DDG González observed that trade was changing rapidly and profoundly, yet trade cooperation was lagging behind. The risk is that trade tensions and power-based trade relations increasingly fill the void left by reduced trade cooperation, she said.

DDG González added that global value chains are being organized more and more around intangibles such as data-driven services and intellectual property, and less and less around manufacturing. But trade policies have not adapted to this new reality, she said, as barriers to services trade remain high, digital protectionism is on the rise and many legal, regulatory and procedural barriers continue to affect investment.

She emphasized that strengthening resilience of global value chains is essential but that policy decisions in this area should be firmly based on hard evidence. To think that reshoring, promoting self-sufficiency or unwinding trade integration would magically improve resilience is both wrong-headed and dangerous, she said.

DDG González noted that as a major trading power and beneficiary of the rules-based trading system, the European Union has an important role to promote greater coordination and cooperation among key trading partners and avoid a system of power relations from taking root.

She emphasized that the WTO offers all WTO members opportunities for meaningful cooperation across a wide range of areas, from harnessing the digital and services transformations and making global value chains more efficient and resilient to leveraging trade to help tackle the climate crisis. She concluded that efforts at the WTO can succeed only if WTO members are able to regain a sense of common purpose and find ways to co-exist within a single, rules-based trading system despite their differences in size, levels of development and even economic systems.




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