Global Business Priorities for the World Trade Organization

Drawn from extensive consultations from ICC’s business network, these 27 recommendations provide a roadmap to enable the WTO to make the multilateral trading system better work for people and for the planet.

Twenty-five years after its creation, the WTO remains the most important forum for creating modern trade rules, providing transparency for government actions that promote and hinder trade, and resolving disputes between Member States.

However, the WTO is in need of reform and new rules must be written to ensure it continues to serve the needs of businesses—the ultimate end-users of the global trading system.

This paper sets out 27 concrete recommendations, under five key priority areas, that the global business community would like Member States to address at the upcoming Ministerial Conference (MC12) and build into a work programme over the next few years.

Updating the WTO’s “operating system”, meaningfully dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and broader public health issues, creating trade rules to promote environmental sustainability, updating the “rulebook” to take account of the modern digital economy, as well as making trade as inclusive as possible would not only serve business interests but also broader expectations from citizens and civil society.

Recommendations are drawn from extensive consultations from the International Chamber of Commerce’s business network across all continents and all levels of development—provide a roadmap for an ambitious, yet realistic, revitalisation of the WTO that would make the multilateral trading system better work for people and for the planet.