Op-Eds

China’s disruptive behaviour had de-stabilized the global trading order well before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February. Such geopolitical trends, among others, have converged to produce tectonic shifts in international business as we go forward into 2023.

So, what does this mean for what still remains of the post-Second World War rules-based trading system?

For starters, the World Trade Organization, the body that oversees the multilateral system, is under considerable stress. In spite of exhortations at its ministerial meeting last June and a recent plea from its director-general, the WTO has floundered over the past few years.

The problems are deeply entrenched. The WTO is mired in internal governance…

At the four-month mark, the costs of Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” have both soared and spread. The war already has moved well up the ranks of the bloodiest modern wars on record, the direct economic costs have mounted steeply, and the spillover effects have gone global.

For Ukraine, the physical damage is now likely on the order of US$150 billion as city after city in the path of Putin’s army is shelled into rubble. Ukraine’s economy will contract by 45 per cent in 2022, based on recent World Bank estimates. This reflects the mass destruction or shutdown of businesses, the blockade of Ukraine’s main export routes through Black Sea ports and the dislocation of one-third of its households and workers. For the…

Alors qu’on placote autour du BBQ, une bière à la main, s’amène à l’horizon la tempête parfaite pour troubler notre insouciance : une crise alimentaire mondiale.

Les plus fortunés se scandaliseront du prix du bifteck d’aloyau ou du homard, mais pas assez pour s’en priver. Les autres devront se serrer la ceinture et un nombre grandissant iront le ventre vide.

Cette tempête parfaite est la fille des ouragans que nous connaissons bien : la pandémie, la guerre en Ukraine et le réchauffement climatique.

Il y a assez de nourriture pour tous, mais tous ne peuvent se la payer, surtout quand les prix grimpent en flèche.

Depuis le début de la COVID-19, les prix des céréales sont en hausse de 75 % et celui des huiles…

Last week the Canadian and American governments announced plans to liquidate Russian assets frozen by sanctions and to distribute the funds to affected victims and to war-torn countries. The measures have been devised to inflict even greater penalties on that country as a result of its illegal invasion of Ukraine and the appalling atrocities committed by Russian forces there in recent weeks.

As the ground war grinds on, this is a significant escalation of the parallel sanctions battle, illustrating their ever-expanding reach and presaging long-lasting effects on international business, not only involving Russia but with potential expansion to other places where Western sanctions apply, such as Myanmar, Iran and Syria.

In…

The multilateral trading order was in terrible disrepair long before Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The Ukraine war has made things much worse, adding tremendous stresses on an increasingly fragile set of international trade rules, personified by the World Trade Organization and the liberal trading order it oversees.

Some of these problems were exacerbated by almost two years of COVID-19 restrictions, causing the cancelling of meetings among WTO members, frustrating progress on several fronts. One example is the postponement of last year’s all-important 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (called MC12), which is now rescheduled for June.

Delayed ministerial gatherings and the need for virtual meetings are, in the end,…