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Over the years, the WTO Public Forum has become one of the most important platforms for dialogue among stakeholders of the multilateral trading system and is now a significant feature of the international calendar. As we approach the 2008 Forum, the outcome of the Doha negotiations is still uncertain, and expressions of political support for its successful conclusion are at their height.

This year's forum, themed “Trading Into the Future”, offers an opportunity for debate and discussion on the future of the trading system. By addressing the challenges and opportunities facing the system and its main actors and stakeholders, the forum will offer a framework within which to identify practical and effective ways forward for world trade governance and leadership.

The following three sub-themes will be addressed within the context of the Public Forum:

Sub-theme I: Challenges and Opportunities Facing the WTO
Sub-theme II: Challenges and Opportunities Facing Main Actors and Stakeholders
Sub-theme III: Ways Forward for the Multilateral Trading System

A brief description of the main questions that will be dealt with by each panel in the context of each sub-theme is presented below.


1. Sub-theme I: Challenges and Opportunities Facing the WTO

The sessions described below will address the main challenges and opportunities facing the WTO in each of its main functions, including:

a. negotiating the reduction of obstacles to trade (import tariffs and other barriers to trade) and agreeing on rules against discrimination in international trade;

b. administering and monitoring the application of the agreed rules for trade in goods, services, intellectual property rights;

c. surveying the trade policies of members as well as ensuring transparency of regional and bilateral trade agreements;

d. settling disputes among members about the correct interpretation and application of the agreements; and

e. building capacity of developing country government officials in international trade matters.
 

Session 1: Mutual Supportiveness of Trade, Climate Change and Development Objectives and Policies
Organizer: WTO Secretariat – Trade and Environment Division
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 16:15 – 18:15

Recent discussions have highlighted that governments' policies and measures to address climate change may present certain challenges for the trading system. The panellists will share their views on what key parameters are necessary for a mutually supportive trade and climate change regime, and will give their perspectives on how the WTO system could best be put to service for climate change mitigation efforts at the international level.


Session 6: Settling Disputes Among Members
Organizer: DLA Piper UK LLP
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 16:15 – 18:15

This session will analyse the settlement of disputes among Members, asses the effectiveness of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Mechanism (DSM), and address the following questions:

  • What should be the criteria to asses whether the dispute settlement mechanism is effective and what have been the results of the DSM when assessed against these criteria?
  • How does the effectiveness of the DSM compare with other forms of settlement of trade disputes?
  • What can be learnt from solutions incorporated in bilateral and regional trade agreements?
  • What can be observed from the participation of developing countries? How can they maximize benefits from an effective DSM?


Session 8: Can Farm Animal Welfare Standards be WTO-Compatible?
Organizer: Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Compassion in World Farming and Eurogroup for Animals
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 16:15 – 18:15

This session aims to show the benefits derived from references to animal welfare in trade agreements to developed and developing countries alike, using examples from private schemes and in situ methods to raise farm standards. The session aims to identify ways to promote animal welfare through international trade while remaining compatible with trade rules and will offer different points of view on the issue, in an attempt to identify ways to advance farm animal welfare through the rules of international trade.


Session 14: Variable Geometrics and Critical Mass: Is there a Case for New Approaches to Reinforce Cooperation within the WTO?
Organizer: European Commission, Directorate General Trade
Date: Thursday 25 September, 11:15-13:15

Recent reports have called for an increase in the use of variable geometries and critical mass approaches after Doha to move forward within the WTO. The aim of this session is to consider the economic soundness and feasibility of these approaches. The session will discuss the balance between ambition and inclusiveness and how variable geometries can help accommodate the needs and interests of all members, including developing countries. It will also review experiences and draw lessons from uses of variable geometries outside the WTO in other multilateral and regional organisations.


