This year's Public Forum is particularly special as we are marking the 20th anniversary of the WTO. With the theme Trade Works, the Forum will be an opportunity to discuss and assess the contribution that 20 years of global cooperation in the WTO has made to the strength and stability of the world economy. We will be focusing on how trade works through the multilateral system to boost growth, lift people out of poverty, increase access to goods and medicines, and promote peaceful, mutually-beneficial relationships between nations. Looking forward to the next 20 years, we will also be looking at those areas where trade can work better and where the WTO can do more.
Trade works! This is an indisputable fact. Trade fosters growth, development and poverty reduction. It helps developing and least-developed countries integrate further into the global economy. Trade also promotes investments and innovation. It allows countries to design public health and environment protection policies. It protects intellectual property. It contributes to building better synergies between countries' production needs and agriculture capacity. Trade works for the most vulnerable, for women from poor and marginalized communities, leading to improvements in their lives and livelihoods. Trade can play a role in reducing inequalities by cutting the cost of living. The prices on food or clothing are affected by trade policies. And above all, trade works because it provides political and economic stability, as Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his book Democracy in America: Trade is the natural enemy of all violent passions. But not all countries are on an equal footing. Some of them do not have a seat at the development table. What makes trade work for some countries and not for others? How have some countries figured out the trade recipe and others not?
More than 9,000 representatives from NGOs, civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliamentarians and inter-governmental organizations have attended the Public Forum since it was first launched in 2001.
More on previous Public Forums
Public Forum 2015
OPENING PLENARY DEBATE: Making Trade Work More Inclusively
Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of The Netherlands (keynote)
• Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kenya (keynote)
Yuejiao Zhang, Appellate Body Member
Susan Schwab, Former USTR
Anabel Gonzαlez, Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group
Moderator: Lerato Mbele, journalist at BBC Africa
BOOK LAUNCH: WTO Accessions and Trade Multilateralism: Case Studies and Lessons from the WTO at Twenty
What have WTO accessions contributed to the rules-based multilateral trading system? What demands have been made by original WTO members on acceding governments? How have the acceding governments fared? This volume of essays offers critical readings on how WTO accession negotiations have expanded the reach of the multilateral trading system not only geographically but also conceptually, clarifying disciplines and pointing the way to their further strengthening in future negotiations. Members who have acceded since the WTO was established now account for twenty per cent of total WTO membership. In the age of globalization there is an increased need for a universal system of trade rules. Accession negotiations have been used by governments as an instrument for domestic reforms, and one lesson from the accession process is that there are contexts which lead multilateral trade negotiations to successful outcomes even in the complex and multi-polar twenty-first century economic environment.
Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kenya
Uri Dadush, Co-Editor, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Kim Hughes, Senior Commissioning Editor, Cambridge University Press
Moderator: Chiedu Osakwe, Co-Editor, Director, Accessions Division
Chiedu Osakwe, Director of the WTO Accessions Division and co-editor of “WTO Accessions and Trade Multilateralism: Case Studies and Lessons from the WTO at Twenty”, presented this book and thanked the high-level panel for their participation at the launch.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo thanked the 54 contributors for sharing their knowledge and practical experience in WTO accessions. He noted that if there was an area in which the WTO could claim success, it would be accessions. Further to this point, he noted that over 20% of WTO members are Article XII members. He acknowledged several accessions landmarks and commended Saudi Arabia on the 10th anniversary of its membership. He concluded that WTO accessions are the "health-check" of the Organization. He highlighted the role of accessions in facilitating domestic reform, boosting economic growth and strengthening the rule of law.
Amina Mohamed, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, commented that Africa is ready to contribute to the strengthening of the multilateral trading system and commended Liberia for its efforts to accede to the WTO. She expressed her pleasure at the imminent adoption of Liberia's Accession Protocol to the WTO at the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the WTO, scheduled for Nairobi in December 2015. She mentioned that 20 years of accession evidenced that Article XII members performed better than original members, and that WTO accession is a tool of good governance and poverty reduction. She concluded that the results from accession negotiations demonstrated that the WTO can deliver and should deliver even more at Nairobi.
Uri Dadush from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and co-editor of the book pointed out that the focus of the book is not on the WTO accession process per se, but chiefly on the outcomes. Accession negotiations resulted in rules clarification and enhanced trade performance. Furthermore, the WTO benefits from each accession as they have a "network effect" on the multilateral trading system. He added that accessions provided a platform for the most active negotiating agenda in world trade and acknowledged that the process could be improved and streamlined.
Kim Hughes from Cambridge University Press noted that the WTO – Cambridge publishing partnership began in 1995 and has resulted in a great number of publications. She pointed out the remarkable number of contributors made this one of the largest Cambridge – WTO publications in history. She concluded that the book provides a fascinating snapshot on why accessions negotiations could fail, stall or succeed.
Working session 1: WTO Accessions, the Trading System and the Global Economy
Organiser: WTO Accession Division
'The results from WTO accession negotiations have had profound and far reaching effects on the rules-based Multilateral Trading System. Results have served to update WTO rules across the board, improved market access and, provided a framework for the management of the geopolitical dynamics underpinning several accessions negotiations, while acceding governments have used the 360° degree accession negotiations as an instrument to support and sustain their domestic reforms. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo will launch the book: "WTO Accessions and Trade Multilateralism: Case Studies and Lessons for the WTO at Twenty". The launch will be followed by a high-level panel on "WTO Accessions, the Trading System and the Global Economy". Invited panellists are H.E. Ms Amina Mohamed, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya; H.E. Mr. Andrey Slepnev, Minister for Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission; Mr. Bernard Hoekman, European University Institute Florence; Anabel Gonzαlez, World Bank; Mr. Alexei Kireyev, International Monetary Fund.
Bernard Hoekman, Robert Schuman Chair Research Area Director "Global Economics", EUI Florence
Andrey Slepnev, Minister for Trade, Eurasian Economic Commission
Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign, Affairs and International Trade, Kenya
Anabel González, Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group
Alexei Kireyev, Senior Economist International, Monetary Fund
David Shark, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Yi Xiaozhun, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Moderator: Mark Linscott, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs
The panel described how twenty years of WTO accessions have contributed to strengthening the rules-based multilateral trading system through increased stability, openness and predictability in world trade, not to mention improved global governance.
WTO accessions play a major role in underpinning domestic reforms. The panel touched upon the role of global institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in helping countries sustain those reforms to increase their competitiveness.
Africa's growing population brings opportunities for development and growth for the continent as well as challenges like increased social and economic infrastructures. One way to help realize Africa's potential is for trade to flow more freely across borders – an objective enshrined in the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Working session 2: Supply chains and labour standards: How do we get trade to work for all?
Supply chains is the way trade works nowadays. UNCTAD has shown that such supply chains (intra-firm or inter-firm trade) shaped by transnational enterprises account for some 80% of global trade. However, the profits of major companies are driven by low wage levels unsafe working conditions and environmental degradation. Trade works in an inequitable manner and its benefits do not trickle down to those on the bottom or the middle of supply chains.
In view of the ILO discussion on supply chains in 2016, the international trade union movement has developed proposals on how to end corporate greed and reshape global supply chains in a way that respect for human and trade union rights is guaranteed and workplace safety is respected.
Olivier de Schutter, Professor, Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium and College of Europe
Elissa Braunstein, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD
Neil Howard, Marie Curie Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre in the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies
Moderator: Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary
Sharan Burrow of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) moderated the discussion. In her opening remarks, she highlighted that trade cannot be only about business and profit: it should also address environmental issues, inequality and, most important, the hidden work force employed in supply chains. She stated that the current trade model (a model she perceived as favouring businesses) needs rule of law, transparency, institutions and governments that prioritise their citizens along with labour's fundamental rights. In her view, the current system cannot ensure these considerations, and thus needs to be revisited.
Oliver de Schutter of the Unviersité Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and the College of Europe focused on explaining how trade and labour issues can be linked by connecting labour rights to trade policies. For example, he noted the option of imposing tariffs on products from countries that do not comply with labour rights, or introducing labelling schemes for such products.
The panel also highlighted the importance of transitioning from the informal to the formal economy in order to fight hidden work forces subject to different rules, and to ensure decent working conditions for all.
Elissa Braunstein of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) focused on global value chains (GVCs) and related challenges, particularly in terms of economic and social upgrading. These challenges include: the increasing power of large suppliers in large emerging economies; productivity gains used to gain price advantages rather than wage increases; insecurity; inequality; and the integration of women into the system, as most of women labour is concentrated at the bottom of value chain. In her opinion, the positive figures of economic growth and development are mostly due to financial-ization, not trade and GVCs. In closing, she urged for global coordination on workers' rights.
During the ensuing discussion open to all attendees, business representatives argued that while they respect and comply with fundamental labour rights, the integration of labour rights into trade or trade agreements must be done carefully because trade cannot always deal with such issues. These representatives asserted that domestic authorities were the correct parties to handle such issues, and that capacity building in poor countries could go very far in helping to remedy the issues (examples of Cambodia and the Philippines were provided). The discussion reiterated that GVCs do contribute to countries' development and consequently the improvement of working conditions. They also stated that the process of improving labour standards is ongoing, but that it will take time to complete.
The panellists disagreed with the views presented by the business community, and concluded by stating that labour rights, particularly in GVCs, must be revisited, and that the challenges of the fundamental rights and trading system must be tackled through collaborative efforts.
Working session 3: Using Trade Agreements to Solve Issues Affecting Trade in Agricultural Goods
Organiser: FAO and TILPA (law firm specialised in international trade and investment)
This session is about solving trade barriers affecting agricultural goods. A governmental barrier to trade affects producers (from SMEs to multinational companies), which request involvement by its government (agricultural experts). Tools available to address such trade issues include the WTO and regional trade agreements. The session covers:
The kind of problems faced by companies and governments when facing a trade barrier (labelling, SPS, taxation, among others)
Case studies solving a trade barrier (successful and unsuccessful)
Mechanisms available in the WTO and in regional trade agreements
Requirement of national teams to prepare their positions and convey requests in order to improve access to markets
The importance of inter-governmental coordination and capacity development for officials and the private sector involved in resolving trade issues
Jorge Goldman Huerta, Managing Director, TILPA, Trade & Investment Law
Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD
Marco Tulio Molina, Minister Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO, Mission of Guatemala to the WTO
Juan Millan, Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Monitoring & Enforcement, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Moderator: Ekaterina Krivonos, Economist, Food and Agriculture Organization
Ekaterina Krivonos from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) introduced the topic at hand: the role of WTO agreements in the agricultural sector. She mentioned that the Doha Development Agenda is still a constraint for developing countries because of inequalities in implementation of the agreements. Market access is a large challenge for agriculture. The aim of this multilateral discussion is to understand how countries trading agricultural goods can benefit from trade agreements.
Jorge Goldman Huerta from TILPA (International Trade and Investment Law) addressed the question of “how big is the cake?”, or how many agreements are applied to trade in agricultural goods. He listed the following WTO agreements: first, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); second, the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM); third, the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT); fourth, the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS); fifth, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); sixth, the Anti-Dumping Agreement (AD Agreement); and seventh, the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA). Mr Huerta reflected on special provisions of free-trade agreements, partial agreements and measures to facilitate trade in agricultural goods, concluding by noting that their overall impact is fragmented.
Juan Millen from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) underscored the importance of market access as opposed to the Dispute Settlement Body (only 20% of total requests to the WTO are addressed to the DSB). Enforcement of existing agreements is the key area of USTR work. The number of issues raised in the Agriculture and SPS Committees has constantly risen since 2009, therefore he estimated that the agreements need to be enforced. Mr Millen also touched upon the role of governments in reforming agriculture-related strategies. He noted the following points for action: first, internal and external assessment; second, evaluation of exported products; and third, financial resourcing and profit targeting. Mr Millen asserted the view that problems in agriculture trade must be addressed through internal government coordination. One possible solution mentioned is the establishment of trade-related inquiry points to solicit and diffuse information among private and public stakeholders. He also recommended reinforcing bilateral relations with trading partners,
Marco Tulio Molina of the Guatemalan Mission to the WTO discussed challenges in using trade agreements. He pointed to the lack of internal procedures and budgetary resources to maximize the benefits of rules-based agriculture trade. Small and medium-sized enterprises face challenges in complying with export standards. Therefore, capacity building related to measures under the agreements, especially SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) measures, is necessary to ensure benefits of trade in agricultural products. The challenge is in the identification of the problem (for example, SPS issues) and finding a corresponding agreement instrument.
Guillermo Valles of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) provided statistics on disputes in agriculture. Overall, the agricultural issues raised are mainly non-tariff measures, with SPS and TBT the most prevalent categories. The legal base of non-tariff measures provides yet another impediment to trade.
During discussion, a representative of an East African farmers' organization argued that developed countries have created unfair conditions under which the developing world must decrease agriculture subsidies. An audience member queried whether antidumping measures would be strictly applied in developing countries. Mr Valles responded that no distinctions were made between developing and developed countries in the Uruguay Round. He also suggested that agricultural policy implementation should be resolved at the national level. A comment from the floor pointed to the fact that the FAO's work on the ground and its direct support of rural farmers has decreased. Ms Krivonos responded that the FAO is still equally engaged in a number of projects on inclusive agriculture as well as capacity building programmes for rural farmers.
The question on the role of political systems in the application of trade agreements was controversial in the context of the negotiation on free trade in agriculture goods.
Participants unanimously agreed that clarifying existing obligations under various trade agreements could reduce the number of disputes in agriculture.
Working session 4: Industrial policies and WTO rules: old and new challenges to multilateralism
Organiser: Centro de Estudos de Integraηγo e Desenvolvimento (CINDES) and
BRICS Policy Center (BPC)
The Session will address (i) the main trends in industrial policies in developed as well as developing countries (objectives, rationale, instruments); and (ii) the challenges that the proliferation of industrial policy measures raise for the multilateral trade system in the context of the existing rules ; (iii) issues to be addressed to balance the objectives of disciplining trade distorting industrial policies and allowing countries to respond to legitimate non trade concerns.
