Trade at Work ľ Making the case for trade

If there is one thing on which economists around the world generally agree, it is that open trade can be an engine for economic growth. However, in developed countries there is increasing anti-trade rhetoric and a growing perception that the costs of globalization exceed its benefits. In response to this, the WTO is launching a campaign – entitled Trade at Work – to make the case for trade.

On 1 December 2016, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo will officially launch the campaign at an event held at the headquarters of the WTO. The keynote speakers will include Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center in Washington D.C.

The event will see the launch of a new publication – "Five Ways We Gain from Trade (and how those gains can be spread more widely)". The publication highlights that as consumers, workers and ordinary citizens, we gain from trade in at least five important ways:

  • greater economic growth and rising living standards
  • lower costs for goods and services and more choice for consumers 
  • positive impact on real income overall
  • new markets and increased earnings for smaller businesses
  • poverty reduction and a means of addressing social and environmental concerns.


Featured video

Imagine inclusive trade


Lecture series

In the run-up to the launch of the campaign, the WTO will begin a series of talks at the WTO's headquarters given by experts in the area of trade, technology, inequality and labour markets.

21 November, 10:00 to 11:30

  • Lucian Cernat, Chief Economist, DG Trade, European Commission
  • Professor Torben Andersen, Aarhus University

Mr Cernat and Professor Andersen will present findings on the effectiveness of trade-specific and general labour market adjustment policies.

Mr Cernat will discuss the European Globalization Fund, a mechanism to finance trade adjustment programmes in EU member countries. With almost 20 years of experience in the trade policy field, he is in charge of economic advice on EU trade policy. He is a frequent speaker at high-level events and his publications are quoted in leading international journals.

Professor Andersen  will discuss Flexicurity, the Danish integrated strategy for enhancing flexibility and security in the labour market, in relation to trade and globalization. He is a respected authority on the programme and has published widely on the success of the Nordic model. For many years, he has also been advising governments on how to improve their labour market adjustment policies.

12 December, 14:30 to 15:30


  • Professor David Dorn, University of Zürich

Professor Dorn will give a non-technical presentation on the impact of trade and technology on workers in developed economies and discuss relevant findings in this field. He is the co-author of the influential study The China Shock: Learning from Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade and a series of papers that assess the impact of import competition from China on labour markets in the United States. His findings have had a significant influence on the political debate surrounding trade in the United States and Europe.

20 December, 10:00 to 11:00


  • Professor Eric Verhoogen, Columbia University, New York

Professor Verhoogen will make a non-technical presentation on the topic of trade, the exports wage premium and inequality. He has published several seminal studies in leading journals on the effect that trade has on wage inequality in the context of developing economies. He is also the Vice Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs and the Co-Director of the Center for Development Economics and Policy at Columbia University in New York City.