News & Events

WTO Former Director-General Roberto Azevêdo revisited UIBE and delivered a speech

On the morning of November 9th, His Excellency Roberto Azevêdo, former Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), revisited UIBE once again after his first visit in the year of 2014. He delivered a keynote speech on "Analyzing Challenges in Global Economic and Trade Governance". UIBE President Zhao Zhongxiu, WTO Appellate Body former Chairman Zhao Hong, and Prof. Tu Xinquan, WTO Chairholder at UIBE, along with other distinguished guests, attended the lecture. Over two hundred experts, scholars, and students either attended in person or joined online to listen to Mr. Azevêdo's speech. The event was hosted by President Zhao Zhongxiu.


President Zhao Zhongxiu warmly welcomed Mr. Azevêdo's return to UIBE, expressing gratitude for sharing his rich knowledge and experience with the university community. President Zhao highlighted Azevêdo's accomplishments during his seven years as WTO Director-General, expanding WTO membership and achieving the first multilateral agreement since the organization's establishment in 2013. Azevêdo has since become a leading figure in the international economic arena, contributing his expertise in trade, public policy, negotiations, business, and geopolitics.


Mr. Azevêdo focused his speech on the current challenges facing the global trade system. He recalled the complexities of promoting free trade amid geopolitical factors during his tenure as WTO Director-General. Despite facing numerous obstacles, WTO innovated its mechanisms, exploring more flexible multilateral negotiation models and making progress in areas such as small and medium enterprises, domestic regulation of services trade, e-commerce, and investment facilitation.

Azevêdo emphasized the current complex and dynamic international situation, highlighting structural issues in the global economy as a significant challenge for the multilateral trade system. He identified the lagging nature of rules as another challenge, stating that the absence of international rules makes it difficult to ensure the fairness of trade. Azevêdo called for attention to the formulation of international trade rules in the context of climate change and sustainable development, urging broader participation in trade rule negotiations.


During the interactive session, students, on-site faculty, and online experts enthusiastically posed questions to Azevêdo. He encouraged young learners, emphasizing that the key to success is perseverance, even in the most challenging times. Azevêdo expressed confidence that despite the new challenges facing the multilateral trade system today, it can be reshaped to suit the current context as long as there is unwavering commitment.

Prior to the lecture, Roberto Azevêdo visited the China Institute for WTO Studies at UIBE and toured the university's Museum of Economics and Trade. President Zhao Zhongxiu warmly received Azevêdo, engaging in in-depth discussions on topics such as UIBE's function in WTO chairs program, academic exchanges, and the internationalization of talent development.