The questions to be addressed in the Working Session will include:
Where the debate on policy space has led us?
Which are the new main trends in industrial policies, in developed and developing countries?
How these new trends relate to old ones, in terms of objectives, instruments etc.?
Are existing multilateral disciplines adequate to deal with new challenges in this policy area?
How to balance, in the new context, the objectives of disciplining trade distorting industrial policies and allowing countries to respond to legitimate non trade concerns?
Jan Bohanes, Advisory Centre on WTO Law
Johannes Schwarzer, Council on Economic Policies
Peter Draper, Tutwa Consulting
Leane Naidin, BRICS Policy Center
Pedro da Motta Veiga, Centro de Estudos de Integração e Desenvolvimento
The session had as its aim the examination of how industrial policies are affected by WTO rules, and whether those rules should be changed to allow countries more policy space. This examination was conducted in the light of four emerging trends:
1. Climate change and green industrial policies
2. The rise of global value chains (GVCs)
3. Growing role of services trade in the economy
4. The emergence of China as the major manufacture centre and its use of state-owned enterprises.
Johannes Schwarzer from the Council on Economic Policies took note of the resurgence of the debate on the use of industrial policies, particularly the need for countries to develop a green economy. He underscored the difficulty of compiling a single definition of what constituted industrial policies, and of evaluating their impact. Past experience proves instructive. First, transparency matters. In concert, one must set performance targets and review the achievement of these targets. Second, evidence of the benefits of trade protection is inconclusive. Third, trade promotion is an important add-on which allows industrial policies to achieve their objectives. Fourth, foreign direct investment (FDI) mostly flows into growing sectors, so it is difficult to provide incentives for FDI in nascent industries. Fifth, sectors that should be favoured by industrial policies are those that have the most links to other sectors in the economy. He concluded that these lessons must be heeded to develop a green economy, since the green industrial sector is plagued by market failures and would benefit from government intervention.
Jan Bohannes from the Advisory Centre on WTO Law said that it was unrealistic in the current negotiating climate of the WTO to expect any changes in structure of the main rules that affect industrial policies (the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM), and the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS)). In any case, changes were not necessary or advisable for several reasons. First, some of these policies are horizontal and economy-wide, and therefore not covered by the SCM Agreement. Second, members are reluctant to challenge domestic subsidies, and in reality the use of countervailing measures is relatively low. Third, least-developed countries and some developing countries enjoy an exception from the export subsidy prohibition. Fourth, any changes to provide more flexibilities on the use of subsidies would mostly benefit richer countries. Fifth, it may be better to use waivers to cover some specific measures. Sixth, the prohibition of subsidies based on local content requirements may be economically justified. Seventh and finally, green subsidies are hardly ever used only for environmental reasons - they can also be protectionist.
Leane Naidin from the BRICS Policy Centre commented on Brazil's experience with the use of industrial policies. She said that these policies had been mostly used in the 1980s, with some success. They fell out of favour, and were dismantled in the 1990s and 2000s. Since 2004, amid concerns about deindustrialization, the issue again garnered some interest. However, multilateral and mostly domestic constraints have meant that there has been little in the way of concrete measures adopted. This is probably for the best since the rise of GVCs has changed the role of industrial policies. At the multilateral level, any change in the rules could generate a subsidy race that would benefit those countries that have financial capacity to the detriment of the poorest.
Peter Draper from Tutwa Consulting presented the South African perspective. He estimated that a combination of horizontal and vertical policies were more effective than just sectoral ones. Still, he underscored that there is little consensus that industrial policies work. The rise of GVCs is a key development: it put at the forefront the issue of who captures most of the value, and how to move it up the chain. Institutions are also fundamental in the implementation of any development policies. Governments need capacity to identify those industries that have better chances of success and that would provide the greatest benefit to the overall economy. Weak institutions also risk the policies being captured by narrow interests. When it comes to using policies such as raising tariffs, this should not be done on intermediate goods as it could affect downstream producers and hurt integration into GVCs. He concluded by saying that in the future the WTO can only move forward in rulemaking to address these new challenges on the basis of critical mass and plurilateral agreements.
Working session 5: Are Intellectual Property Rights in Trade Working for You
Organiser: U.S. Chamber of Commerces Global Intellectual Property Center
What was once a blip on the trade radar, intellectual property rights are now a major component and consideration in all modern-day trade agreements. Join us for a discussion on the evolution of IP rights in modern trade and how robust IP rules are working for patients, consumers, businesses, and the economies. High-standard IP rights in global trade break down barriers and spread the benefits of access medicines and technologies as well as advance high-paying jobs, foster domestic innovation, and attract foreign direct investment.
Patrick Kilbride, Executive Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center
Andrew Spiegel, Esq, Executive Director, Global Colon Cancer Association
Stan McCoy, President & Managing Director, Motion Picture Association EMEA
Salvador Behar Lavalle, Legal Counsel for International Trade, Embassy of Mexico
The panellists provided views on the world of intellectual property (IP) from the perspectives of the public sector, the private sector and consumers.
Studies show that countries from all over the world have very different levels of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. IP is a sovereign policy choice and therefore every country approaches it differently.
In the last twenty years, all markets have seen huge changes, including the digital and the theatrical markets, as well as drugs, which have impacted people the world over. In countries with strong IP protection, drugs are available much earlier than in those with weak IP protection. Films are generally made in international collaborations, and are often not produced at all if IP protection is not guaranteed. Businesses are wary of entering markets with weak IP protection.
Innovation should not be taken for granted. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) sets an important minimal standard, and provides the necessary legal security for businesses. Since TRIPS was concluded twenty years ago, the standards set at that time may now be increased.
Protection should be improved on both the national and international levels. Since many countries face similar "viruses" (e.g. piracy), the best system can be created only in collaboration with each other. Political will is absolutely necessary to introduce changes and improvements. All existing tools should be used to advance the system: a multilateral setting, multilateral agreements and structural reforms.
The greatest challenges facing IPRs are to explore how to maximise innovative output and maximize access to innovation; how to connect entrepreneurs with investors; how to increase the role of science and research; how best to incentivise investors and therewith guide research and development in the necessary directions; and how to balance the interests of various stakeholders.
Workshop 1: International Trade: What works for consumers?
Organiser: Consumers' International
Consumers make trade work. But how does trade work for them? Trade negotiations increasingly address new areas of policy making that have a profound effect on consumers. Yet the consumer voice is rarely heard in trade negotiations. Workshop participants will discuss and develop a practical agenda that responds to current trade issues and ensures that consumers are at the heart of trade. In developing this positive consumer agenda for trade, a special focus will be placed on food and health, digital issues and services. Questions to be discussed are: What would trade negotiations and agreements look like if they focused on the needs and concerns of consumers? How can the consumer voice be heard in trade negotiations? If consumers had a place at the table to provide input to and comment on the development of trade agreements and policy, trade could work even better!
Guillermo Valles, Director, Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, UNCTAD
Sophia Murphy, Senior Advisor, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Phil Evans, Inquiry Chairman, UK Competition and Markets Authority
Hildegunn Kyvik Nordås, Senior Trade Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Moderator: Justin Macmullan, Head of Advocacy and Campaigns, Consumers International
Nowadays, trade is more focused on consumers because of their engagement with trade on a daily basis, for instance, when making online purchases or purchases abroad. Nevertheless, this relationship has not been addressed to its full extent. Moreover, a positive consumer policy agenda would be a very valuable component in the multilateral trading system.
Guillermo Valles of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) stressed the importance of hard law and soft law in the multilateral trading system. In order to strengthen the link between trade and consumers it is necessary to: first, use the new sustainable development agenda; second, strengthen trust in the tools provided by the multilateral system and by other international agreements; and third, use soft law that is at our disposal.
Hildegunn Kyvik Nordås from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) referred to the importance of the link between trade and consumers, due to the use of Internet and telecommunications. She underscored the importance of efficient rules for e-commerce so as to protect intellectual property rights and consumers. She also referred to the importance of efficient rules for consumer protection in general, taking into account the potential trade barriers that these rules may impose.
Sophia Murphy from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy focused on food security, nutrition and food trade stability. She was of the view that the main challenge for the WTO is to strengthen the link between the WTO, its members and consumers. She also noted that another important challenge is to enhance trust in the WTO system, in particular through soft law. Other challenges included private standards, consumer information and nutrition, competition law, so as to address concentration of wealth, and the integration of trade in other policies.
Phil Evans from the UK Competition and Markets Authority referred to globalization and how it enhances the relationship between trade and consumers. He asked two important questions. First, how do we explain the benefits of the WTO to new generations (consumers)? He suggested pointing out the trade barriers that consumers encounter on a daily basis, and explaining how these can be addressed by the WTO and other international entities. Mr Evans' second question was about how to disrupt negotiations to get consumers engaged? Unfortunately there was not enough time to fully address this question.
Working session 6: What Should Trade Rules Be to Make Trade Work?
Organiser: Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) and LDC Watch
The next few months and the upcoming Ministerial in Nairobi will determine the fate of the Doha mandate, including the development issues long demanded by developing countries to address asymmetries and imbalances in the existing WTO rules, particularly regarding agriculture and Special and Differential Treatment (SDT). Priorities for Nairobi – such as the agreement among WTO members to find a permanent solution for food security – will be highlighted. The implications of services liberalization under a potential GATS expansion and the NAMA negotiations for industrial policy and the creation of Decent Work must also be addressed. Many WTO members, however, seem to be seeking to abandon the core mandate in favour of a new market access agenda – what are their real intentions? Many in civil society are calling for a turnaround in the direction of the WTO negotiations towards the needs of the poor to make trade rules work for them, as well as in the public interest. This session will provide up-to-the-minute news on the current dynamics and a direction for the current negotiations.
Frederick Njehu, Programme Advisor, Trade Justice; Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kenya
Jane Nalunga, Country Director; Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute, Uganda
Sanya Reid Smith, Legal Adviser; Third World Network, Geneva
Daniel Bertossa, Director, Policy and Governance, Public Services International
Deborah James, Director of International Programs, Center for Economic and Policy Research, US; and Our World Is Not for Sale
Aileen Kwa, Coordinator, Trade for Development Programme, South Centre, Geneva
The panellists began by discussing where multilateral trade negotiations are in respect to the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, and where they should be. They estimated that the negotiations should focus on the Doha Development Agenda, and in particular the question of domestic support, which was deemed to be the "elephant in the room".
The panellists estimated that the developed world has sidelined proposals from developing countries over the years.
In regards to the agriculture negotiations, the panellists noted that domestic support in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries is currently higher than during the Uruguay Round. They discussed the statistic that, in per capita terms, China provides US$ 220 per economically active person in agriculture in comparison to the US, which provides US$ 57,000 annually. Therefore, the panellists estimated that the US should and must cut trade distorting subsidies, and not ask China and the developing world to do so until this is done.
The panellists were clear in their support for the continuation of the Doha Development Round after the Nairobi Ministerial Conference, given that there is a clear mandate for the talks to continue. They wished to make sure that the package up for discussion in Nairobi takes account of the interests of developing and least-developed countries.
The panellists suggested that the WTO could do more to support regional integration efforts in the context of trade governance, and for Africa in particular.
The panellists noted that trade can work when it promotes human development by increasing the number of jobs and thus removing hunger. They called upon the WTO to address growing inequalities across the globe.
PLENARY DEBATE: Making Trade Work for Business
Roberto Azevκdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Harold McGraw, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce
Roland Auschel, Adidas Board Member in charge of global sales
Evelyn Nguleka, President of the World Farmers' Organization
• Gregory L. Domingo, Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippines
Moderator: Lerato Mbele, journalist at BBC Africa
Working session 7: Reducing trade costs: why speedy legislative action on the Trade Facilitation Agreement is of paramount importance.
Organiser: Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and European Parliament
The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), commonly perceived as the most important outcome of the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, is aimed at boosting global trade by expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods. Its entry into force requires domestic ratification by two-thirds of WTO Members. Parliaments play a key role in this regard. Their swift action to ratify the TFA is primordial for allowing all countries - particularly the least developed ones - to see the promised gains from growing trade and increasing foreign direct investment. The session is intended primarily for parliamentarians, but is open to all other participants at the WTO Forum, subject to the availability of seats in the room.
Joanmariae Louise Fubbs, MP, South Africa
Joseph Hyacinthe Owona Kono, MP, Cameroon
Emma McClarkin, Member of the European Parliament
Paul Rübig, Member of the European Parliament
Siti Hediati, MP, Indonesia
Moderator: Bernd Lange, Chairman of the Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament
The panel focused the discussion on the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). The TFA is the first multilateral agreement to be concluded since the foundation of the WTO, and it requires that two-thirds of WTO members complete domestic ratification for it to come into force.
Joanmariae Louise Fubbs, member of the South African Parliament, said that there must be a collective response from WTO members. The South African commitment to multilateralism is expressed through the coordination of agencies, economic cooperation and innovative infrastructure systems. Donor support and technical assistance is required for a structural transformation, which is more difficult than just ensuring market access. Ms Fubbs underscored that a new generation of trade agreements must respect national policy contexts and sustainable development goals.
Joseph Hyacinthe Owona Kono, member of the Cameroonian Parliament, estimated that the role of parliaments in international trade is to ensure that the interests of all stakeholders – the state, consumers and producers – must be heard and engaged. He noted that TFA ratification unleashes broader regulatory change with potential to boost the socio-economic development of adhering members. Finally, Mr Kono asserted that Cameroon is committed to conclude TFA ratification.
Emma McClarkin, member of the European Parliament, noted that the TFA equally benefits developing and developed members. Fourteen-and-a-half per cent GDP growth is expected to result from the TFA. In her estimation, the TFA is concrete evidence that trade does not only favour developed members. The TFA will accelerate the liberalization of trade in low-income countries. Forty-four members are currently working on concluding ratification of the TFA.
Paul Rubig, member of the European Parliament, advanced his opinion that consumers should be protected from trade issues such as tariff escalation. In his estimation, the TFA is a mechanism that benefits consumers, and will reduce overly protective measures.