Session 15: Climate Change, Competitiveness and Trade Policy: Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of the Multilateral Trading System
Organizer: ICTSD
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

This session will address the following questions:

  • How can the multilateral trading system contribute to responses to climate change in an effective manner while maintaining the integrity of the system and the core principles underlying it?
  • How can the system deal with the emerging trend of integrating a “carbon footprint” in virtually all aspects of economic activity, from production to consumption?
  • What new forms of systemic interaction with other policy processes, both public and private, that impact on international trade are becoming necessary, and how should they take place?
  • How can the multilateral trading system strengthen its arbitration function in a context of potential disputes arising from the use of trade-related tools to achieve climate change objectives?


Session 17: Consequences of a Failed Doha Round
Organizer: EUROCHAMBERS and the Foreign Trade Association
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

This panel will look at general trends in the creation of multilateral trade rules and consider the prospects for future multilateral approaches to trade should the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) Round fail to result in an agreement.
The session will address the following questions:

  • What implications would a failed Doha Round have on the global trade agenda and on the existing acquis of the GATT/WTO?
  • What impact would a potential failure have on the pursuit of multilateral solutions to global problems in general?
  • What would become the ways forward to support and enforce the multilateral trading system?


Session 19: Future Challenges of Agri-Produce Trade
Organizer: European Liaison Committee for the Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade (CELCAA) and European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

The session intends to address the issue of global food security from the viewpoint of one particular sensitive product market: meat. It will address the following questions:

  • In the coming years, where will meat be produced and under which conditions will it be traded?
  • What degree of interdependency of meat products is acceptable in a globalised world?
  • Should food security issues be addressed at the national or at the global level?
  • Is the establishment of a list of environmental goods the best way forward?


Session 23: Changing Power Relations in International Trade Negotiations: Implications for the Future
Organizer: International Institute of Stavanger (IRIS)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

This session focuses on recent changes in power relations in international trade negotiations, and attributes these changes to a number of factors. This session will address the following questions:

  • What are the consequences of the rise of the bargaining power of developing countries in international trade?
  • Which roles do non-governmental organizations play domestically and internationally?
  • What are the implications of the strengthened positions of national parliamentarians in trade negotiations?

 
Session 24: Transparency as a Policy Tool
Organizer: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)-Europe
Date: Thursday 25 September, 11:15 - 13:15

This panel will address the following questions:

  • Why is transparency an important policy tool?
  • Who needs information, and in what forum do they need to use it?
  • What is the role of the WTO, if any, in promoting “good governance” and transparency with its members?
  • Does the WTO have the right framework to encourage developing country transparency?
  • Should the WTO's own standards and potential monitoring for transparency lean more towards performance than design standards?


Session 29: Addressing Global Environmental Challenges: What to Expect from Future Dispute Settlement Panels
Organizer: Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 14:15 – 16:15

The environmental problems we face today, such as climate change, are increasingly cross-border in both cause and implication, and often the poorest countries are affected the most severely. This panel will discuss the following questions:

  • How has the trading system dealt with the interrelationship between trade and environment in the past?
  • How have trade rules been interpreted in the context of disputes involving measures to protect the environment and human health and what can we expect from future panels dealing with global environmental problems?
  • Is there sufficient policy space for governments to tackle environmental challenges, such as climate change, and where are the limits?


Session 31: Regionalism: The Greatest Challenge?
Organizer: The National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Trade Regulation, Individual Project 3: Regionalism
Date: Thursday 25 September, 14:15 – 16:15

In bilateral fora, WTO members are often far more willing to make agreements on matters that they insist are off the agenda in Geneva. This session will ask why this is, and what its implications are for the multilateral trading system. The session will examine the extent to which regionalism represents an alternative to the multilateral system, and consider the importance of regionalism as a challenge to the WTO relative to other challenges it faces.


Session 37: Linking Multilateral and Regional Trade Agreements: Development Implications of the Economic Partnership Agreements
Organizer: Oxfam International
Date: Thursday 25 September, 14:15 – 16:15

There are some worrying trends with the extent, scope and pace of liberalization in some of the commitments of new RTAs particularly EPAs. In this context, this session will address the following questions:

  • What are the rules regarding RTAs in between developed and developing countries?
  • What would a good case for asymmetry in rules look like?
  • What are the implications of this on development prospects of African and Pacific countries in the EPAs?
  • What are the implications for the multilateral trading system?


