FIATA President adresses the maritime crisis with WTO Director General
During the discussions, the need for data governance, transparency and visibility of data exchange was underlined by many participants as being key, as well as the need for greater interconnectivity and infrastructural investments. The FIATA President provided a picture of the current situation, pointing to the current market structure and the recent practices of shipping lines, the obstacles it creates for free market competition, and the knock-on implications for the global economy. In particular, he underlined the significant impacts on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which form the backbone of many national economies.
A key element of the discussions was the focus on what the WTO can do to help the situation. The participants welcomed the efforts of the WTO to engage with the private sector, and encouraged the WTO to continue such efforts and to use its position to share data and knowledge. Some of the solutions called for by the participants, including FIATA, notably involved the WTO fostering multilateral cooperation and leveraging the existing WTO frameworks, including the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the WTO General Agreement on Trade and Services. There were also proposals for the WTO to create mechanisms to protect SMEs and fair trade.