International Trade February 2024

Developments in the E-Commerce Negotiations:

The first round of 2024 focused on discussing the text proposed by the co-organisers (Australia, Japan and Singapore). This text covers issues such as rules of origin, services, intellectual property, transparency and cooperation.

The 82 WTO Members participating in the negotiations showed a willingness to move forward in the debate. The positions of the United States, the European Union, China, India and Brazil, among others, stood out.

The next rounds of negotiations are expected to focus on specific issues such as rules of origin, services and intellectual property. Significant progress is expected for the next WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2024.

Projected Maize and Soybean Trade Growth:

World maize exports are estimated to increase by 11%, reaching a total of 178 million tonnes.

The United States is the second largest exporter of maize, behind Brazil, with a volume of 45 million tonnes. Corn and soybean ending stocks would also increase globally, which could affect prices in the short term.

Weather conditions, especially in North and South America, and demand from China could affect growth projections.

Acceptance of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement:

Barbados, Dominica, Senegal and Uruguay join the 15 countries that have already accepted the WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement. It seeks to regulate subsidies that contribute to overfishing and illegal fishing, promoting the sustainability of the fisheries sector.

For the Agreement to enter into force, acceptance by 2/3 of the WTO membership, i.e. 121 countries, is required. Acceptance of the Agreement by more countries is an important step for the protection of fish stocks and food security.

WTO Receives Austrian Contribution:

Austria’s donation amounts to EUR 200,000.

The WTO Global Trust Fund helps developing countries participate in international trade by providing technical and financial assistance to strengthen their trade capacities.

Austria’s contribution is an example of support for multilateralism and economic development in developing countries. The Fund’s support has enabled developing countries to improve their capacities in areas such as standard setting, trade negotiation and customs management.

Extension of the Accreditation Deadline for WTO CM13:

Media now have until 9 February 2024 to apply for accreditation for the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference.

WC13 will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, from 26-29 February 2024.

WCC13 is expected to address issues such as WTO reform, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, trade sustainability and the digital economy.

Accreditation will allow journalists and media to cover the Conference and have access to information and interviews with Trade Ministers and other world leaders.

Meeting of the EU’s Foreign Trade Committee:

The European Commission presented its priorities for trade in 2024, including:

    • Diversify supply chains to reduce dependence on single suppliers.
    • Defend multilateralism and the rules-based trading system.
    • Promote open, fair and sustainable trade.
    • Reduce carbon emissions associated with trade.

EU Member States discussed the priorities proposed by the European Commission and expressed their views. The meeting of the EU’s External Trade Committee helped define the EU’s trade agenda for 2024.

War in Ukraine Affects World Trade:

The war in Ukraine continues to disrupt global supply chains, especially in sectors such as energy and food.

There is an increase in food and energy prices due to the war, which has a negative impact on the global economy. The war creates uncertainty in the international trade landscape and makes long-term planning difficult for businesses.

Governments and international organisations are taking steps to mitigate the impact of the war on world trade.

Trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur:

After 20 years of negotiations, the European Union and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) finally signed a trade agreement in June 2019. The agreement has not yet been ratified by all the parliaments of the countries involved.

The European Parliament is expected to vote on the ratification of the agreement. This trade agreement could have a significant impact on trade relations between the two regions, with an increase in bilateral trade and investment. Some sectors, such as European agriculture and livestock, have expressed concerns about the impact of the agreement on their sectors.

Implementation of WTO reform:

The 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Geneva in June 2023 agreed on a series of reforms to improve the functioning of the organisation.

The reforms include:

    • Simplification of dispute procedures.
    • Improving transparency in agricultural subsidies.
    • The creation of a new mechanism for pandemic response.

WTO Members are expected to start implementing the reforms agreed at MC12. Successful implementation of these reforms could strengthen the WTO and the multilateral trading system.

Growth of cross-border e-commerce:

Cross-border e-commerce has experienced rapid growth in recent years. By 2023, the value of cross-border e-commerce is estimated to reach USD 5 trillion.

This growth is due to a number of factors, such as the expansion of the internet, increased smartphone penetration and improved logistics infrastructure.

The major e-commerce platforms are expected to publish their annual results, which will give an idea of the growth of the sector in 2023.

The growth of cross-border e-commerce presents opportunities for businesses of all sizes to access new markets and customers.




More information:

Lupicinio International Law Firm

C/ Villanueva 29
28001 Madrid
P: +34 91 436 00 90




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