Session 40: Improving the Climate for Trade?
Organizer: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 16:30 – 18:30

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have both identified a significant potential for mitigating emissions of greenhouse gasses through the diffusion of existing, commercially available technologies. Trade and investment are clearly important vehicles for facilitating such diffusion. Yet various tariff and non-tariff measures continue to pose significant obstacles to the importation of climate-change mitigation technologies. Drawing on work undertaken by the OECD and others, this session will explore the extent and nature of these obstacles, and priorities and procedures for their removal.


2. Sub-theme II: Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Main Actors and Stakeholders

The main issues that will be discussed in this theme deal with the most important challenges and opportunities facing the major actors and stakeholders of the multilateral trading system.

Session 3: The Missing Link Between Trade Openness & Poverty Reduction: The Role of the Multilateral Trading System
Organizer: The Commonwealth Secretariat, London, and the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International, India
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 14:00-16:00

This session will discuss the following questions:

  • What is the evidence that trade influences growth and poverty reduction and how well can the experiences of trade-development-poverty linkages in developing countries be generalised?
  • How important are complimentary policies and institutions in ensuring the benefits of trade and to what extent can multilateral trade negotiations assist developing countries to strengthen these complementary policy requirements?
  • What could be the likely implications of Doha-induced policy change in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and services on the poor in developing countries?
  • In light of Doha Round experiences, what can be expected of the WTO’s future role in promoting trade-led development in poor developing countries? What are the opportunities and challenges facing the major actors and stakeholders in this regard?


Session 5: Public Services and the GATS: Trading Into or Trading Away the Future?
Organizer: Education International and Public Services International
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 14:00 – 16:00

Following an up to date report on the current state of play in the GATS negotiations, the session will be guided by the following questions:

  • Will the current round of GATS negotiations lead to greater coverage of public services like health care and education?
  • What are the risks and opportunities for governments and key stakeholders if public services are included in the GATS?
  • Will new disciplines on domestic regulation affect the ability of governments to regulate public services to meet domestic needs?
  • To what extent would the inclusion of public services in the GATS promote or hinder development objectives?
  • How can governments balance trade liberalization in services with the need to ensure the efficient, universal, and affordable provision of quality public services?


Session 7: Decent Work Challenges for the WTO
Organizer: International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 14:00 – 16:00

The session will discuss the following questions:

  • What are the problems workers are faced with in export related production and industries?
  • How are these problems currently addressed in the WTO, the ILO and other international fora, and what are some successful international responses to these problems?
  • Is there a need for a coordinated international approach to address the challenges workers are facing in export production?
  • What should the role of international organizations and governments in such an approach be?


Session 10: The New 'Geneva Consensus' Defining People-Centred and Development-Oriented Trade Policy: Can a Human Rights Approach Help?
Organizer: 3D Trade, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 16:15 – 18:15

The objective of this session is to explore what tools are available to ensure that trade and other — social, environmental, cultural — policies can work in a mutually-supportive way to improve standards of living and sustainable development for all. It will discuss how human rights help us think about in what circumstances social safety nets for those who bear the costs of adjustment to globalization and liberalization are appropriate, and offer reflection on how to create them in a sustainable way.

 
Session 11: Promoting Environmental Entrepreneurship: The Role of Women
Organizer: Women's International Coalition
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 14:00 – 16:00

The objective of this session is to introduce the concept of environmental entrepreneurship, touching on issues of renewable energy hardware, organic gardens and ecological building systems. The question of how the holistic approach of environmental entrepreneurship can enrich agricultural production and community management will be addressed. The session will present analysis of data collected from projects across the continent, information that forms the basis for decisions in a range of fields, both in Africa and internationally.


