Scientific article
Open access

The Role of the WTO in the Global Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Published inInternational organizations law review, vol. 18, no. Issue 3: Special Issue: COVID-19 and International Organizations: Challenges and Opportunities from the Perspective of Good Governance and the Rule of Law, p. 335-369
Publication date2021-12-20

The WTO and international trade have proven more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, without the delivery of food, medicines, masks and vaccines through commerce, the pandemic could not be contained. The WTO basic principles - transparency, non-discrimination, the prohibition against border restrictions, disciplines on subsidies to industrial and agriculture products, to name a few, and in particular the WTO monitoring system have helped countries collaborating and coordinating their actions to contain the pandemic and mitigate trade and global supply chain disruptions on essential goods. In addition, during this crisis, the WTO Secretariat and its Director-General assumed enhanced responsibilities to assist Members with their extraordinary needs. The WTO became the global forum for Members’ coordination of border and internal trade-related actions, for the debate on intellectual property and the request for waiving patent protections on vaccines, while playing an active role in stimulating the expansion of vaccine production capacity in developing countries. This article contends that the response of the WTO has augmented and legitimatized its role as a global governance forum.

  • WTO
  • Transparency
  • Coordination
  • Essential goods
  • Trade policy review mechanism
  • Intellectual property
  • Vaccines
  • Waiver of patent protections
Citation (ISO format)
MARCEAU, Gabrielle Zoe, GARG, Shivani. The Role of the WTO in the Global Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. In: International organizations law review, 2021, vol. 18, p. 335–369. doi: 10.1163/15723747-18030003
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1572-3739

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