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Many of us will associate Davos 2020 with the clashing public views on climate change personified by Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg. In some of the back rooms, however, attendees were engaging on the state of the global trading system.

Late last year saw the collapse of one of the most important pillars of the multilateral trading system. The World Trade Organization (WTO) appellate body has been left without the required judges after the US blocked new appointments. Without a court of final appeal, the WTO dispute settlement mechanism is no longer functional and there is no global platform to deal with fights between countries in the realm of trade. This could not have come at a worse possible time for SA, a country that strongly believes in a rules-based multilateral trading system...

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