Session 15: Climate Change, Competitiveness and Trade Policy: Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of the Multilateral Trading System
Organizer: ICTSD, Global Platform on Trade, Climate Change and Sustainable Energy
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

This session will address the following questions:

  • How can the multilateral trading system contribute to responses to climate change in an effective manner while maintaining the integrity of the system and the core principles underlying it?
  • How can the system deal with the emerging trend of integrating a “carbon footprint” in virtually all aspects of economic activity, from production to consumption?
  • What new forms of systemic interaction with other policy processes, both public and private, that impact on international trade are becoming necessary, and how should they take place?
  • How can the multilateral trading system strengthen its arbitration function in a context of potential disputes arising from the use of trade-related tools to achieve climate change objectives?


Session 20: Should the Doha Agenda on Agriculture be Revised in Light of New Challenges Facing Farmers?
Organizer: International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 11:15 – 13:15

This session will explore whether the Doha agenda for agriculture should be revised in light of the new challenges facing agriculture.

In particular, this session will address the following questions:

  • Would any new investments in small-holder agriculture to meet food security and climate targets be compromised by the draft deal that is currently on the table in the WTO?
  • Should the Doha negotiating agenda for agriculture be revised in light of the new challenges facing farmers and governments?


Session 22: The “Fourth Freedom”: Reaping the Gains of Economic Migration
Organizer: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, the Graduate Institute of International
and Development Studies, Geneva
Date: Thursday 25 September, 11:15 – 13:15

Economists tell us that the potential gains from freedom of movement of labour are much higher than any benefits to be derived from further liberalization of goods, services or capital. In this context, this session will ask the following questions:

  • How can these economic benefits be balanced against the political, social and cultural costs to which so many analyses often refer? Can and should the WTO play a greater role in this effort? How should WTO rules interact with the activities at the International Labour Organization (ILO) or the International Organization for Migration (IOM)?
  • What would it take to establish a grand bargain whereby rich countries are willing to open their labour markets?
  • What are the optimal strategies to achieve international progress on the issue, and what are the different fora and normative tools available for analysis of the matter?


Session 26: The Future Role and Interactions of Main Actors and Stakeholders in Achieving Free Trade Within the WTO Framework
Organizer: Institute of Economic Affairs, Nairobi
Date: Thursday 25 September, 11:15 – 13:15

This session will present a paper and seek feedback on its claims. The paper examines trade policymaking processes to date in the multilateral trading system in order to identify the main actors and stakeholders involved, their complementarities and differences. The role of the main actors and stakeholders in achieving free trade is examined to identify gaps that have hindered achievement of free trade. Given that there are no standardized trade policy-making processes, trade policymaking process in developing economies with specific reference to Kenya will be compared to those of other selected emerging and leading world economies.


Session 27: South-South Cooperation and Regional Integration: A gender Perspective
Organizer: International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

The objetives of this session are:

  • Present a critique to the development model conceived under the context of the Washington Consensus, especially to its processes of trade and investment liberalization, including the WTO negotiations, the proliferation of bilateral or sub-regional and the financialization of the world economy;
  • Provide a South-South perspective; and
  • Identify the main future challenges in trade and economic policies as well as in political terms to the international women's movements.


Session 32: Why GATS Commitments and GATS Rules are Essential for Increasing Trade in Services into the Future?
Organizer: European Services Forum
Date: Thursday 25 September, 16:30 – 18:30

The objectives of the session are:

  • to show the importance that service companies give to GATS Commitments, and their preference to the WTO global schedule of commitments;
  • to show that services companies favour multilateral rules that are applied globally and to all competitors instead of domestic rules or bilateral regimes;
  • to demonstrate support for a multilateral WTO dispute settlement system that offers fair and transparent interpretation and application of agreements;
  • and to discuss why GATS-related technical assistance for developing countries could be a tool for to help attract the investments in infrastructure services that are necessary for sustainable development.


