development and cooperation is irreplaceable. For this reason, Azevedo, the former Director-General of the World Trade Organization, warned him sincerely when he left office:the multilateral trading system is the basic pillar of global peace and prosperity and is”more important than ever.”