The global economy has introduced novel opportunities and allowed for broader participation in international trade, but sound regulatory frameworks are required for these gains to be realised, sustainable, and equitably shared. As globalisation and the role of international trade are brought under the microscope, it becomes the onus of the rules-based multilateral trade system embodied in the WTO to adapt and respond to these new realities.

The trade system can play a crucial role in addressing global challenges and can be instrumental in the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, a protracted lack of consensus in the multilateral trading system has deferred to regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements for advancements, which in turn poses risks of fragmentation and erosion in the global frameworks.

The high-level plenary sessions will set out to examine the challenges brought about by the new global economy, enriched with the regional perspective from Latin America, and assess how trade policy can regain confidence for a system that is inclusive and works for all. Varied in scope and approach, the plenaries will each focus on the prospects for the future of the world economy and seek to identify areas where trade policy can deliver for sustainable development.