About Trade Dialogues

Three years ago, the World Trade Organization (WTO) set up a platform to enable a series of dialogues among key stakeholders, where they can debate and highlight issues they find important in the agenda of the Organization.

At the request of ICC and the B20, the first of these ‘Trade Dialogues’ with business was held at the WTO’s headquarters in May 2016. Since then, a number of events have taken place. This dialogue has been extremely constructive. It helped to spark a number of conversations among WTO members on pressing business issues.

Business recommendations on electronic commerce, investment facilitation, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and sustainable development have helped to inform Members’ work at the WTO.

ICC, in cooperation with the B20, are eager to further contribute to these discussions and negotiations in an increasingly practical and focused manner. We would therefore like to identify good regulatory examples on each issue and suggest specific legal texts which could help WTO members in discussing new rules in these areas. The specific legal texts could draw on rules under which businesses have already been operating – mostly in the context of regional trade agreements (RTAs).

To enable this contribution, ICC in cooperation with the B20 has now put in place an online Trade Dialogues platform. Through this platform, you will find background notes and existing RTAs rules on each area of discussion: electronic commerce, investment facilitation, MSMEs and sustainable development. You will be able to share your views and suggestions on the way forward and on specific legal texts in the private section.

We invite you to join this exercise. The conclusions will be presented to WTO members at the next WTO Public Forum (October 2019).

We aim to consolidate suggestions by 20 September and circulate them for further comments. We will not be looking for absolute consensus on each and every suggestion, but rather have a set of suggestions that could contribute to work at the WTO.

You can find a list of initially invited partipants by clicking here

If you would like to participate or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at trade-dialogues@iccwbo.org

We want to thank you for your active interest and involvement in this process.


“The decision of the ICC in cooperation with B20 to request the WTO to facilitate a Trade Dialogues with business has proved to be a game-changer. The WTO has never seen such high levels of private sector engagement. This has helped to inform and energise WTO Members’ discussions on a number of issues – including on e-commerce and other areas of economic importance.  I look forward to strengthening this dialogue through this new online platform, and thank the ICC and the B20 for their continued leadership on this front.” 

Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, World Trade Organization 

“In cooperation with the B20, ICC inspired the Trade Dialogues as a means to build momentum toward constructive outcomes on a range of priority issues impacting global trade. By taking the Dialogues online, we aim to further advance our deep and constructive engagement with the WTO to ensure the multilateral trading system is fit for purpose in the 21st century.”  

John W.H Denton AO, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce

Investment Facilitation

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Trade and the WTO have an important role to play in national and global efforts to boost economic prosperity, foster social inclusiveness and strengthen environmental sustainability.

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Discussions on electronic commerce at the WTO gained momentum in 2016 and engagement remains high to date. Many ideas have been put forward by members on how the WTO should address e-commerce given the changing nature of trade.

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The subject of MSMEs has emerged as an active topic of discussion among WTO members. In May 2017, a group of 47 members (counting the EU member States individually), the so-called “Friends of MSMEs”, launched an Informal Dialogue to discuss how this issue could be addressed at the WTO in a coordinated manner.

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