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CIWTO attended the WTO Chairs Programme Annual Conference 2023 in Geneva

A year after the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) and with an eye on MC13 early next year, WTO hosted its WTO Chairs Programme (WCP) Annual Conference 2023 on 21-23 June. Professor Tu Xinquan, the Dean of the China Institute for WTO Studies (CIWTO) and the WTO Chairholder at UIBE, and Mr. Gao Jian (Dustin), the programme's coordinator both attended the Annual Conference together with other 34 participating WTO Chairs around the world. The Annual Conference featured a series of sessions and panel discussions focusing on issues relevant to the WTO's work agenda as well as to the challenges currently facing the multilateral trading system. These issues include investment facilitation, digital trade, sustainability, support for LDCs and the reglobalization of trade, among others.


Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala extended welcoming remarks to all participating WTO Chairholders and coordinators, underlining to the 34 participating Chairs the important outreach role they can play in providing intellectual support for the WTO's work at a time of polycrisis. She particularly emphasized the role the Chairs can play in highlighting the importance of reglobalization, or of bringing more people and places from the margins of global production and trade networks into the mainstream. Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang said he looked forward to a successful conference, encouraging the participants to challenge the status quo and bringing in fresh perspectives, charting the way forward for future negotiations. Ambassadors from Dominican Republic, South Korea, France, and Australia delivered speeches.


By the end of 2021, our university, with an established academic institution under the WCP in China, successfully secured a valuable second Chair through its long-standing history and strong competitiveness in the field of WTO research. This year marks our university's first offline participation in the Annual Conference of the WCP since the outbreak of the pandemic. Professor Tu Xinquan, the WTO Chairholder and Dean of CIWTO, delivered a special presentation titled "Trade Implications of the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)" under the theme of climate and trade relations. His report received significant attention and acknowledgment from other participating Chairs at the event. Mr. Gao Jian, the programme's coordinator, actively participated in discussions during the Chair assessment and reporting session.


During the Annual Conference, Professor Tu Xinquan and the delegation received a warm reception from Mr. Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy Director-General of the WTO, and Ambassador Li Chenggang. They also visited Ms. Anabel González, Deputy Director-General of the WTO, the Chinese delegation to the WTO in Geneva, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC), as well as Chinese officials working at the WTO. These engagements further enhance our university's research and advisory capabilities, international talent development, and domestic and international influence as a participating Chair of the WCP.


Prior to attending the Annual Conference, Professor Tu Xinquan and the delegation also visited the World Trade Institute at the University of Bern to discuss the renewal of cooperation agreements. During the visit, they also had the opportunity to meet with doctoral student Wang Yu, who is participating in the 2022 Innovative Talent International Cooperation Program, funded by China Scholarship Council (CSC).