Siti Hediati, member of the Indonesian Parliament, said that Parliament's role is to hold governments accountable for pursuing the goal of multilateral trade. She announced that Indonesia is committed to the TFA as well as to the promotion of broader trade reforms. The Indonesian government has undertaken to review and enhance 534 economic regulations, including the streamlining of export licensing and customs-related procedures. It has also committed itself to enhancing infrastructure, including the renovation of 200 KM of roads, 10 airports and 10 seaports, and facilitating more capital investment to support technical and human capacity.
During the discussion, a representation of the United Parcel Services (UPS) asked about strategies to ensure the same level of efficiency of TFA provisions worldwide. A UK Member of Parliament said that the European Union can serve as role model for newly open economies in this instance.
A Member of Parliament from Botswana queried about the modalities of TFA ratification and the delivery of relevant technical assistance. Responses highlighted the value of regional trading partners taking stock of each other's potential capacity needs, and the provision of best practice examples at all levels.
The Chair of the Economic Investment Chamber of Jordan asked about the implementation of the TFA in conflict zones. Similarly, Mr Owona Kono raised a related concern, that of refugees and their impact on the economy. Discussion concluded that efforts should focus on adapting national regulatory systems to meet the challenges of globalisation.
Another query focused on the support of the business community for the TFA. Mr Kono cited the TFA as a powerful tool to fight goods smuggling, black markets and unfair competition. Discussion concluded that the private sector is ready to support the TFA to reap those benefits as well as smoother customs transactions and trade-related procedures.
Working session 8: Facilitating Trade through Tried and Tested UN Transport Facilitation Instruments
Organiser: International Road Transport Union (IRU)
According to some estimates, 57 percent of time is lost at borders due to inappropriate border procedures. Today, procedures, particularly at the borders, constitute major barriers to trade, tourism and road transport, and require targeted measures in order to maximize the use of scarce political, financial and administrative resources.
While road transport vehicles and crews waste time at borders, consumers, society and the environment ultimately, pay the bill for such barriers that reduce efficiency of the global economy and delay much-needed economic development in less favored regions of the world.
According to some researches, one day of delay at the borders results to a nearly 1% decrease in merchandise exports volume of the source country. This impact is seven times bigger for the trade of time sensitive goods.
The objective of this panel is to discuss how facilitating transport drives trade; what are the barriers towards sustainable and seamless transit and transport; what the best practices on transport facilitation are and what roles the road transport conventions such as TIR and Harmonization Conventions are playing or could play in facilitating transport and trade in particular to the objectives of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. The panelist will exchange their national, regional and international experiences towards transport facilitation and will present their recommendations on how to promote trade through transport facilitation.
This session will be jointly organised with CUTS International which has participated and organised sessions in all editions of the WTO Public Forum from 2001 to 2014.
Eva Molnar, Director of the Transport Division, UNECE
Mohsen Naziri Asl, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to UN Office in Geneva
Jan Hoffmann, Chief of Trade facilitation Section, Division on Technology and Logistics, UNCTAD
Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International
Moderator: Umberto De Pretto, Secretary General, IRU
The panel opened with a presentation showing the benefits of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA), not only as they pertain to global trade, but also to sustainable development.
Panellists then moved to a discussion of the 1975 Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention), which was elaborated under the aegis of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
The TIR Convention is a tried and tested mechanism. The benefits of this instrument are clearly visible. Success in Iran was mentioned as one example. In terms of current status, Pakistan has recently acceded to the TIR Convention, and there are expectations that China may also do so in the near future. Panellists paused on the case of India: should India join the TIR Convention framework, it is believed that it will reduce transportation time from Mumbai to St. Petersburg from 65 hours to 22 hours.
Workshop 2: Facilitating trade: the supermarket as a source of inspiration for Dutch Customs
Organiser: Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Geneva
In this side event, the Customs Administration of the Netherlands (No. 2 World Bank Logistics Performance Index, No. 3 WEF Global Enabling Trade Index) will share its views on how modern border and risk management can facilitate trade.
In charge of cross border flows at important gateways to Europe, including the harbor of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport, Dutch Customs cooperates closely with the private sector and academia to identify efficiencies to facilitate trade in an ever smarter ways. Inspiration for that can come from unexpected sources, such as supermarkets. What can Customs and traders learn from how supermarkets deal with their wide-ranging clientele? And how can these experiences help to reach a higher level of trade facilitation?
Dominique Willems – Policy Advisor FENEX (Netherlands organization for freight and logistics)
Dirk de Man – Deputy Director CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries)
Moderator: Elsbeth Akkerman – Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the WTO
The first presentation was on the theme of "supermarkets as a source of inspiration for Dutch customs". A video explained how Dutch customs draws inspiration from supermarkets, accelerating customs processes by incorporating technologies such as bar code readers on trains for containers. Dutch customs also relies on "trusted traders": companies can join "the club" of trusted traders and shippers and enjoy many benefits. Transparency was a key theme of the session. "By obtaining access to confidential information, transparency is enhanced".
A round of questions was followed by a second presentation on the relationship between customs and business. The presentation launched a plea for strong cooperation between the two, and equally among all the customs partners and business groups involved. Customs officers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any requests from business. Customs is fully aligned with business logistics, and is fighting illicit trade. Safety is a key pillar of customs, which is more than just tax revenue collectors and law enforcement.
Dominique Willems from FENEX (the Netherlands organization for freight and logistics) gave the next presentation. He sought to foster better understanding between business and customs by discussing the two key stereotypes: "corporate criminals and government idiots. … Traders are considered criminals and governments as idiots, putting red tape everywhere". Finally, Mr Willems called for thorough review before modernization of customs, because sometimes digitizing every process can be counterproductive. He suggested that the guiding principle should be optimization.
Dirk de Man from the CPI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries) discussed what needs to be done to help small- and medium-sized enterprises become exporters. He underscored that capacity building in developing countries can contribute to lowering the costs of trade and increased transparency. Finally, Mr de Man highlighted the need to boost trade compliance for small and medium-sized enterprises so they can better integrate into global value chains.
Working session 9: WTO accession: an efficient tool to adapt trade policy to the requirements of the world economy- the experience of Lao PDR
Organiser: Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Lao PDR and IDEAS Centre
Lao PDR has been a WTO Member since 2 February 2013. In its process of accession, Lao PDR has undertaken vast internal reforms in different areas to align itself with the international rules and requirements but also to incorporate best international practices in its trade framework. After more than two years of WTO membership, the question can be asked how has the accession and conducted trade reforms affected businesses on the ground and what are the perspectives having in mind developments in the global trade arena.
The session would address challenges that lie ahead in the process of aligning with international rules and doing so in a way that would bring about benefits and opportunities for the local business. Through experiences of Lao PDR, it would try to give perspectives on how can trade reforms have a substantial impact where it counts i.e. on the business community and what is still needed to ultimately achieve tangible benefits from the membership and enhance integration in the world markets.
Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Lao PDR
Lu Xiankun, Professor at China Institute for WTO Studies UIBE, Visiting Professor and Senior Counsel, NBS, Council Member at China Society for WTO Studies, Senior Research Fellow at SC-GTEG
Simon Hess, Coordinator at the Enhanced Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat
Mr. Arif Hussain, former Director of the WTO Accessions Division
• Nicolas Imboden, Executive Director, IDEAS Centre
This session used the case of the accession of the Lao PDR to the WTO to explore how the WTO accession process can contribute to promoting internal reforms, and how post-accession challenges can be addressed.
Nicolas Imboden from the IDEAS Centre moderated the session. He announced that accessions play an important role for countries, particularly reforming countries.
Arif Hussain, former Director of the WTO Accessions Division, gave a general overview of the accession process in Lao PDR, which took 15 years, and explained why it was a unique experience. For the Lao PDR it was a "leap of faith" politically and economically because when they started the process in 1997, the WTO was a new and untested organization. Mr Hussain said that economic and legislative reforms are natural processes during accessions. He also stressed that the WTO has to be in metamorphosis all the time, constantly adjusting to changes in global trade and due to new cultures and mind-sets that newly acceded countries bring into the WTO.
Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Lao PDR, followed the entire 15-year accession process. She gave an overview of the process from the perspective of the Lao PDR, and reiterated that even though the process was time-consuming and difficult, it was a comprehensive, useful and necessary exercise that prepared the country for integration into the trading system. She advised acceding countries to question how to implement reforms in the best manner for their local needs. She also reported that the Lao PDR is still in the process of implementing these reforms, and raising internal public awareness about how to benefit from these changes. In her conclusion, Ms Pholsena stated that joining the WTO is not the end of the journey: the work on reforms must continue and be implemented.
Mr Imboden agreed with Ms Pholsena that, even though long, the 15 years were necessary and not wasted. During that time the Lao PDR was able to build up the processes and capacity needed for the integration process. He emphasised that laws by themselves are not sufficient: there must be tangible results and implementation.
Simon Hess from the Enhanced Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat was based in the Lao PDR Ministry of Commerce as an advisor at the time of accession. He commended the Laotian government's management of external resources and ability to channel them in the right direction. In his view, the government developed an effective mechanism for using technical assistance. He also supported the opinion that a gradual approach was the right one. Mr Hess briefed the audience on donor activities in the form of technical and financial assistance in the Lao PDR post-accession processes. Mr Imboden stressed that resources are available, but one should know how to manage them efficiently.
Lu Xiankun from the China Institute for WTO Studies stated that trade worked for all newly acceding countries, big and small. The reason is that they made substantial commitments and faithfully implemented them. He reiterated that it requires political will and domestic reforms that include all levels of society. He warned that the trading system is now in danger and the newly acceding countries would be the ones to suffer most if the system fails. That is why the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015 is critical. What can be done so that the system works for all members, large and small, should be decided. Everybody must make an effort to make the system more inclusive.
Working session 10: Principles to Foster Trade in Generic and Biosimilar Medicines
Organiser: International Generic Pharmaceutical Alliance (IGPA)
The generic and biosimilar medicines industry relies on trade in their effort to supply high quality medicines to the world. Over the past two decades many barriers have been erected that have negatively impacted the trade in medicines, notably the adoption of “TRIPS-Plus” provisions.
This Working Session aims to reframe the discourse regarding medicines and trade in a manner that further increases the trade in medicines by addressing the needs of generic and biosimilar medicines manufacturers, patients, governments and other stakeholders. Topics discussed will include regulatory convergence, competition policy, intellectual property and technical barriers to trade. In addition, comprehensive briefing on the international generic and biosimilar medicines industry will be provided by a leading health economist.
The International Generic Pharmaceutical Alliance (IGPA) was established in 1997. It is an international network of generic and biosimilar medicines associations that is committed to promoting generic and biosimilar medicines and exchanging information worldwide.
Murray Aitken, Executive Director, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics
Jim Keon, Chair, International Generic Pharmaceutical Association and President of the Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association
David Gaugh, Senior Vice President, Sciences and Regulatory Affairs, Generic Pharmaceutical Association, United States
Adrian Van Den Hoven, Director General, European Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association
The panel discussed the impact of the projection that global spending on medicines will reach USD$ 1.3 million by 2018. The panellists called for a deeper look at the role of the generics industry in the context of economic slowdowns and costs to health systems.
The International Generic Pharmaceutical Alliance's (IDPA's) contribution to free trade agreement negotiations has centred on four areas: regulatory convergence, intellectual property, competition and providing incentives for the introduction of biosimilars.
Panellists asserted that going forward, trade agreements should shift their focus from extending monopolies by expanding the scope of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property rights (TRIPS) Agreement to streamlining regulations, thereby facilitating trade in all pharmaceutical products.
Panellists raised several further points. First, as the development of biosimilars is extremely cost-intensive, countries should incentivize its development investment through mechanisms such as market exclusivity for successful challenges to patentability. Second, the discussion on access to medicines often over-emphasizes the intellectual property dimension and under-emphasizes the regulatory aspect. They called for more emphasis on the regulatory aspect, particularly with regard to single development of complex generics and biosimilars, mutual recognition and reliance on Good Manufacturing Practice inspections. Finally, streamlining or converging regulatory systems across countries has potential for significant cost-saving benefits; for example, regulators would avoid unnecessarily duplicating inspections and companies would avoid unethical repetition of clinical tests.
Working session 11: WTO@20: Trade Rules and Domestic Regulation - Now What?
Organiser: Global Governance Programme, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUI, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), World Economic Forum (WEF)
Trade integration is increasingly a matter of addressing the effect that regulatory policies have in segmenting national markets. Differences in regulation across markets increase costs for firms and thus act as a barrier to trade. In order for trade to continue to work for everyone the WTO will need to focus more on the interface between trade and regulatory policies. This panel will discuss current thinking and research on the design of international regulatory cooperation, recent developments and initiatives that have been taken in this regard, and the need and scope for the WTO to devote more attention to regulating regulation.
Bernard Hoekman, Robert Schuman Chair, Research Area Director "Global Economics: Trade, Investment and Development", EUI
Petros Mavroidis, Edwin B. Parker Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
Beverley Postma, Executive Director, Food Industry Asia
Vera Thorstensen, Head, Center on Global Trade and Investment, Fundação Getúlio Vargas
Moderator: Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, Chief Executive, ICTSD
Most of the products that we consume today are subject to regulatory cooperation. There is a direct linkage with regulatory cooperation and trade when the goods and services cross borders. This panel was interested in how regulatory co-cooperation can be ensured so that markets work in an efficient and robust manner. Many of the trade and investment arrangements such as WTO law – the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in particular; bilateral and regional trade arrangements; and mega-regionals such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), involve regulatory co-operation. In a modern economy, this is an absolutely critical aspect of governance.
Beverly Postma from Food Industry Asia gave the example of the food industry and noted that major players all sought the lowering of trade barriers. Bernard Hoekman of the European University Institute noted that the nature of trade policy itself is changing from tariffs to behind the border measures. He also noted that regulators have diverging mandates from those involved in trade policy. Petros Mavroidis from Columbia Law School distinguished two aspects of regulatory measures: substantive and institutional. He noted that generally likeminded preferential trade agreements, or “the clubs”, entered into regulatory cooperation. He thinks the WTO will be the information exchange forum for these likeminded countries. Vera Thortensen from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas stated that the lack of discussion of private standards related directly to the concerns of the “tyranny of consumers” raised by some developing members. Panellists concluded that much work needed to be done on the matter, and that mutual recognition of standards was more easily achievable than harmonization of standards.
