From the Overview: "Due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the World Trade Organization (WTO) canceled its 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) planned for June 2020. The biennial meeting, which usually involves active U.S. participation, was widely anticipated as an action-forcing event for the WTO, amid serious challenges facing the multilateral trading system. Some members hoped key results for ongoing negotiations could help preserve the WTO's relevance. In addition, a dispute settlement (DS) crisis continues, with the Appellate Body ceasing to operate in December 2019 and no consensus on solutions. Broader reforms of the institution also remain under active discussion, including some U.S. proposals. While MC12 and other meetings were suspended, members are attempting to continue some WTO operations virtually. The WTO can play a unique role in coordinating global trade responses, which could be critical in mitigating the grim global economic and trade outlook in the wake of COVID-19."
CRS In Focus, IF11513
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/