Session 33: The Duty-Free and Quota-Free Market Access Decision: Challenges and Opportunities
Organizer: WTO Secretariat - Development Division
Date: Thursday 25 September, 14:15 – 16:15

This session will discuss several challenges that must be tackled before LDCs can fully realize the benefits of the enhanced market access opportunities offered by a Duty Free and Quota Free regime. These challenges raise larger questions within the development debate about how LDCs can gain from the greater market access opportunities if they increase their domestic production capacities and have the capacity to fulfil increasingly burdensome export requirements.


Session 35: A GSP for Services: An Essential Tool or a Gimmick?
Organizer: Agency for International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 14:15 – 16:15

The objective of the session is to give an opportunity to representatives from a preference-granting country, an LDC, a non-LDC developing country and an international financial institution to consider together the legal mechanisms for development that can possibly be used and their respective merits. The session will address the following questions:

  • What kind of legal mechanisms can be used?
  • Should Special and Differential Treatment benefit LDCs only?
  • Is an approach similar to the Enabling Clause and the GSP for trade in goods conceivable for trade in services?


Session 39: Small and Medium Size Exporters in Developing Countries: Expectations from WTO in the Emerging Global Trading Environment
Organizer: International Trade Centre (ITC)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 14:15 – 16:15

During the session, the business community will reflect on the WTO's role in dealing with emerging issues such as:

  • non-tariff measures, including the proliferation of private standards, which may assume even more significance pursuant to the climate change debate;
  • regionalism and bilateralism;
  • facilitating trade in services.


Session 42: Russia, Central Asia and Caucasus (CIS) and the WTO: Challenges and Opportunities
Organizer: Eco-Accord
Date: Thursday 25 September, 16:30 – 18:30

This session aims to:

  • provide discussion on the way forward for the multilateral system from the perspective of the Russia, Central Asia and Caucasus region;
  • offer perspective on the specific problems related to WTO accession facing economies in transition from this region;
  • analyze the challenges that newly acceded countries from this region face with implementation of WTO rules and at the negotiations taking place.

 

3. Sub-theme III: Ways Forward for the Multilateral Trading System

The sessions dealing with this theme will contribute towards identifying practical and effective ways forward for the multilateral trading system in order to deal with the main challenges facing the trading system today.

Session 2: Six Decades of Multilateral Trade Cooperation: The Way Forward
Organizer: WTO Secretariat - Economic Research and Statistics Division
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 14:00 – 16:00

This panel looks into the future with regard to systematic analysis of the challenges facing
the trading system today and in the years to come. It will address the following questions:

  • What are the main challenges facing the multilateral trading system today and in the future?
  • How has the participation of developing countries in the GATT/WTO evolved and what are the prospects for the future?
  • How might agenda formation at the WTO be addressed in the future?
  • How to strike the right balance between inclusiveness and efficiency in the decision-making process as it has evolved from the GATT tothe WTO?
  • How should regionalism be addressed in the future?


Session 4: Making Future Trade Policy Relevant to Future Trade Reality
Organizer: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 16:15 – 18:15

The questions tackled in this session are the following:

  • How does the fragmentation of production chains affect trade policy aims and requirements?
  • How has Asia used this fragmentation to integrate into the world economy? What lessons can be learned from this experience?
  • How is the trade of the future thus being shaped? What will be the key trade policy issues of the future?
  • What are the priorities for business within today’s global trading structure, and how do they relate to trade policy priorities?
  • What needs to happen at the WTO in order to maintain the relevance of trade policy to trade reality?


Session 9: Markets for Raw Material and Energy – What Role for the WTO?
Organizer: BUSINESSEUROPE
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 14:00 – 16:00

Securing a level playing field for access to raw materials is a high priority for diverse and interdependent industries around the world. However, trade and investment restrictions are on the rise, and this especially affects the flow of critical resources from areas like the Ukraine, Russia, China, the Gulf States and from some African countries. The discussion will address the question of access to fossil, mineral and renewable raw materials, and what role the WTO can and should play in order to reduce trade distortion.


