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Shaping the Future of Trade and Investment

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Trade for Tomorrow

A call to action to make trade work for all

This call to action has been developed by the World Economic Forum’s Trade and Investment Leadership Group, Action Group and Future Council.

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We believe trade and investment support human development and that a global recovery can be built upon a trade recovery. Governments must creatively re-engage on trade reform and refrain from protectionism.

Trade and investment empower people to exchange goods and services, find rewarding employment, enjoy consumer benefits and grow successful businesses. Trade and investment must support development and inclusion.

Through jointly upholding environmental and social standards, trade cooperation should prevent a race to the bottom and avoid harmful distortions to markets for goods and services.

Trade cooperation can improve outcomes for underrepresented members of society, including women and minorities.

It should be complemented by broader policies that support equitable outcomes, domestically and internationally, recognizing that trade and investment shocks have significant effects on livelihoods.

This includes cooperation on tax and competition regulation as well as migration and labour conditions.

International public-private cooperation should foster a resilient, efficient and inclusive trading system, building stable and coherent processes, supported by robust aid-for-trade technical assistance and capacity-building.

We call upon leaders to, by the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2021:

1. Strengthen healthcare access by lowering tariff and administrative barriers to trade in inputs and final products, facilitating global manufacturing investment, improving supply chain transparency, removing export restraints, and discussing the relationship between intellectual property rights and access to lifesaving technologies;

2. Conclude a meaningful electronic commerce agreement that improves access and interoperability, enables safe and efficient digital trade and data flows, promotes openness and trust and addresses market access issues. Also, abstain from customs duties on electronic transmissions;

3. Conclude a meaningful investment facilitation for development agreement that improves transparency and predictability, streamlines administrative procedures, reduces disputes and enhances sustainable investment;

4. Advance meaningful environmental agreements, delivering a robust agreement on fisheries subsidies and reducing silos between trade, environment and development policymaking by aligning trade action with COP26 outcomes;

5. Effectively implement and monitor commitments, employing public-private cooperation. In so doing, pay special attention to the needs of women, MSMEs and developing countries and, where current commitments are insufficient, advance new agreements to broaden access to the benefits of trade 

Further, we urge leaders to engage in open and ambitious dialogue on:

6. Trade system reforms, particularly with regards to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, the role of the WTO in a diverse trade architecture and the functions of the secretariat;

7. Resolving level-playing-field concerns with respect to subsidies, state-owned enterprises, trade remedies, government procurement and domestic regulation across industrial, agriculture and service sectors.

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