Working session 12: From Drifts to Deals: Advancing the WTO Agenda
Organiser: International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Given the state of global economy and those of international trade discussions today, ICC is carrying the message that trade generates growth and growth generates jobs. The latest ICC commissioned report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, “From Drifts to Deals: Advancing the WTO Agenda”, helps demonstrate to governments and the general public how increased trade and investment flows do improve living standards.
This working session will suggest concrete ways to reach trade deals that will generate economic growth and create jobs. ICC will provide analysis and recommendations of key issues that WTO members need to include in their work leading up to MC10 in Nairobi as well as initiatives that need to be advanced from the starting point of plurilateral talks to the end result of multilateral application. With these recommendations, ICC hopes to create a better understanding of the value of open trade in the eyes of the public and governments.
James Bacchus, Chair, ICC Commission on Trade and Investment Policy; Chair, Global Practice Group, Greenburg Traurig; former Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body; former US Congressman, United States
Ulf Pehrsson, Vice Chair, ICC Commission on Trade and Investment Policy; Vice President, Ericsson, Sweden
Clifford Sosnow, Member, ICC Commission on Trade and Investment Policy; Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Canada
Gabriela Wurcel, Member, ICC Commission on Trade and Investment Policy; Director of International Trade, Philip Morris International, Switzerland
Moderator: Nicolle Graugnard, Policy Manager, Commission on Trade and Investment Policy, ICC International Secretariat, Paris
The panel first discussed the WTO and its forthcoming Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015. They agreed that the Doha Development Agenda is the most visible part of the WTO, but the organization has other functions that are important to the private sector. Its rules create a safety net, in addition to its rule-enforcing mechanism. The lack of champion(s) guiding an effort to conclude the Doha Round was cited as a key factor in the current state of the Round. The panellists noted that the business community is very interested in the WTO and its negotiations. The private sector needs to reflect on the possibilities after Nairobi. The WTO has a pivotal role to play, given that it establishes equal rights and obligations for trade, and has levelled the playing field.
The panel then moved to a discussion of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). The panellists noted that the TFA is an unfinished deal. Developing countries and LDCs will need assistance to implement the TFA, and the coming into force of the TFA will provide many gains. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) estimates that least-developed countries will reduce their trade costs by 15%. It is important to note that TFA implementation will not happen overnight: full implementation will take many years. The existence of the TFA validates the multilateral approach to trade negotiations. Once the agreement is implemented there will be benefits for all.
Finally, the panel discussed the expansion of the Agreement on Information Technology (ITA). Information and communications technology (ICT) has a major role to play in achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. ICT is an enabler of innovation in all business sectors. The panel estimated that trade policy responses should take this role into account. By 2020 mobile users will increase from 7 billion to more than 9 billion. Eight-five per cent of these users will be on broadband networks (G3, G4), enabling access to the Internet via mobile devices. The panellists discussed several repercussions for trade policy. Sending data across borders involves private data that needs protection – but how to handle this legitimate privacy and security concern without imposing restrictions? The panel noted that the right balance between both is being addressed in many regional agreements.
The panel concluded with future perspectives for the WTO. They estimated that it is time for members to get serious about the WTO. The WTO is unique and successful because of the trade rules it espouses. The WTO helped create opportunities and reduce poverty over the globe. The best way of moving forward is to move forward on maximizing the world rules of trade. Further drifting away from the WTO could weaken the organization. There might be some challenges to the WTO in the future, in particular issues that are not discussed in the organization. Climate agreements will have to be addressed by the WTO, because there are no dispute resolution mechanisms in these agreements, and disputes will come to the WTO on these new issues.
A book and its author
Presented by WTO Bookshop and Library : Reconstructing the WTO for the 21st century
Kent Albert Jones, Professor of Economics, Babson Research Scholar, Babson College US
Other speakers to be confirmed
Working session 13: To be or not to be in a megadeal/plurilateral agreement: how to articulate exclusive deep integration agreements with inclusive rules? A low-income countries perspective
Organiser: Centre of Policy Dialogue (Bangladesh) and IDEAS Centre
Rules are essential to ensure that trade works. If inclusive and non-discriminatory, they contribute to levelling the playing field and to the integration of all into the world economy. Although it has no monopoly in this field, WTO – through its membership – is an essential rule-maker. However, nobody can deny that trade rules are increasingly also made outside the WTO, and in a configuration that excludes many countries from the game. The session will address the impact of deep integration processes on outsiders. Panellists will be invited to discuss if and how WTO could/should contribute to limit potential negative effects of such agreements on its poorest members and what can/could/should WTO do to ensure that its role as the guarantor of an inclusive multilateral trading system is not eroded.
Mustafizur Rahman, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh
Ronald Saborio, Chair of the DSB Special Session
Darlington Mwape, Senior Fellow, ICTSD
Brendan Vickers, Economic Adviser (Regional Trade and Integration Issues), Trade Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
Nicolas Imboden, Executive Director, IDEAS Centre
Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kenya (tbc)
The panel determined that the stalemate in the Doha Round has pushed WTO members to seek alternative avenues to pursue their trade agendas, particularly through mega-regional and plurilateral trade agreements. Lack of participation and preference erosion are significant problems for all developing countries, particularly least-developed countries (LDCs). Mega-regional and plurilateral trade agreements offer WTO members opportunities to negotiate terms that they cannot negotiate within the WTO. The terms of these preferential agreements are likely to be "multilateralized" over time, ultimately resulting in multilateral trade rules that were not negotiated in a multilateral environment. The panel alighted on transparency in the negotiation of mega-regionals and plurilaterals as a key issue for all stakeholders.
While there may be positive aspects to regional trade agreements (RTAs) negotiated outside of the multilateral environment, the WTO members participating in these RTAs must craft the rules in such a way that the negatives, such as preference erosion, are minimized and the positives, such as standardization or deeper liberalization, are maximised. One way in which these trade agreements could do this would be to grant market access to LDCs on terms equivalent to those contained in the regional trade agreements. An alternative approach would be to create inclusive rules of origin that would enable LDCs (and perhaps other developing countries) to benefit from global and regional value chains that are developed in the context of the mega-regional and plurilateral trade agreements. Developing countries and LDCs need to communicate and cooperate far more closely both within and outside the WTO. The inclusion of developing countries in certain mega-regionals is likely to jeopardize the collective bargaining position of developing countries in the multilateral context.
Discussion after panel presentations led to a few interesting points being raised. First, mega-regional and plurilateral trade agreements are not the same animals, and should not be viewed in the same way. Indeed, even different regional trade agreements are incomparable in many cases, based on the volume and value of trade affected or the type of agreement. Second, WTO members are often not capable of simply joining the mega-regionals or plurilaterals, and even if they do, they are often not in a position to negotiate on equivalent terms with the bigger players involved in the agreement – certainly not on the same terms with which they can negotiate in the multilateral context. This impinges on the notion that non-participants can simply join the agreements in order to eliminate any negative consequences of those agreements. Finally, it is widely accepted that the ideal solution would be to address these issues through the Doha Development Agenda, and indeed to conclude the Doha Round. However, this is difficult in the current negotiating climate.
Working session 14: From Farm to Market, responding to a Social Mandate from Agropreneurial Perspective: the missed enabling framework. How Trade Policies bridge the gap
Organiser: World Farmers Organization (WFO), Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
All entrepreneurial paths are long and starred of challenges. Agriculture, as an economic sector, is called to face challenges linked to the market access on a daily basis. An efficient access to education, proper management of nutrients, market barriers, access to finance, mechanization, access to innovation are just few of the trials that agropreneurs have to face to be successful in the market place.
Farmers have a heavy burden, which is to feed the planet under the challenge of the demographic growth, accompanied by a fast change in the global eating habits of emerging Will farmers be able to reap the benefit of this demographic boom, or will food price just increase? How farmers will rationalize the use of inputs in their field or barns to balance production costs? How favourable trade policies could support farmers in this global burden? These are just some of the questions this working session aims to address.
Evelyn Nguleka, President, World Farmers’ Organisation, WFO
Mika Vepsäläinen, Chief, Market Access Section, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, UNECE
Ahmad Mukhtar, Trade and Food Security Officer, FAO
Luis Miguel Etchevehere, WFO Board member, Latin America
Moderator: Marco Marzano de Marinis, Secretary General, WFO
Evelyn Nguleka from the World Farmers' Organisation said that the farmers need to be heard, especially now that the world is looking to farmers to find solutions for food production in the face of increasing populations and less-than-ideal environmental conditions. She posited that farmers need to be treated as economic farmers, and that we should seek solutions to drive farmers as businesses.
Mika Vepsäläinen from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) underscored that farmers currently have to meet multiple standards, but their voice is not heard when these standards are set. He suggested that, to improve the situation, we need to discuss how can we increase efficiency for farmers so that they earn their livelihoods and develop their businesses, and how we can reach out to the farmers so they have the capacity to implement standards.
Marco Marzano de Marinis from the World Farmers' Organisation moderated the session. He stated that efficiency can be achieved when there is a facilitating framework, capacity building, the establishment of a number of partnerships with key players and the creation of fair rules.
Ahmad Mukhtar from the Food and Agriculture Organization discussed the trends in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2015-2024, including the decline in long-term real prices, the increase in the trade volumes of most products and changes in consumer demands. To face these challenges, the emphasis needs to be on the farmer, in order to bridge the gaps between food security and farmer security, and trade policy and agricultural policy.
Luis Miguel Etchevehere, a board member of the World Farmers' Organization, challenged the idea that the farmers’ capacity needs to be built. He proposed instead that we should focus on actually buying what farmers are selling. The current economic environment is making trade in food commodities more uncertain, and will have a negative impact on producer countries, including in Latin America. Mr Etchevehere called for policies which have the aim of increasing the trade in food, including: ensuring democratic and strong institutions; implementing policies aimed at improving competitiveness; implementing public policies aimed at boosting productivity of the agricultural sector; increasing investment in food producing countries to boost trade; and creating better and more transparent information systems.
Some key takeaways from the session were that we should improve efficiency of farmers; ensure international regulatory frameworks explore improving farmers’ livelihoods in addition to boosting production; shift from an emphasis on “poor subsistence farmers” to “agropreneurship”; and debate whether farmers should be supported through subsidies or let markets select the most efficient producers.
Working session 15: Trade means business: How trade opening has changed our sectors over the past 20 years
Organiser: Croplife International, Innovation Insights and International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)
At this session, the audience will learn why, from a business perspective, “trade works”. The speakers will describe how trade opening over the past 20 years has shaped the business landscape - and accelerated growth, job creation, and innovation - in their sectors. Speakers will be drawn from the agriculture, health, ICT, and green technology sectors, and will be geographically diverse.
The speakers, all with long-standing careers in their respective sectors, will attest, based on first-hand observations, that changes in the trade system have fostered global integration of their businesses, created opportunities for new actors to integrate into R&D and supply chains, stimulated collaboration across borders and across sectors, enabled broad access to transformative technology solutions, generated growth and created jobs. They will identify the trade-driven policy changes that shaped the new business landscape and comment on how WTO and freer trade initiatives have enhanced socio-economic development outcomes.
Gordon Bacon, Chair, Science, Nutrition and Technical Committee, Global Pulse Confederation
Nilanjan Banik, Associate Professor, Mahindra EcoleCentrale, and Fellow CUTS International
Becky Fraser, Senior Manager, Government Affairs, Qualcomm
Moderator: Stuart Harbinson, Independent Senior Trade Policy Advisor, Geneva
Working session 16: Global Value Chains and Changing Patterns of Value Added Trade in Developing Economies
Organiser: World Trade Center Mumbai and All India Association of Industries
Global Value Chains have become an integral aspect of today’s global trade. Most products are no longer manufactured in one location and increasingly the trend is towards locating different stages of the production process across different countries. The whole process of producing goods , from raw materials to finished products , is increasingly carried out wherever the necessary skills and materials are available at competitive cost and quality. Forces of globalization motivate firms in developing countries to restructure their operations to increase the value of their products. The ability to participate in GVCs is instrumental for economic integration, but benefiting from GVCs depends on how much value a country creates in GVCs.
The session will examine the emerging trends in global value chains and factors influencing GVC activities in developing countries. It will analyse the effects of GVCs on value added trade and the changing patterns in trade movements.
James Bacchus, Chair, Commission on Trade Development and Investment Policy International Chamber of Commerce
Oliver Wieck, Secretary General, ICC Germany
Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, Chief Executive Officer, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development
Vijay Kalantri, Vice-Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai, Director- WTCA Board N.Y., President, All India Association of Industries
Ikuo Kuroiwa, Executive Senior Research Fellow, Bangkok Research Centre, JETRO Bangkok
Luisa Santos, Director, International Relations, BUSINESSEUROPE
Javier Lopez Gonzalez, Policy Analyst, Trade and Agriculture Directorate, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
The panellists discussed many points pertaining to global value chains (GVCs). The benefits of GVCs are self-evident. However, appropriate national and multilateral trade policies are required to facilitate GVCs.
Global value chains play a role in sustainable development by eliminating poverty. They are also a – perhaps the only – way to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) connect to world markets. It is for this reason that financing for building this capacity must be discussed. Also, trade facilitation can function as a driver to connect regional and global markets through GVCs. Participation in GVCs remains unbalanced, and benefits are not equally shared.
Global value chains should be considered in both the contexts of exports and imports. The latter are complements rather than substitutes to domestic production.
Investment policies at the national and company levels are key drivers in promoting GVCs. But policies like domestic vs foreign content requirements may restrict the GVC approach. Trade liberalization and regional integration should encourage GVCs and develop competitiveness at all levels, because GVCs contribute to creativity and innovation.
Working session 17: Should WTO rules include new issues such as competition, government procurement and disciplines on export taxes?
