The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is considered by many to be the most important multilateral organisations in the world for economic matters. Its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), spearheaded many rounds of trade negotiations that reduced barriers to trade and boosted globalization and economic growth. Recently, the WTO has given an insurance against crisis-induced beggar-thy-neighbour tariff hikes and a replay of the escalating protectionism the world experienced in the 1930s.
Yet the star of the WTO appears to be falling. The Doha Round of trade negotiations has been running for more than eight years without a successful end. Despite the benefits of global trade liberalisation, many governments today seem to have little interest in opening their markets for foreign competition. And despite the many calls by G20 and other summits to finish the Doha Round, there is little prospect for developments in the near future. the appetite for bilateral trade deals, however, has grown stronger and one of the strongest trends in current trade policy is the rise of discriminating trade agreements. How could the World Trade Organisation be made relevant in twenty-first century?
You are cordially invited to ECIPE’s second Jan Tumlir Lecture with Peter Sutherland. Mr Sutherland’s lecture will be followed by a comment by David O’Sullivan and a panel discussion.
Peter Sutherland is the former Director General of GATT and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A former European Commissioner, Mr. Sutherland is the Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and recently stepped down as Chairman of BP Plc.
David O’Sullivan is the Director General at the European Commission’s Directorate for Trade.
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