Although the concept of “vulnerability” is not new to WTO circles, its full utility as a tool for identifying and proposing solutions for vulnerable WTO Members has not been comprehensively explored. COVID-19 presents a renewed opportunity to re-engage on the dimensions, and possible utilization of the concept as part of constructive debate and advocacy at the WTO.
In work that seeks to build on the Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index developed by the Caribbean Development Bank, the Shridath Ramphal Centre of UWI has started work on the creation of a Trade Vulnerability Index (TVI) which aims not just to quantify and measure degrees of countries’ vulnerability – using proxies of vulnerability – but ultimately to deploy the TVI practically to justify and explain why certain countries may be more deserving than others of defined treatment in ongoing negotiations.
For a background on the TVI, see here: https://www.afronomicslaw.org/2020/08/19/our-trade-vulnerability-index-explained-why-what-how-and-whats-next/
The ultimate aim of the TVI is not to simply identify vulnerabilities but to use these insights as a basis for:
- identifying where WTO rules may – and may not – provide tangible solutions to these vulnerabilities; and
- defining paths and proposing ways, using trade policy and negotiations, to help countries overcome those vulnerabilities and build resilient economies.
The Session will take the form of a moderated discussion among trade negotiators, economists, lawyers and practitioners who are familiar with the TVI, its objectives and possible utilization.
- What work is currently being done on the TVI, and what are its objectives?
- How are the proxies the TVI uses to establish vulnerability being developed?
- What are the possible shortcomings and limitations of the work?
- What are some next steps for how the TVI could be used at the WTO, and in what trade policy and negotiating contexts might it add value?
In the second portion of the session, the floor will open for a moderated audience discussion guided by the question:
What are your thoughts on the TVI, and are there any ways you can see the TVI being employed to provide answers to vulnerabilities and make economies more resilient through trade policy?
Continue the conversation in the dedicated chat on the Beyond Trade Network.
This session will be simultaneously translated into French, Spanish and English (when needed) via the Interactio application, by entering the code GTW2020 (please use headphones). Open the application in your Web browser or download it for iOS Mobile App or for Android App.