Organiser: (ACP) Civil Society Forum and Consumers Association of Penang (CAP)
This session will look at the implications for developing and developed countries if rules developed in free trade agreement negotiations such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and the Trade In Services Agreement are brought into the WTO. In particular this session will focus on the impact of additional disciplines on export taxes, competition including state owned enterprises, government procurement and allowing cross border data transfers.
Demián Dalle, National Director of the Centre for International Economy of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sanya Reid Smith, Third World Network
Speaker from European business community
The panel explored the implications for developing and developed countries if rules developed in free trade agreement negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) are brought under the aegis of the WTO. In particular they discussed whether additional multilateral rules would help developing countries reap the gains of trade and all countries to move up the value chain and encourage the creation of innovative products. The areas up for consideration were the impact of additional disciplines on export taxes; competition policy, including state owned enterprises; government procurement; and cross border data transfers.
Panellists noted that export taxes have played an important role in developing Argentinian industry, and have provided an important source of revenue for the state. They discussed that international competition may negatively affect national development, and that state-owned enterprises are supported because they have important roles to play in society. Panellists also discussed how government procurement can be used domestically to achieve several important industrial and social objectives, including in connection with the Millennium Development Goals. They called for protection and limitation of sensitive cross border data transfer, and asserted the view that internet governance should not be dealt with in international trade agreements.
The panel concluded by noting that countries should reflect carefully before limiting their policy space in all of these areas.
Working session 18: Consumer Protection and World Trade
Organiser: Government of Oman
The session would highlight the importance of consumer welfare and consumer protection. Consumers are the target section of any society and their welfare is the responsibility of every government. Trade policies can play an important role in promoting and protecting consumer interests. The session would aim to show that the WTO rules, the Multilateral Trading System advances and protects consumer interests through expansion and liberalization of world trade. Illustrations of some specific WTO rules that promote consumer interests could be provided in the session.
Omar Al-Jahdhami, Deputy Chairman for Consumer Services & Market Monitoring, the Public Authority for Consumer Protection – Oman.
Juan Luis Crucelegui, Senior Legal Officer, Competition and Consumer Policies Brunch-UNCTAD
Arnau Izaguerri, Junior Legal Officer, Competition and Consumer Policies Brunch-UNCTAD
Julien Grollier, Assitant Programme officer, CUTS, Geneva
Moderator: Alicia Greenidge, President and Chief Executive of Summit Alliances International
The panel session opened by discussing how Oman's Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP) has been well-received by consumers and the public at large. The PACP recognizes the impact of the multilateral trading system on consumer welfare and deals with consumer protection. It seeks to protect their wellbeing from unfair practices, to preserve their rights and to raise awareness about consumption. The PACP has the authority to challenge unfair announcements, to promote fair competition and to fight unfair practices. It has four pathways for action: legislative action, monitoring, awareness raising, and educational and international cooperation.
Examples of legislative action include combating monopolistic practices. The PACP has monitored changes in the prices of basic commodities and the illegal importation of sweets from Europe and Asia. In the area of awareness raising, the PACP has worked to ensure that chemically treated herbs do not pose any harm to consumers, and to ensure that second-hand tyres are not sold as new. The PACP produces a free magazine to inform consumers of their rights, and conducts educational visits to schools and hospitals. In terms of international cooperation, the PACP has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Council of Arab Economic Unity, and belongs to several international organizations.
The panel then discussed the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection, which provide a new framework for international consumer protection. The United Nations General Assembly is due to adopt the new guidelines in December 2015. Additions to these guidelines include ensuring that consumers are seen as individuals, underlining the importance of good commercial behaviour, calling for education and awareness-raising, introducing measures to protect the privacy of consumers, encouraging national policies for consumer protection (such as the PACP in Oman), introducing measures for multilateral dispute resolution and redress, addressing questions of e-commerce and financial services, protecting the financial practices of consumers, protecting and lowering the cost of remittances, underlining the importance of public utilities and tourism, and promoting cross-border cooperation among agencies.
Finally, the panel discussed a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) project on regional integration. It involves technical assistance for improving legislative frameworks on competition and consumer protection. The "Oman Project" is intended to reinforce regional capacities through a training centre for the protection of consumers, and activities reinforcing cooperation between agencies and ministries. There was a discussion with various countries – Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco - to develop a strategy adapted to their needs.
RECEPTION AND BOOK PRESENTATION: 20 Years of the WTO: A retrospective
Presented by Xiaozhun Yi, WTO Deputy Director General
Working session 19: Accredited conformity assessment: Making trade work
Organiser: International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and Independent International Organisation for Certification (IIOC)
A core principle of IAF, ILAC and IIOC is to facilitate trade through the removal of technical barriers to trade through the global acceptance of reports, certificates, and testing data.
The session will cite examples from both developed and developing economies across a range of sectors to demonstrate how accreditation and accredited testing, certification and inspection have had a positive impact on trade.
Marcus Long, Chief Executive IIOC
Jon Murthy, ILAC and IAF Executive
The panel highlighted the growing demand for conformity assessments all over the world, manifested through an increasing number of requests for testing, inspection, accreditation and certification. The public sector has benefited from using conformity assessments and accredited services to meet policy objectives. Today, 113 countries have accredited bodies. A recently-launched website shows case studies of how government and regulators have used accredited conformity assessments as policy tools to deliver results: www.publicsectorassurance.org.
The panel acknowledged that cost considerations should be taken into account. However, case studies and research have shown outsized benefits to conformity assessments: reputation benefits; higher rate of returns; increased job creation in certified businesses; addressing asymmetric information issues; and promoting trade, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
During the discussion, a question was asked about to what extent regulatory bodies have relied on internationally-accredited conformity assessments. Though there are no statistics yet, a survey carried out by International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation among accredited bodies all around the world shows that results issued by accredited laboratories are generally accepted.
Looking forward, participants in the discussion agreed that standards need to be up-to-date and established through consensus and checks and balances. They saw a need to engage more stakeholders in standard-setting and conformity assessments.
Working session 20: What role can Special Economic Zones play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?
Organiser: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
The number of Export Processing Zones [or Special Economic Zones] are booming worldwide, each providing a different mix of fiscal, regulatory and infrastructure incentives for foreign investment. Some researchers point to evidence that they have played a key role in export-led economic development, while others question their local and collective effect on decent work, environmental sustainability, and tax revenues. The rise of new EPZs comes at a time when the possibilities for rules-compliant fiscal incentives for EPZs diminishes among WTO member States and when governments around the world are committing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Given these international trends and commitments, what role can Special Economic Zones play in achieving the SDGs? What are the emerging strategies and best practices in EPZ management for sustainable development? This session includes the launch and presentation of an UNCTAD report on the performance and potential of these zones for sustainable development.
Claude Akpokavie, Senior Adviser, Bureau for Workers Activities, International Labour Office ILO
Jem Bendell, Professor, Institute for Leadership and Sustainability ; University of Cumbria
Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director CUTS International
Anthony Miller, CSR Focal Point, Investment & Enterprise Divison ; UNCTAD
Raúl Torres, Counsellor, Development Division WTO
Moderator: James Zhan, Director, Investment and Enterprise Division, UNCTAD
The panel noted that the importance of Export Processing Zones (EPZs) is growing. EPZs tend to have a bad reputation in public and with the media, linked to a lowering of environmental and labour standards in such zones. This is tied to a growing consumer awareness of good production practices. This awareness forces multinational companies to engage in best practices and focus on sustainability issues in global value chains.
Panelists highlighted that EPZs offer many benefits. They may include: exemptions from import duties, exemption from direct and indirect taxes, preferential pricing (water, energy), good infrastructure, reduced red tape and trade facilitation. The attractiveness of EPZs therefore lies beyond fiscal advantages such as tax reductions.
The WTO's stance is that, in general, specific subsidies are forbidden. However, some exemptions are made for special EPZs, but these exemptions will expire by the end of 2015.
The panel encouraged the audience to think more broadly about how to ensure the competitiveness of EPZs. A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) study on a sampling of EPZs found that while EPZs are quite useful in providing services to businesses, they often do not communicate their offerings properly. The panel estimated that EPZs offer the possibility to be centres of excellence, to transfer knowledge and to have a multiplier effect on the broader economy. Jem Bendell from the University of Cumbria noted that EPZs can function as laboratories for governments – in EPZs, governments learn new rules, and try to measure the effects of new regulatory frameworks.
Claude Akpokavie from the International Labour Office (ILO) raised the concern that EPZs are promoting a downward spiral in labour standards. Ninety per cent of workers in EPZs are female, and do not place great importance in material protection. He acknowledged that a cost-benefit analysis is needed to measure the benefits (job creation) against the costs (lowering labour standards), and noted that EPZs are still bound to the rules set forth in ILO Conventions.
Working session 21: Reforming agriculture trade rules for food security purposes and protecting the rights of smallholder producers.
Organiser: Kenya Human Rights Commission
In sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture accounts, on average, for over half of total employment and one fifth of gross domestic product (GDP) . But higher prices pose challenges for net importers of these goods . There is also a growing concern that most developing countries are in food deficit today because of unfair trade through imports of subsidised products outcompeting national producers. Although public stockholding programs are considered a global best practice in ensuring food security in developing countries, existing WTO rules do not allow developing countries to maintain domestic support in excess of 10 per cent of their national production (so-called de minimis levels). The post-Bali work program that includes agriculture is an opportunity for Africa to review trade policies that are able to address the plight of millions of small-scale producers who have been key players in meeting food demand.
Biraj Patniak, Right to Food Movement, India
Jane Nalunga, Country Director, Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute, Uganda
Ekaterina Krivonos, Economist, Trade and Markets Division, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
Deborah Scott, Director of International Programs, Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and Coordinator, Our World is Not for Sale Network (OWINFS)
Jonathan Hepburn, Agriculture Program Manager, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva
Moderator: Fredrick Njehu, Program Advisor, Trade and Economic Justice, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
This session explored how trade rules can be reformed to address the growing concern by small-scale producers of the right to food, and how WTO members can design public stockholding systems in a more coherent, balanced way.
Frederick Nheju from the Kenya Human Rights Commission opened the session by stressing that agriculture is of great importance to developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs). He also expressed concern with current trade rules and issues, such as subsidies in developed countries, which disadvantage small producers, thus leaving them vulnerable.
Ekaterina Krivonos from the Food and Agriculture Organization gave an overview of new developments and trends in the global agricultural market as well as projections for the near future. According to her data, agricultural production has grown everywhere and will continue to do so, especially on the African continent, over the next 10 years. World prices for agricultural products will either remain flat or decline. She noted that it is not the same case for domestic prices, due to various other factors influencing local prices. Import volumes will strongly increase in developing countries.
Jonathan Hepburn from the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development briefed on the current situation around related trade negotiations. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that global trade rules and policies help deliver the sustainable development goals, in particular the right to food. He outlined the following challenges: participation of small producers in policy-making process in LDCs, weak safeguards in LDCs, climate change and high tariffs on agricultural products imposed by some developed countries. In the context of negotiations, Mr Hepburn estimated that issues of tighter disciplines on special and differential treatment, duty-free and quota-free market access, export competition, agriculture, domestic support and cotton could be included in a package to be discussed at the Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015. He also noted that even though there are real challenges and violations of the right to food, progress has been made.
Jane Nalunga from the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute briefed on the effects and implications of trade rules on agriculture in Africa, emphasising that agriculture is a mainstay of their economy. She outlined challenges at the national level (limited value added, export of raw materials, limited government support) and at the global level (colonial legacy, WTO or global policies such as high subsidies by developed countries, high liberalization and weak safeguards of Africa). She also expressed the hope that agricultural subsidies and a safeguard mechanism will be included in the Nairobi package.
Biraj Patniak from the Right to Food Movement explained how public stockholding food programmes and the National Food Security Act work in India, as well as their importance. He emphasised that the objective of the programme is to support domestic consumers, not exports. That is why he estimates such support should not be considered forbidden under WTO rules and put into the "Green Box" category of the Subsidies Agreement (this is the G33's current proposal).
Deborah James from the Center for Economic Policy Research and Our World is Not for Sale Network expressed support for Mr Patniak's views, and called public stockholding the best global practice to protect vulnerable small producers and poor or hungry people. She called on society and developed countries to prioritize food security and the right to food. She also stressed that such programmes should be allowed under WTO rules because they support domestic consumption.
The contributions of the panellists were followed by comments from the audience pointing out that challenges come from global rules and policies, but more so from the national level.
Working session 22: WTO Dispute Settlement System from Asian Perspectives
Organiser: Government of Japan
This session aims to evaluate the current status of WTO Dispute Settlement System and to discuss challenges facing this System from Asian Members’ perspectives. In particular, we will analyse how Asian Members have used this System, and also explore today’s substantive issues of particular interest for Asian Members.
For example, we may discuss whether there are differences in approaches to the use of outside counsels in proceedings among Asian Members and between Asian Members and other Members as a matter of practical work on disputes. We may also address regional characteristics, if any, in the way Members try to preserve their trade ‘policy space’ while maintaining open markets for trade and the role of the Dispute Settlement System in helping them balance these two demands.
Through our presentations, we wish to shed light on how Asian Members’ can contribute to the proper functioning of the WTO Dispute Settlement System.
Todd Friedbacher, Partner, Sidley Austin Geneva
Niall Meagher, Executive Director, ACWL
Gabrielle Marceau, Counselor, Legal Affairs Division, WTO Secretariat
Ryan Gener, from Philippine Mission
Kazumochi Kometani, Director, METI
Koji Saito, Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
The panel remarked that the success of the Dispute Settlement Mechanism is taking its toll on the system in the form of an unprecedented amount of work. Asian members are active in dispute settlement, and bring a significant number of disputes. Many of the factors that affect the decision to bring a case to the WTO are similar between Asian members and other members; however, the lack of institutionalized feedback from industry within Asia is problematic. This is augmented by the culture in many Asian societies of being non-confrontational and non-litigious.
