1945

Executive summary

The year 2018 has been an eventful period for international trade and investment. The trade protectionist rhetoric of 2017 has morphed into concrete policy actions that have triggered bilateral and sectoral trade wars. The continued blockage of the appointment of new judges to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body has also made the binding dispute settlement mechanism almost completely ineffective in addressing the growing trade tensions or in clearing the backlog of old disputes. A number of WTO members have started to put forward reform proposals for addressing the growing concerns about the multilateral trading system and the future of WTO. Despite a show of willingness among WTO members to deal with these issues, achieving consensus will take time during which trade tensions are unlikely to weaken and may further escalate.

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