• KITA Held “International Conference on Prospects and Challenges for 2021 Global Trade Environment”
    2020-12-01 hit 686

    KITA Held “International Conference on Prospects and Challenges for 2021 Global Trade Environment”


    - Significant changes in the international trade environment with the inauguration of the new US administration next year and Brexit, etc... We need to actively prepare for the new trade order -


    The Korea International Trade Association (Chairman: Kim Young-ju) held online “International Conference on Prospects and Challenges for 2021 Global Trade Environment” for two days on November 30th and December 1st.

    During the European Session held in the afternoon of December 30th, a number of experts including Professor Lee Hye-min at Seoul National University Graduate School of International Studies, Director Je Hyun-jeong of the Center for Trade Studies & Cooperation of the Korea International Trade Association, Director Ignacio Garcia Bercero of the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, and Professor Alan Winters at University of Sussex joined the online discussion and shared opinions on European Union (EU) trade policies including Brexit, digital service taxes, carbon border adjustments and the crisis of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    Chairman Kim Young-ju of KITA said in his opening speech, “There is a concern that the environmental policies and digital policies of each country, which will be in full swing from next year, will grow into trade conflicts between countries,” and added, “We will have to make efforts to minimize conflicts and troubles by establishing multilateral trade standards and cooperation.”

    Yoo Myung-hee, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, said in the congratulatory remark, “We have to create a stable and predictable trading environment and develop an international order for new issues such as digital and sustainability,” and also stated, “Global cooperation should be strengthened in order to restore the multilateral trade order represented by the WTO.”

    During the panel discussion, a director Ignacio Garcia Bercero at the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, stated, “The EU is establishing a new trade policy based on 'Open Strategic Autonomy,' which pursues EU's interests while keeping trade with non-regional partners.” He also said, “This policy will ensure that EU companies, workers and consumers enjoy the benefits of openness, while protecting them from unfair practices outside the region, and enhance resilience in preparation for future challenges through supply chain diversification.”

    Regarding Brexit, Professor Alan Winters at University of Sussex said, “I see the conclusion of the negotiation on future relations between the United Kingdom and the EU positively.” However, he anticipated, “Chaos in cross-border customs clearance will be inevitable when the transition period is over at the end of this year, and the trade between EU and the UK will decline.” Director Je Hyun-jeong of KITA's Center for Trade Studies & Cooperation said, “The Korea-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which is scheduled to take effect next year, needs to be revised in accordance with the situation after Brexit, and it is required to set more flexible direct transport rule between Korea and the United Kingdom when negotiating amendments."

    In the US session held in the morning of December 1st, experts discussed the changes and prospects of the global trade environment, such as changes in the US trade policy and the international trade order including the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the US presidential election.

    Senior fellow Jennifer Hillman at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said, “Unlike the Trump administration, the Biden administration will support reform of the WTO and restoration of the rules-based trading system,” and added, “It is highly likely to utilize cooperation with allies on key issues such as fisheries subsidies, digital commerce, and strengthening transparency.”

    Associate Director Simon Lester at CATO Institute mentioned, “In order to correct China's unfair trade practices, it is possible to consider utilizing various regulations within the WTO, and follow-up negotiations on China's Protocol of Accession to the WTO is one of the measures,” and forecast, “While the existing protectionist stance of the United States, such as strengthening US trade relief measures, is expected to continue, the use of Article 232 of the Trade Expansion Act aiming at allies will be limited.”

    Some 300 individuals from trade industry, governments, and academia watched the live streaming of the conference on Youtube,  showing high interest in the changes in the global trade environment surrounding Korea. The conference video is available to be viewed on the Korea International Trade Association's YouTube channel (

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