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Policy Implications of Changes in the Global Trade Landscape

18 March 2013

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Scientific Coordinators: Bernard M. Hoekman (EUI) and Petros C. Mavroidis (EUI) 

This HLPS is the third organised by the International Trade Observatory since 2011, this year in collaboration with the Global Economics research strand.  

This HLPS seeks to discuss three issues.


Plurilateral Agreements

The deadlock in the Doha Development Agenda talks has given rise to suggestions to pursue so-called plurilateral agreements in the WTO context. These allow sub-sets of countries to agree to binding commitments in specific policy areas that only apply to signatories, and thus allow for more ‘variable geometry’ in the WTO.  Plurilateral agreements would complement – and perhaps substitute for – the preferential trade agreements (PTAs) that are increasingly used by governments to liberalize trade in goods and services. Current WTO rules make it more difficult to pursue the plurilateral route than to negotiate a PTA. Discussion would center on arguments for and against making it easier for “issue-specific” clubs to form in the WTO, and how concerns raised by some WTO members regarding the effects of plurilateral agreements might be addressed.


Economic Development

A specific subject that is closely connected to the first one is how PTAs and/or plurilateral agreements could be used to implement the waiver for least developed countries (LDCs). A concrete example and opportunity is provided by the talks on an International Services Agreement (ISA). Can we use PTAs or plurilateral agreements as a way of pushing aid for trade forward and linking it more effectively to international cooperation on trade-related policies?


Value chains and industrial policy—old wine in new bottles?

The aim is to discuss both non-tariff measures in the area of goods, as well as services trade policies, and ask what is driving all this. Do existing policies deal with market failures? How big are the spillovers? What are the implications of value chains for policy and trade agreements? Is there a need for new (multilateral) rules?


Newly Released 

Policy Brief

The WTO at a Crossroads: Destination, Doha. Pit Stop, Bali Opportunities for Reform of the World Trading System
Carlo Maria Cantore and Anna Marhold



Roderick Abbott, ECIPE
James Ballantyne Counsellor, Trade and Economic Team, UK Mission to the UN
and to the WTO
Stefano Bartolini, Director Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUI
Carlo Maria Cantore, EUI
Jayant Dasgupta Ambassador & Permanent Representative of India to the WTO
Michail Dekastros, EUI
Crawford Falconer, Head, Trade in Services Division, OECD
Patricia Francis, Head, International Trade Centre
Giorgia Giovannetti, Director Research Strand, Global Governance Programme, EUI
and Professor University of Florence
Arancha González, Chief of Staff, Office of the Director-General,
WTO Secretariat
Bernard M. Hoekman, Director Research Strand, Global Governance Programme, EUI
Mia Horn Af Rantzien, Ambassador, Chief Executive Officer, SNS – Centre for Business
and Policy Studies
Faizel Ismail, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa
to the WTO
Miguel Poiares Maduro, Director Global Governance Programme, EUI
Anna Alexandra Marhold, EUI
Petros C. Mavroidis, Director Research Strand, Global Governance Programme,
and Professor Law Department, EUI
Vital Moreira, MEP, European Parliament
Angelos Pangratis, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the European
Union to the WTO
Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, Emeritus Professor, EUI
Luca Rubini, University of Birmingham and EUI
Guillermo Valles, Director Division on International Trade in Goods and
Services and Commodities, UNCTAD
Lu Xiankun, Councillor Permanent Representation of the People’s
Republic of China to the WTO
Stephen Woolcock, Professor The London School of Economics and Political

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