25th anniversary of the WTO
To commemorate its 25th anniversary, the WTO hosted on 19 November a series of discussions that provided an opportunity to reflect on and take stock of the achievements as well as the challenges facing the organization.
Other 25th anniversary events
- Agreement on Agriculture @ 25: Agricultural Trade and Food System Transformation
- TRIPS@25: Commemorating 25 years of the TRIPS Agreement
- Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Customs Valuation Agreement
- SPS@25: Commemorating 25 years of the SPS Agreement
- 25th anniversary of Agreement on Rules of Origin
The event — entitled “WTO at 25: Past, Present & Future” — comprised a keynote speech and two panels. The first featured a discussion among government officials, including ministers. The second was a debate among stakeholders, including representatives from the private sector, civil society, media and academia.back to top
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Panel 1: Senior government representatives, including at ministerial level, discussed how the WTO has evolved over 25 years. They shared their views on the role the WTO has played in shaping their economies, considered the shortcomings of the system and what should be done to facilitate the integration of developing and least developed countries into the multilateral trading system.
Panel 2: Representatives from the private sector, civil society, media and IGOs debated how the multilateral system has served society. This included sharing ideas on how to ensure that the multilateral trading system better reflects the needs and expectations of society and how it can be more inclusive, providing a level playing field for all, particularly the poorest countries, small business, women and youth.
13:00 - 13:05
- Introductions: Suja Rishikesh Mavroidis, Director of the WTO's Market Access Division
13:05 - 13:30
- Keynote speaker: Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Vice President of the Swiss Confederation
13:30 - 13:35
- David Walker, Chair, WTO General Council
13:35 - 13:40
- Alan Wolff, Deputy Director-General WTO
14:15 - 15:45
WTO: Past, Present & Future — The political perspective
- Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister for Trade and Industry, Rwanda
- Dennis Shea, Deputy USTR and Ambassador to the WTO for the United States
- Cheryl Spencer, Jamaica's Ambassador to the WTO and Coordinator of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
- Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister and Deputy International Trade Representative, Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China
- Sabine Weyand, Director General, Trade, European Union
- George Yeo, former Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Trade and Industry
- Vonai Muyambo, WTO
16:30 - 18:00
WTO: Past, Present & Future — The stakeholders' perspective
- Joshua Bolten, President and CEO, US Business Roundtable
- Céline Charveriat, Executive Director, Institute for European Environmental Policy
- Martin Chungong, Secretary-General, Inter-Parliamentary Union
- Frank Heemskerk, Secretary General, European Round Table for Industry
- Soumaya Keynes, Trade and Globalization Editor, The Economist magazine
- Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization
- Bernie Kuiten, WTO
All sessions were held in hybrid mode, i.e. physically at the Centre William Rappard in Geneva with most panelists participating remotely. All discussions were simultaneously livestreamed.back to top
Women Pioneers at the WTO — video stories
“Women Pioneers at the WTO” pays tribute to women who have played a pioneering role in the activities of the WTO and the multilateral trading system over the last 25 years. In the videos displayed here, these exceptional women tell their stories.back to top
Messages from civil society, the private sector and international organizations
On the occasion of the WTO's 25th anniversary, a number of representatives of the private sector, international organizations and non-governmental organizations have provided video messages where they reflect on what the WTO and the multilateral trading system means to them. They provide their thoughts on how to ensure trade continues to support economic growth, development and job creation and what they expect from the global trading system in the future.back to top
Conversations on the WTO at 25
“Conversations on the WTO at 25” with former WTO Directors-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, Pascal Lamy and Roberto Azevêdo were screened. In these one-to-one, pre-recorded conversations with WTO Spokesperson Keith Rockwell, the former DGs reflect upon the 25 years of the WTO.
Learn more about the WTO by answering questions at six different levels of difficulty. Participants can share their results via Twitter and invite others to play. This quiz was developed in collaboration with the WTO E-Learning Unit at the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation.
25 years of the WTO
WTO at 25: Conversations with former DGs
Keith Rockwell, WTO spokesman, invited three former Directors-General to share their views about the evolution of the organization and what lies ahead.
Seeing by Listening
A Photographic Insight into the WTO
For almost two decades, Jay Louvion has taken photos of key moments in the life of the WTO.
WTO Ministerial Conferences
From Singapore to Buenos Aires
A photographic snapshot of the WTO's 11 ministerial conferences since 1995.
Women Pioneers at the WTO
Women Pioneers at the WTO pays tribute to women who have played a pioneering role in the activities of the WTO and the multilateral trading system over the last 25 years.
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