The panellists highlighted that it is important to demonstrate the concrete benefits of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Mechanism to Asian industries. As an example, the panellists referred to the "EC – IT Products"dispute: despite 10 years of negotiations, the complainants had been unable to achieve the removal of the measures at issue, yet they were finally withdrawn following the Panel's decision. The success of the dispute settlement system does not only lie in the system itself: the knowledge that recourse to binding dispute settlement is a possibility often leads to a willingness to resolve issues informally, bilaterally or in committees, outside the context of dispute settlement. This is particularly relevant for members with a legal tradition of avoiding litigation.
There was a divergence of opinion on the importance of external legal counsel. While some panellists consider that the use of external legal counsel is a means for governments to participate in dispute settlement whilst avoiding confrontation and maintaining bilateral relations, others consider that only in-house legal counsel are able to comprehend the long-term strategic goals underlying a member's participation in dispute settlement. The discussion also offered avenues for reducing confrontation in the dispute settlement system. If WTO rules are perceived as rules of conduct and focused on common goals, litigation can become less confrontational.
Looking forward, the panel suggested that the particularities of the Asian approach to dispute settlement should be used to improve the system through the ongoing discussions of the Dispute Settlement Understanding reform and the Jara process, named after former WTO Deputy Director-General Alejandro Jara. They also recommended that while Asian members are active participants as parties to disputes, there is a need for more Asian panellists and staff working on dispute settlement within the WTO Secretariat. Effort to this end can be made by all concerned: the Secretariat can implement changes to improve participation by individuals from Asia (for instance by having more language editors), while those Asians who are interested need to show greater willingness to participate.
Working session 23: The Global Trade Slowdown
Organiser: World Bank
After the recovery from the global financial crisis, international trade growth has been sluggish. This session will examine the salient characteristics of the global trade slowdown and its determinants. It will also discuss trade prospects in the coming years, implications for economic growth, and how policymakers can respond.
Aaditya Mattoo, Research Manager, Trade and Integration, World Bank
Graham Slack, Chief Economist, Maersk Group
Alex Keck, Counselor, Economic Research and Statistics Division of the WTO
Michele Ruta, Lead Economist, Trade & Competitiveness GP, World Bank
Moderator: Robert Koopman, Chief Economist and Director, Economic Research and Statistics Division of the WTO
The panel agreed that a global trade slowdown was evident since the 2008 financial crisis, and discussed the drivers and possible solutions to this situation. Two key themes emerged in the discussion.
First, panellists cited a need to better understand trade in services. In the aftermath of 2008, a slowdown in trade in manufactured goods was evident, but this was not the case with services, which presented a more robust trajectory. New technologies provided new forms of interaction, and changes in demographics meant that the demand for services increased. Thus, trade in services could be an important driver for future growth, and deserves more attention. Given this rising importance, a panellist noted that much talk around trade facilitation refers to customs barriers; they suggested that this discussion should also address barriers to services and how they could be tackled.
Second, panellists discussed changes in global value chains (GVCs). They saw that growth in GVCs had been an important factor in boosting the growth of trade in the past. However, changes in the way GVCs are structured may have led to a perceived slowdown in trade. For example, China's rising participation in GVCs meant that it had "cannibalized" intra-Asian trade, as it consumed more and more of what it produced. Also, managers are increasingly concerned with the costs of managing supply chains, rather than just the local costs of production. This means that GVCs are undergoing a period of reorganization.
Panellists pointed to several possible solutions. A reduction of trade costs, such as through the entry into force of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, could increase trade. Increased liberalization through new trade agreements could open markets. Better policies aimed at curbing protectionism could do the same. Domestic growth was floated as an option - research tells us that as income differences between countries narrows, trade between countries becomes more intense. Finally, the panel highlighted that multilateral liberalization had a greater enabling effect than regional trade agreements. Multilateral deals offer the potential to improve the extensive margin of trade; they provide a wider network – which empirically offers better trade growth; and trade costs fall more sharply if a market opens multilaterally rather than bilaterally.
Working session 24: Trade works IF What does it take to make trade work for development?
Organiser: ACP Geneva Office, Roosevelt Institute and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Geneva Office (FES)
Trade can be a vehicle for growth, development and poverty reduction. Harvesting the potential gains trade, however, is not neither automatic nor easy. The mere increase of integration into the global economy does not by itself produce a greater developmental impact. Trade works IF developing countries can fully harness the opportunities that come with trade and minimize its potential disadvantages. Decision makers have to work in a variety of policy fields simultaneously and complementary to provide the solid ground for economic and social development. The working session explores the recommendations of policy initiatives aiming at a fair distribution of gains from trade such as the G7 Supply Chain Initiative, the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, the Independent Commission on the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT), among others, as well as other policy proposals to harness trade for development.
Hubert René Schillinger, Director, FES Geneva office
Marwa Joël Kisiri, Head, ACP Geneva Office
Adam Hersh, Senior Economist, Roosevelt Institute (academic)
Dereje Alemayehu, Chair, Tax Justice Network Africa (NGO)
Tausi Kida, Executive Director, Economic and Social Research Foundation, Tanzania (academic)
Moderator: Nicholas Shaxson, Journalist
Broadly, the panel discussed the effects of trade, and the fact that some benefit more than others. To remedy this, they suggested that complementary policies should be put in place to promote a fair distribution of income through interregional and international cooperation. The trade and development nexus can be applied to the implementation of sustainable development goals.
In response to a question, journalist Nicholas Shaxson replied that the concept of tax justice is still a nascent tool in the development field, but that it could be further used for trade justice efforts. Illicit financial flows and capital flight are components of the taxation system which are detrimental to trade.
In response to a question, Dereje Alemayehu from the Tax Justice Network Africa responded that mis-pricing means mis-invoicing of imports or exports to avoid taxes on imports. Tax authorities face significant losses because multinational companies sometimes pay less tax than the small-scale vendor in, for instance, Africa. Payment on intellectual property rights or patents and financial advising fees are deducted from the tax roll, which distort the tax portfolio. Transfer pricing in multinational corporations provides the biggest financial loss.
In response to a question, Adam Hersh of the Roosevelt Institute noted that deregulation of capital flows is the main cause of inequalities. Rules, laws and institutions in trade matter for how much investment flows into the country. Trade rules are, however, not a stand-alone component shaping the trading system and should be reinforced through environmental, investment and educational policies.
The panel was asked to point out the key producers of inequalities in trade flows. Responses highlighted that earlier in the global economy, effects were shaped under a single corporate roof. Today, this is different, since global value chains (GVCs) involve various stakeholders. This increasing fragmentation of global production and distribution has created a need for a rules-based system. Local policy-makers are often resistant to agreeing with the rules which drive out value added components.
In response to a question about whether wages are part of how people share the benefits of trade, Tausi Kida of the Economic and Social Research Foundation (Tanzania) noted that GVCs are associated with increased employment and greater profitability. As regards Tanzania, it has received sufficient foreign direct investment in the mining sector, but job creation is quite low, and remuneration has not experienced a significant rise. Also, growth in trade has not led to a reduction of inequality in Tanzania. Six out of the 10 most unequal countries are in Africa. Nevertheless, trade benefits have been linked to poverty reduction.
The panel was asked to weigh in on whether misleading tax practices were a national or global responsibility. The advantage of classifying it as a national responsibility is that it is a way to involve people in development objectives. If countries are not participating in finding solutions for profit-shifting processes and transparent trade practices, they will not benefit from the outcomes. Today, African nations lose resources to the world: for every US$ 1 coming to Africa, US$ 3 leaves the continent. Capital outflow is caused by illegal business transactions and criminal activities, which are entirely a national responsibility.
The panel was asked to provide examples of institutional change that can reduce poverty. They responded that policy interventions can impede efficiency and growth, and that the change must begin at the corporate level. Rules should assign responsibilities to entities that shape GVCs, and the tax system should be reformed to be redistributive and transparent.
Finally, the panel was asked to what extent governments can cooperate with multinational corporations. They responded that multinational corporations should be treated as a unified entity according to the general underlying economic activities. Collection of revenues should ensure the provision of social benefits, not only income flows at the corporate level. Currently, official development assistance is the key source of financing for social and economic development.
Working session 25: Illicit Trade: fighting money laundering in international trade
Organiser: Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Colombia
A panel of experts will present and discuss the scope of illicit trade in international trade operations, the challenges and implications for economic development and propose concrete strategies to fight it. They will also assess the role that the WTO and other multilateral trade organizations can have to address this issue.
David M. Luna, Senior Director, National Security and Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State
• Michael Ellis, Assistant Director, Head of Trafficking in Illicit Goods and Counterfeiting Unit, INTERPOL
Angeles Rentsch, Manager, Fiscal Compliance, Philip Morris International
Norbert Steilen, Programme Manager, Compliance and Enforcement, World Customs Organization
Moderator:Joost Pauwelyn, Professor, International Law, Graduate Institute Geneva
Joost Pauwelyn from the Graduate Institute, Geneva mentioned that the goal of this event was two-fold. First, the session aimed to create awareness about illicit trade. He mentioned that this issue was not yet directly regulated under the WTO agreements. The second goal was to review collective strategies to fight illicit trade, both in import and export. The session had a particular focus on trade-based money laundering.
Gabriel Duque, Ambassador of Columbia to the WTO, characterised illicit trade as the "dark side of the expansion of economic integration". He underscored that the misuse of trade affected all jurisdictions. He mentioned that 3 per cent to 5 per cent of global GDP went lost annually due to illicit trade. Criminal bands were also financed through these transactions. He highlighted that for trade to work, WTO members needed to be sure that it would not affect their security interests and thus invited other members to engage together in the pursue of cooperative solutions.
Angeles Rentsch from Philip Morris International pointed out the significance of public-private partnerships to effectively confront illicit trafficking. She highlighted the role of Philip Morris in supporting governmental authorities through the conclusion of cooperation agreements.
David Luna from the U.S. Department of State mentioned that around 7 per cent of global merchandise consists of pirated and counterfeited goods and called upon states to implement the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) promptly and engage in customs cooperation with other members' customs authorities. He also highlighted the role of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in promoting educational campaigns and fostering global dialogue to raise awareness and mitigate illicit trade.
Norbert Steilen from the World Customs Organization underscored the importance of customs data collection to monitor trade transactions and avoid over-invoicing, a typical money-laundering method. He also highlighted the need for international cooperation and the creation of post-clearance audits, mutual administrative assistance and legal access to books and payment records of international traders.
Michael Ellis from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) highlighted the importance of international police cooperation against illicit trade. He also conveyed the need to strike a balance between effective controls, on the one hand, and the aim not to create extra barriers for legal traders, on the other hand. He mentioned that Free Trade Zones are vulnerable to illicit trade and regulation in this regard should be pursued. He commended Colombia for organising the first event, according to his knowledge, in which awareness and cooperation between INTERPOL and the WTO on this issue was discussed.
Questions from the audience focused on WTO case law on illicit trade, the scope for negotiation of rules against illicit trade in the Doha Development Agenda, the possibility of non-violation complaints against a WTO member that does not address illicit trade and the significance of the TFA in mitigating illicit trade.
Workshop 3: Trade improves lives! A case study from Africa women shea collectors in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali
Organiser: Sidley Austin LLP and Global Shea Alliance
Trade works for shea collectors in West Africa! This session offers a case study on how trade opportunities have contributed to economic advancement in rural West Africa.
Shea nuts are typically collected and processed by women. Increasing demand for shea in cosmetics has improved opportunities for producers. Millions of rural women in West Africa have been able to support their families and their children’s education by collecting and processing shea for export.
But despite its growing success in cosmetics, trade in shea has faced regulatory barriers limiting its use in food. These barriers are gradually being reduced, as domestic regulators apply international standards and otherwise address risks, consistent with WTO principles.
This session includes practical insights from West African shea collectors and their customers. It also includes insights from members of the WTO community on how WTO norms ensure that trade works in this market.
Safia Alhassan Andani, Chairperson, Pagsung Shea Pickers and Processors Association, Ghana
K. Ntim Donkoh, Minister (Commercial) Ghana Permanent Mission, Geneva
Joseph R. Funt, Managing Director, Global Shea Alliance, Ghana
Rosie Akester, Senior Buyer for Community Fair Trade Ingredients, UK & Africa
Kornel Mahlstein is an economist with Sidley Austin LLP
Moderator: Iain Sandford, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
The panel introduced the topic at hand. Shea is a fruit that grows in the wild and unsupervised in trees across Africa. Its seeds are used for cooking, as well as for creams, oils, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other uses. Shea is processed by removing the seeds, and shea collectors, mostly women, dry and preserve them. After sending the seeds to factories, they are mostly turned into butter which is then used for cosmetics to create creams and lotions.
The Global Shea Alliance is a non-governmental organization dedicated to supporting and empowering women shea collectors, to organize the many cooperatives that these women have formed in Africa, and to connect them with business and retail outlets such as "The Body Shop". They spread the word about shea, its benefits, and also about the working conditions of the shea collectors.
There is a need for support for the trade in shea. Safia Alhassan Andani from the Pagsung Shea Pickers and Processors Association (Ghana) mentioned that shea collectors have to go deep into the forest to collect shea. It is estimated that only 20% of shea is taken from the trees, a very low number, so capacity and training is needed for these collectors.
The government of Ghana supports women shea collectors. Ghana's Commercial Minister K. Ntim Donkoh underscored that the trade in shea empowers women and, with the right policies, protects tree populations. The women shea collectors manage to comply with many standards, like fair trade, and to guide the communities. Ms Alhassan Andai added that compliance with these standards is difficult and it is sometimes cumbersome to comply with them.
The panel concluded by noting that shea is essential for women in Africa, and that it is the most important source of income for more than 16 million people. They called for trade barriers and bans on shea to be lifted: the European Union lifted its ban in 2009, and the panel said that India should lift its ban on shea for chocolate production. They hoped that the WTO would aid in this effort so shea exports can flourish, along with the women and shea collectors of Ghana and Africa.
Working session 26: What can trade do for business, workers and the consumers?