Session 12: Building Sustainable Commodity Chains in Africa
Organizer: The Rainforest Alliance
Date: Wednesday 24 September, 16:15 – 18: 15

Drawing on experiences in East and West Africa, specifically in the tea and cocoa commodity markets, this session will address the following questions:

  • How can NGOs in their partnerships with producers and buyers work to protect biodiversity, conserve natural resources, improve the lives of farmers, their families and workers, and promote sustainable agriculture?
  • How can natural resource protection converge with the interests of both businesses and farmers?
  • What has the effect been of Rainforest Alliance Certification for farmers in Africa to date, environmentally, socially, and economically?
  • How are standards for Sustainable Agriculture set in a way that is transparent, credible, and relevant to international trade?


Session 13: The Food Price Explosion: What Can the WTO Do?
Organizer: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

In order to contribute to the debate around the multilateral system's role both in mitigating the food price crisis and in supporting future food security and sustainable development, this session will explore the following questions:

  • What are the causes of the current price increases?
  • What have been the impacts of multilateral trade rules on developing countries' production capacities in the past two decades?
  • Which multilateral trade rules are needed to address the causes of the crisis?
  • How should WTO members work together towards crafting this new set of trade rules?


Session 16: World Food Crisis: Are Trade Rules a Problem or a Way Forward?
Organizer: National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) on Trade Regulation, The World Trade Institute (WTI), ICTSD
Date: Thursday 25 September, 11:15 – 13:15

In the context of the world agricultural regime and food markets in turmoil, this session addresses the following questions:

  • How do present trade rules increase or decrease food security in both import-dependent and other developing countries?
  • What is the impact on food security and food aid of present WTO rules and mechanisms, such as the relevant provisions in the Agreement on Agriculture and other WTO Agreements, of the ongoing DDA negotiations, and of rules and principles in other international organisations?
  • What are the compatibilities and incompatibilities of various stakeholder interests in this issue?


Session 18: What Future for Global Economic Governance – Potential Role of the WTO?
Organizer: CUTS International, Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung — Geneva, The Evian Group at IMD — Lausanne
Date: Thursday 25 September, 11:15 - 13:15

This session proposes civil society dialogue to identify the role of the WTO in the global
economic governance system and to evaluate how it could become more development-
enhancing. The session will address the following questions:

  • What is the impact of the Doha Round and its stalemates on LDCs and their prospects for enhanced and beneficial participation in world trade?
  • What could the shape be of future global economic governance and what is the WTO’s role therein?
  • What should the scope be of cooperation between developed and developing countries under the Aid for Trade initiative in order to strengthen the link between trade, growth and poverty reduction?


Session 21: Trade Facilitation – Impossible without Facilitating Logistics
Organizer: International Road Transport Union (IRU), FIATA, ICS, GEA and UN-ECE
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

Considering that transport barriers limit the benefits of the WTO’s efforts to open markets and may inhibit economic development, this session will discuss how conditions of the physical movement of traded goods can be improved in the context of the WTO trade facilitation efforts, duly considering other regulatory schemes governing international transport and logistics. The session will highlight that trade facilitation does not work alone if unaccompanied by the facilitation of logistical activities. Possible remedies within the scope of trade and transport facilitation will be tackled.


Session 25: Trade and Development Policy for the 21st Century: Towards a Southern Consensus
Organizer: Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), Tufts University Medford Research Centre for Economic Change (CENIT) — Argentina
Date: Thursday 25 September, 9:00 – 11:00

One of the challenges facing the WTO is to make trade governance more relevant for the process of development. Trade rules should facilitate developing countries' ability to build competitive productive capacities and to take full advantage of the opportunities created by liberalization. The objective of this session is to discuss the policy challenges for building productive capacities in developing countries and to address the question of how trade rules can be made consistent with development policies.