Organiser: BusinessEurope and Federation of German Industries (BDI)
The WTO is the “anchor organisation” for multilateral trade, guardian of the rules that all the members should respect and apply. As an institution, the WTO has a role to play not only in analysing global trade patterns but also in the creation of modern rules that are adapted to the needs of business and the society.
In this context, we would like to further explore inter alia the following issues:
The Bali Ministerial gave a significant impetus to multilateral negotiations. How can the negotiating pillar of the WTO be further enhanced?
Conclusion of the Doha Round and post-Doha agenda – business reality and multilateral negotiations do not walk at the same pace. How can we bridge the gap?
How could the benefits of trade be better demonstrated, especially in developing countries? And what is the respective role of the WTO, national governments and businesses in this regard?
Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director General of the WTO
• Marc Vanheukelen, Permanent Representative of the EU to the WTO
Michael Punke, Deputy US Trade Representative and US Permanent Representative to the WTO
Mark van der Horst, Director of EU Affairs, UPS Europe
Johannes Kleis, Head of Communications at BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation
Moderator: Stormy Annika Mildner, Chairwoman of the BUSINESSEUROPE WTO Working Group and Head of the International Relations department in the BDI
This session discussed what trade can do for wealth and welfare. Businesses' perception of trade is usually different than that of the public - what can we do to make trade benefit all?
The panel underscored that trade is a sensitive political issue. Many equate trade with globalization, but the panellists asserted that it is part of it, but not the same as it. They suggested talking about the ways in which trade makes people’s lives better, such as increased job opportunities. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the part of our society with the greatest potential from trade. The WTO has helped SMEs through the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA).
For consumers, trade leads to lower prices and a greater variety of products. There are 41 consumer organizations in Europe, but it is not enough to say that we need to support trade agreements: increasing trade is increasing risks for consumers - there seems to be little space for consumers to benefit. Consumers are worried about the dark side of globalization. One way to counter this fear is to put an increased emphasis on responsible supply chains.
From a business perspective, reducing the costs of trade is important. This is why the TFA is good as it addresses the main barriers to trade: the treatment of products pre-arrival, automatization and risk management.
The panel said that trade is a development policy tool, and we need to use it in conjunction with other policies. We need to assist countries to benefit from trade. They noted that through the Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility, we can provide support to countries.
Panellists said that organizations working with different aspects of globalization should work closely to form rules on these global issues such as the environment and climate because these might end up as disputes, and there are no rules for these areas under the WTO.
WTO Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah commented that the power of transparency is significant, and that this is visible in the WTO's day-to-day business. He highlighted that the Nairobi Ministerial Conference provides an opportunity to take decisions and to provide instruction for future work. Business needs to know what has happened, and what may happen. He encouraged business and civil society to be engaged with the WTO.
Working session 27: Chalking it up to Trade the role of trade facilitation in improving the livelihoods of East African Women
Organiser: TradeMark East Africa
Women play a key role in trade in East Africa and could potentially contribute towards boosting trade in Africa as a driver of growth, employment and poverty reduction. Analyses of several countries have even argued that each country’s economic development is “as much female-led as it is export-led” .
However, various specific non-tariff barriers impinge particularly heavily on the trade activities of women, including low literacy rates, ignorance about border management reforms and procedures, information asymmetries on technical standards, harassment from border officials, poor infrastructure, a lack of formal networks and time poverty.
Under its Women and Trade programming, TMEA seeks to increase incomes and improve livelihoods for women traders and women-owned enterprises. Past interventions have helped define what is working and the most efficient models to deliver the various capacity building initiatives.
Through presentations by TMEA WICBT and SME beneficiaries, implementing partners and policy makers, the session will provide practical examples of how trade facilitation initiatives have promoted the participation of women in export and trade in East Africa. A focus on the gender dimensions of customs and regulatory reforms, product standards, and infrastructure will be incorporated.
Marren Akatsa-Bukachi, Executive Director, The Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), Uganda
Geoffrey Balamaga, Eastern Regional Manager, Uganda Revenue Authority, Uganda
Wanja Getambu-Kiragu, Operations Director, East Africa Online Transport Agency, Kenya
Joanne Mwangi, Chairperson, Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations, Kenya
Jessie K. Umutoni, Managing Director, G-MART, Rwanda
Dorothy Tuma, Director/Principal Consultant, DMT Consultants Ltd, Uganda
Frank Matsaert, CEO, TradeMark East Africa
Lisa Karanja, Senior Director Business Competitiveness, TradeMark East Africa
Makena Mwiti, Gender Advisor, TradeMark East Africa
Frank Matsaert from Trade Mark East Africa opened the session with a presentation that discussed Trade Mark activities and projects in East Africa focused on trade facilitation. Trade Mark East Africa has been successful in the region, with tangible achievements in facilitating trade. Joanne Mwangi from the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations (Kenya) introduced the panellists, including three women entrepreneurs, one woman leading a non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating informal cross-border traders in the region and a customs official from Uganda.
The presentation continued with the presentations by the three women entrepreneurs, who shared their successful stories of trade facilitation. Wanja Getambu-Kiragu from the East Africa Online Transport Agency (Kenya) discussed her online business transport facilitation operation, Dorothy Tuma from DMT Consultants Ltd. (Uganda) discussed her online business marketing services and Jessie K. Umutoni from G-MART (Rwanda) discussed her chalk manufacturing company. All three highlighted the need for women in trade to be creative and innovative and the need for support to leverage entrepreneurs with good ideas. The main challenges for women entrepreneurs were cited as access to finance and information. Non-governmental organizations have been found to be important partners in addressing some challenges of women's informal cross-border trading (WICBT), particularly access to information, training in customs procedures, and advocacy.
The panel noted that governments in the East African Community are working hard with Trade Mark East Africa to streamline, harmonize and build new infrastructure to facilitate trade and customs procedures.
Working session 28: Fisheries subsidies: what way forward?
Organiser: Global Ocean Commission
Can trade work if fisheries subsidies continue to distort markets, and contribute to overfishing and inequality?
The week preceding the WTO Forum, the Post-2015 Development Agenda and its 17 17 Sustainable Development Goals will have been adopted by Heads of State and Government in New York. The Sustainable Development Goal for the Ocean (SDG 14) contains a specific target on fisheries subsidies (Target 14.6).
How can the WTO respond to the mandate contained in Target 14.6? Does it represent a new opportunity for the WTO to tackle the issue of harmful fisheries subsidies, which has been stalled since the start of the Doha round? Or, will it be a broken promise? How can the WTO and relevant stakeholders prevent the latter?
Vangelis Vitalis, Ambassador, New Zealand
Namita Khatri, Deputy Permanent Representative, Fiji
Alice Tipping, International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development
Markus Knigge, Senior Advisor to the The Pew Charitable Trusts
Moderator: Rémi Parmentier, Global Ocean Commission Secretariat
Rémi Parmentier from the Global Ocean Commission Secretariat introduced the topic. Fifty per cent of fish stocks in the last decade have disappeared. How can the WTO respond to the issue of fisheries subsidies?
Namita Khatri, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Fiji, stated that oceans are vital to small island nations. More than a trade issue, it relates to people's daily lives. The Fijian government's objective is ensuring long-term sustainability for future generations. She called on a fisheries deal to be part of the Nairobi Package at the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the WTO, scheduled for December 2015.
Alice Tipping from the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development gave a historical overview of the fisheries subsidies negotiations. She noted that an agreement has stalled because of contentions related to allowable subsidies and special and differential treatment, as well as inclusion of the issue in the "single undertaking". In 2007, a draft text was prepared that was sophisticated but complex in weaving together allowable subsidies and special and differential treatment, and in 2011, convergence was seen in some parts of the text: prohibition of subsidies for illegal fishing, the transfer of old vessels to other countries and subsidies for overfished stocks. Now, in 2015, there is a change of approach - proposals are concentrated on a few issues. She said that it is too early to tell what the prospects are for the Nairobi Ministerial Conference.
Vangelis Vitalis, Ambassador of New Zealand, explored why there is not progress on a fisheries subsidies agreement. In discussing internal factors, he said that the issue itself is very complicated and involves many technical details, so much so that the main objective is easy to forget. Domestic lobbies want to keep fisheries subsidies, thus pressuring negotiators - reform is always difficult. In discussing external factors, Mr Vitalis noted that the WTO is the only serious forum to address fisheries subsidies, but this is complicated because "trade and environment" has not always been seen as a key issue. Now that this issue is important, including fisheries subsidies in a single undertaking where commitments must come with gains in exchange makes progress difficult.
Markus Knigge from the Pew Charitable Trusts presented the European Union's fisheries policy. He estimated that the proposal was initially good, but that it was watered down as it was discussed in Brussels. Concrete gains included more money for subsidies for data collection, research, control and enforcement, and the phasing-out of harmful subsidies such as aid for scrapping, aid for demolishing vessels and storage aid. However, many types of subsidies were brought back in the modified policy, such as engine replacement subsidies.
Mr Vitalis then discussed New Zealand's proposal on fisheries subsidies. The proposal prohibits subsidies for overfished stock, and illegal and unregulated fishing. It provides for special and differential treatment, and transitional arrangements. It calls for a cap – governments should not exceed what they are currently spending. And finally, it includes transparency provisions to show where governments are spending tax money.
In response to a question, Ms Tipping asserted that fisheries subsidies are an important part of the Nairobi Ministerial Conference's contribution to development.
Working session 29: Plugging in to the global agricultural value chain a perspective from developing countries in Asia
Organiser: Institute of Developing Economies Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO)
How can trade work better to let the agricultural sector of developing countries plug them into the global values chains (GVCs)? Agricultural trade is the imperative in the developing world as it generates economic growth and creates employment in rural areas. The session shows research results on agricultural trade of selected Asian developing countries (e.g. Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, and China) based on port rejection data and field investigation. In order to plug in and further climb up the GVCs, those countries need to enforce capacity building as well as efficient policy and regulation implementation from public and private sectors. A concerted effort is required to improve the conditions facing agricultural trade in Asia for greater shared benefits. Policy recommendations for governments, industrial sectors, standardization and certification bodies, as well as international organizations to address challenges will be discussed by the panellists from government, industry and academia.
Kaoru Nabeshima, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, and former Chief Senior Researcher, IDE-JETRO
Etsuyo Michida, Senior Research Fellow, IDE-JETRO
Lei Lei, Research Fellow, Business and Industry Studies Group, Inter-disciplinary Studies Center, IDE-JETRO
Tin Htut Oo, Economic Advisor and Chairman, National Economic and Social Advisory Council (NESAC), Office of the President, Republic of the Union of Myanmar
John Humphrey, Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
• Mr. Hasdan Hussin, Assistant General Manager, Quality Management, Loss Control And Risk Management Division, Aeon Co. (M) Bhd.
The panel asserted that agriculture is an important sector for development in Asia, and being part of the global production network is one way to accelerate that pathway. However, the agriculture sector in Asia faces many challenges in exporting its products. Import rejection is a major concern, as exporters are often stopped by food safety regulations. Exports are rejected for misinformation in the labelling, bacterial contamination or the issue of additives. In particular, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam tend to have the most import rejections. The panellists agreed that it is important for East Asian countries to promote agrifood exports in order to foster economic development. However, they need to strengthen their compliance with standards.
In 1997, the GlobalG.A.P. initiative came to Asia. Exporters seek to be certified by GlobalG.A.P. in order to avoid being excluded from the agrifood market. However, due to differences between countries concerning GlobalG.A.P., exporters face different standards, resulting in complexities for farmers to comply with these different standards. In order to participate in global value chains (GVCs), suppliers need to comply with standards.
The discussion moved to specific examples. In Malaysia, capacity building programmes were provided under the Sustainable Supplier Development Programme to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so that they could participate in the global value chain. In short, government support is important for SMEs in Malaysia. Myanmar exports chiefly within the region, and a significant percentage of exports are traded across the border. Furthermore, much informal trade occurs between regional countries. Public-private dialogue is important. Being part of a regional trade agreement such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is not enough. Asian suppliers need to assess which standards should be adopted. For instance, GlobalG.A.P. may be more important in some countries than others.
Working session 30: Agriculture and Trade after 20 years of WTO
Organiser: Swiss Farmers' Union
Since the WTO had been established in 1995 the issue of agriculture and trade in agricultural products had been intensely discussed. While during the earlier GATT negotiations, agriculture was mainly excluded from agreements, it has been a crucial aim to facilitate trade in agricultural products since Uruguay Round.
However, the discussion was at its peak since the start of the Doha Round negotiations, which still are not finished. Even at the Ministerial Conference in Bali 2013 agriculture was the crucial issue. But the talks did not become easier since the structure of international food supply and demand had significantly changed and food prices began to rise distressingly in 2008.
For some countries, the issue of food security had become a question of political stability. The influence of the recent developments and the perspectives for the future agriculture trade talks will be discussed in this session by farmers’ representatives from different contexts all over the world.
Evelyn Nguleka, President of the WFO, President of the National Farmers’ Union of Zambia
William Rolleston, Vice President of the WFO, President of the Farmers’ Union of New Zealand
David Wiens, Dairy Farmers of Canada
Kristin Ianssen, Vice President of the Norwegian Farmers’ Union
Piet Vanthemsche, WFO-board member, President of the Belgian Farmers’ Union
Moderator: Beat Röösli, Head international affairs, Swiss Farmers Union
The session focused on how agriculture should be addressed in the multilateral trading system and trade rules discussion, taking into account the diversification of world agriculture in size and costs. The session also discussed the relationship between farmers and the WTO, specifically how the WTO should be able to help farmers at the national level with policy inputs to discuss with the Government to help them benefit from trade.
New Zealand experiences, shared by William Rolleston from the Farmers’ Union of New Zealand, showed that subsidies in agriculture have not helped.
David Wiens from the Dairy Farmers of Canada and Kristin Ianssen from the Norwegian Farmers’ Union shared the view that market regulations work in the Canadian and Norwegian dairy sectors. They also echoed the view of Piet Vanthemsche from the Belgian Farmers’ Union about the importance of food security, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, animal welfare and social contracts in agriculture production. They said that the WTO plays an important role in correcting and stabilising the market. They called for the WTO agenda to be comprehensive, for it will be side-lined if it neglects these issues.