Session 28: Five Years from the Decision to Action – Is the 2003 August Decision “The Expeditious” Solution for Access to Medicines We Need?
Organizer: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) — Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Date: Thursday 25 September, September, 11:15 – 13:15

Access to medicines for developing countries continues to be a struggle, illustrated by the price increase of newer medicines and antiretroviral drugs. This session will discuss how compulsory licensing plays a role in today’s procurement of essential medicines and in particular will examine whether the 2003 August Decision is indeed the expeditious solution it promised to be.


Session 30: Forging New Comparative Advantage: Industrial Policies' Revival and the Potential Clash with WTO Disciplines?
Organizer: The World Bank Group
Date: Thursday 25 September, 16:30 – 18:30

The panel will focus on the challenges and opportunities for developing and emerging economies regarding multilateral industrial policy, and will discuss the following questions:

  • Are market failures susceptible to government intervention?
  • Do WTO disciplines prevent governments from adopting pro-active policies to remedy the most important market failures, to stimulate export growth and support structural change?
  • What types of institutional arrangements can be adopted to lower the probability of failure and ensure the highest probability of success?


Session 34: The Warwick Commission Report on the Future of the Multilateral Trade System: Strategies for Implementation
Organizer: University of Warwick
Date: Thursday 25 September, 16:30 – 18:30

In December 2007, the Warwick Commission report, ‘The Multilateral Trade Regime: Which Way Forward?’ was launched at the WTO. A stocktaking exercise for problems facing the governance of the global trade system, the report offered recommendations for both systemic reform and specific WTO reform. The aim of this session is to allow for further scrutiny of the Report’s recommendations by a Geneva audience and to explore if and how those recommendations might be taken forward. Panelists will give presentations on three key areas of the report:

  • agenda setting and decision-making at the WTO;
  • trade and development, especially on the issue of Aid for Trade;
  • the challenges for multilateralism posed by the growth of regional “preferentialism”.


Session 36: Environmental Trade: Leveraging Trade-Related Policy Toward Sound Environmental Governance
Organizer: ENTWINED Research Consortium
Date: Thursday 25 September, 16:30 – 18:30

Increasing diversity of production landscapes and competing policy jurisdictions have led policy makers to choose trade related instruments to ensure that economic prosperity is accomplished in accordance with the objectives of sustainable development. Many policy makers, however, still steer away from trade-related measures for implementing environmental policy with the fear that either such policies may be ineffective or they would be subject to legal challenge under the WTO. This session will set forth the case as to when and why such measures make sense economically, while uncovering the many concrete opportunities and strategies available for building effective and WTO compliant trade-related environmental policy.


Session 38: International Trade and Poverty: Proposals to Make the Benefits of International Trade Reach the Most Excluded Sectors in Latin America
Organizer: Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Social (CIES, Peru) and Centro de Implementación de Políticas Publicas Para La Equidad y El Crecimiento (CIPPEC, Argentina)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 16:30 – 18:30

The main objective of this session is to discuss policy options that can help the benefits of international trade reach the most socially excluded and poorest sectors in the region.

The guiding questions for this panel will be:

  • How can international trade become a tool for poverty reduction in the context of grave inequality?
  • How can an effective pro-poor focus be included in the implementation processes of free trade agreements?
  • Which good international practices related to design and implementation of complementary trade policies are relevant for the region?


Session 41: Research and Construction of Capacity In Trade Negotiations
Organizer: Latin American Trade Network (LATN) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Date: Thursday 25 September, 14:15 – 16:15

This session addresses selected experiences of developing countries in building research capacity to modify the status-quo and move the knowledge-based policy discussion to a current level, according to the rapid changes operating in the global economy. The issues and questions selected for discussion are the following:

  • How formal linkages between policymakers, stakeholders and researchers do conveyed pro-poor concerns into the trade policy making process?
  • What is the influence of research in coalition politics?
  • How do the G20 and the G33 trade coalitions use research to deal with both extra and intra-coalition politics?
  • How do coalitions make use of research to influence the agenda-setting?
  • How can research be used internally –explicitly or covertly– to facilitate consensus-building within a coalition?
  • How does policy making influence research?

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