Specific to the relationship between farmers and the WTO, Evelyn Nguleka from the World Farmers' Organisation (WFO) and other panellists shared the view that farmers lack market power. Their voices are often not heard and there is a need to empower the position of farmers in the discussion of global value chains (GVCs).
The participants and panellists discussed in depth genetically modified organisms (GMOs), food security, the interaction between the global framework on food standards and the WTO, and the role of the WFO in policy-making at national and global levels.
The session concluded that trade rules need to allow all farmers to produce. Farmers should be able to speak for themselves, free of influence from politicians. Agri-food chains play an important role in ensuring cost efficiency and food safety. It is therefore important to facilitate inter-professional coalitions between farmer communities and food industries and to ensure the right balance of power in GVCs. The WFO will continue to play an important role in collecting views from all farmers and providing policy inputs to the trade rules discussion.
Working session 31: How can we make trade negotiations work better?
Organiser: Government of Sweden
To make trade work, trade negotiations must work. For a number of years it has been difficult to achieve results in trade negotiations, particularly at the multilateral level. The session will analyse why this is the case and discuss different ideas about what can be done to improve the effectiveness of trade negotiations. The focus will be on multilateral trade negotiations but experiences from other trade negotiations (plurilatera, “critical mass” or regional) may also inform the discussion.
Susan Schwab, former USTR
Anabel González, Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group
Karl Falkenberg, Senior Advisor, European Political Strategy Centre
Stuart Harbinson, former Permanent Representative of Hong Kong and WTO General Council Chair
Jörgen Halldin, Deputy Director General, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
Per Altenberg, Senior Advisor, National Board of Trade, Sweden
Moderator: Daniel Blockert, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the WTO, Sweden
Per Altenberg from the Swedish National Board of Trade presented his organization's report on global value chains (GVCs) and trade negotiations. He suggested that in the 20th century, negotiations worked well because export interests were mobilised to counterbalance import-competing interests. In the 21st century this has changed because of the proliferation of GVCs, which has had a direct effect on stakeholder interests by fragmenting them, and an indirect effect through a shift in the trade policy agenda from market access to behind the border issues. The general conclusions of the report are that reciprocity is still effective for market access liberalisation, GATT-style negotiations do not work for deep integration issues (which are becoming more important), and that trust- and confidence-building is increasingly important to push forward negotiations. Mr Altenberg concluded by saying that "we need to do things differently and it is time to do it now”.
The panel undertook a wide-ranging discussion. Among the points discussed, it concluded that the style of the negotiations has worked well in the 20th century, but less so in the 21st century because they need to take into account the changing environment and trends in international trade. They attributed the private sector attention deficit in the Doha Round to the fact that there is nothing happening at the moment, and noted that the private sector will participate if there are visible results. The panellists estimated that the approach of a single undertaking is not feasible, and that the WTO should rather address “doables” and then move forward to more difficult things step-by-step. They pointed out the need to establish communication between regulators and negotiators to facilitate trade negotiations.
The panel estimated that small- and medium-sized enterprises have the most to benefit from trade negotiations in terms of trade cost reductions. Anabel González from the World Bank Group said that aside from GVCs, Internet and social media have had a huge impact on trade negotiations through enhancing transparency and globalising the opposition. It is important to take account of labour unions and professional associations, the other important stakeholders in trade negotiations.
Capacity-building for transparency in developing countries was underlined as an important goal. Karl Falkenberg from the European Political Strategy Centre defended the multilateral approach, but warned that sometimes premature transparency can be an impediment to negotiations. Finally Stuart Harbinson, the former Permanent Representative of Hong Kong and the WTO General Council Chair, argued that there is no fatal institutional or procedural flaw in the Doha Development Agenda or in the WTO which prevents progress in negotiations. In his estimation, this has rather been due to the disagreement on the substance between some key players.
Working session 32: Fossil-fuel subsidies: a trade perspective
Organiser: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The problems caused by fossil fuel subsidies (FFS) have long been recognized, but mainly those related to the environment. The effects of FFS on trade have been less discussed, and consequently international efforts to monitor and control them have been driven by institutions other than the WTO. Yet, because of its established rules on subsidies, it would seem that the WTO could be in a strong position to discipline FFS. This session will explore ways in which work at the WTO could complement activities already taking place elsewhere and assist the global campaign to reduce FFS. As background, it will also discuss the nature of FFS – their size, distribution, and specificity – and their effects on trade, not just in fossil fuels but also in goods and services affected by FFS. This session comes at a propitious moment, given the on-going negotiations to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, to which fossil-fuel combustion is a major contributor.
Jehan Sauvage, Trade Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Vangelis Vitalis, Ambassador of New Zealand to the WTO
Gabrielle Marceau, Counselor, WTO
Mark Halle, Director of Trade and Investment and European Representative at the International Institute for Sustainable Development
• Daniel Crosby, a partner at the Geneva branch of the law firm, King & Spalding
Moderator: Ronald Steenblik, Senior Trade Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The panel noted that fossil fuel subsidies (FFS) are costly, harmful and distortive. They are costly for national budgets, harmful for the environment and distortive since FFS have an impact on relative prices and change incentives for consumers. Therefore, monitoring and evaluation of FFS is needed in order to develop the means to countervail negative effects (by both hard law and soft guidelines). Eliminating subsidies is a multilateral issue.
The panel noted the challenges of measuring subsidies. The International Energy Agency uses a price-gap approach –it compares local domestic fuel prices with the international reference price. The problem with this method is that only price-related subsidies are considered, and all policies that have no impact on prices are ignored.
Today there is a trend towards fewer FFS, mainly due to Mexico forgoing its negative taxes. The panel said the role of the WTO in this issue is limited, but the Trade Policy Review Body helps countries to increase transparency in their FFS. The panel pleaded for FFS to be judged in terms of sustainable development issues, not only their impact on trade.
Workshop 4: Adding Services Value to Manufacturing Supply Chains in Asia
Organiser: Asia Trade Centre
Early evidence from the WTO/OECD Trade in Value Added (TiVA) database pointed to new sources of value in manufacturing—the services embedded or embodied in manufacturing trade across borders. We know that services are an important element of cross-border trade flows with aggregate numbers suggesting perhaps 40 percent of the value of goods could be instead understood as trade in services.
This panel presents the results of a series of comprehensive case studies conducted by a team of experts across Asia to help us better understand the complex connections between manufacturing supply chains and the value addition of services. Cases track a specific item in a firm’s inventory, consider the overall value of services contained in the supply chain, and teases out the nature and type of services. Of particular importance are services that are supplied in house and those that are outsourced. Many services are supplied in bundles and the extent of outsourcing appears to depend in part on the size of the lead firm.
Given that services can increasingly be supplied global by firms both large and small, a better understanding of the processes of inclusion of services value in the supply chains of firms across Asia could dramatically improve government policies to attract and grow their companies. The preliminary results from these case studies suggest that manufacturing chains cannot be separated from services. Governments that want to improve conditions for manufacturing must also consider improvements to services.
Patrick Low, Asia Global Institute, Hong Kong
William Haines, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona
Deborah Elms, Asian Trade Centre, Singapore
Sherry Stephenson, ICTSD, Geneva
Moderator: Aik Hoe Lim, Director, Trade and Environment Division, WTO
This session identified lessons from in-depth case studies of how services contribute to manufactured goods. After examining the service contributions at the level of manufacturing firms for three products - a jacket, Scotch, and an automobile - the session concluded with some preliminary trends in the role of services as building value for products in global value chains (GVCs).
For a variety of products and industries within Asia, the average number of distinct service inputs is 39. And of those, nearly two-thirds are outsourced, many to local firms. Although many firms are export-oriented, there are varying degrees of familiarity with regional trade agreements, free trade agreements and particularly the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for the East Asian region. On the whole, it is clear the way that services are built-in to the supply chain and that their connection with the final product is evolving. Understanding these relationships could hold the key to better policies that embraces the inextricability of goods and services and unlocks the potential for GVC growth.
A book and its author : International Trade in the XXIst century: limits and challenges for trade defence
Presented by WTO Bookshop and Library
Felipe Hees, Diplomat, former director of the Department of Trade Remedies (DECOM) of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC) of Brazil
Tatiana Lacerda Prazeres, Senior Advisor to the WTO Director-General
Pedro da Motta Veiga, Director of the Centre for Studies in Integration and Development (CINDES) and managing partner at Ecostrat Consultants.
Vera Thorstensen, professor at the School of Economics from the Getulio Vargas Foundation and Head of the Center on Global Trade and Investments
BOOK PRESENTATION: The Invisible Enabler: A perspective on the role of low-cost, efficient shipping in making trade work
A.P. Moller Maersk
The low-tech invention of the simple container sparked innovations in technologies, communication and education to create efficient systems that enable manufactures to set up production and to distribute their goods in a global market place. Maritime transport is the backbone of international transport, and indeed of the growth in most developing countries. An efficient port infrastructure has positive implications on the hinterland economy. However, the transport of goods is invisible to most consumers. Containers are moved in terminals away from people, contrary to before when boxes, bales and drums were handled by scores of longshoremen in ports close to city centers. Deep sea and in-land distribution of products in constantly changing and expanding networks is managed using complex IT systems, reducing cost and time to market. By highlighting fundamental innovations of the past 50 years, the session offers a perspective on the importance of the shipping and logistics industries in today’s global trade.
Henning Morgen, General Manager in Group Communication & Branding, A.P. Moller – Maersk
Henning Morgen of A.P. Moller – Maersk said international trade would not have been realized without lower costs. The containerization of trade is one such area that has vastly contributed to this phenomenon. Without the container, manufacturing would have remained a local process.
From 1966, when containers were first introduced, there has been a major evolution in the way we trade. Quantities increased from 10 tonnes per hour to 350 tonnes per hour today; insurance costs saw a 90 per cent reduction, and the time to ship and handle shipping was reduced dramatically. Through containerization, one can realize economies of scale. Thousands of shoes can be put into a container, and thousands of containers can be put into a ship. This has resulted in the unit costs of trade for a pair of shoes as low as US$ 0.25.
Shipping and logistics services have indeed come a long way in enabling trade but more needs to be done. Whilst companies such as A.P. Moller - Maersk have traditionally focused on efficiency at the border (such as ports), "outside the terminal" issues such as IT and transport infrastructure have become important cost determinants as the efficiency of these networks affect the final price of goods.
AP Moller - Maersk is now assisting to ensure that roads and IT networks are sufficient to get products to the final consumer at a lower cost and time. Examples of linking these networks include the ports of Lagos and Accra. Other initiatives include its "Shipping Information Pipeline".
In response to a question about the future of shipping, Mr Morgen said that demand is not for bigger ships. Rather there is a need to ensure ships are more agile to meet the needs of South-South trade. Another question asked how Maersk sought to adapt to climate change. Mr Morgen said that fuel prices remain the highest cost. Slow steaming (sailing slower) is a technique being currently deployed as it saves carbon, but it also increases the time to trade. Maersk is also establishing standards to measure carbon per container.
Workshop 5: Navigating the relationship between food security policy measures and trade rules: an interactive policy tool
Organiser: Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)
Food security will be a critical part of the 10th WTO Ministerial. WTO State Members are characterized by a diversity of agricultural systems, both within and amongst countries. The WTO Public Forum Theme Trade Works poses many important questions, including why some countries have benefited more from trade than others, whether trade can work alone, and how countries can integrate trade opportunities into other social and economic policies including those related to food security. What is needed is a greater understanding of how food security policy measures and trade rules relate. This workshop will launch an interactive, computer-based tool that helps policy makers navigate the relationship between 60 food security policy measures and trade rules. We invite you to come explore this tool and provide input to enable its further development as a relevant and user-friendly tool for those who care about food security and trade.
Susan H. Bragdon, Quaker United Nations Office
Jerome Bunyi, Agricultural Attaché, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the WTO (tbc)
Isabel Mazzei, Agricultural Attaché, Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the WTO (tbc)
Dr. Jennifer Clapp, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Canada (tbc)
The session explored and gave feedback on a food security policy tool developed by Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO). The tool is an interactive mobile app and web-based program that analyses over 60 food security policy measures. The purpose of the tool is to make it easier for small-scale farmers, trade policy-makers and negotiators to have access to information on how measures impact food security. It is a work in progress, with many additions to be made such as a "Wiki" function where users can post their experiences on food security-related policies that have affected them.
The session began with a presentation from QUNO, describing the purpose and the content of the tool. Afterwards, participants were invited to explore the tool on four laptops set up around the room. It presented a hands-on opportunity for the participants to learn about a policy tool.
Workshop 6: The Age of Servicification: Are Goods Services? Are Services Goods? Exploring the need to integrate policy, economic and legal perspectives (and possibly trade disciplines) on goods and services
Organiser: WTI Advisors Oxford/Geneva and Asia Global Institute, Hong Kong
Goods and services have long been seen as generally complementary but conceptually quite separate. This may have always been questionable, but is now directly challenged by 21st century business reality. The rise of servicification, the emergence of ever more finely segmented value chains and the integration of bundles of goods and services in sophisticated technology products mean that much cross-border value generation today often involves both goods and services in close connection, their separation for purposes of policy making, regulation and economic analysis often being neither desirable nor meaningfully feasible. More generally the interrelationship between goods and services sector development, and hence between trade in goods and services is a key concern which policy makers, negotiators and treaty designers cannot ignore.
This workshop, in a panel-led but open discussion aims to address the question of coherence and convergence in law, economics and policy on goods and services, and attempt to provide forward-looking – and where appropriate: creative – leads to possible answers.
Patrick Low, Fellow, Asia Global Institute
Emilie Anér, Senior Adviser, National Board of Trade, Sweden (Kommerskollegium)
Lucian Cernat, Chief Economist, European Commission – DG TRADE
Rudolf Adlung, formerly Counsellor, WTO Secretariat – Services Division
Daniel Crosby, Partner, King & Spalding
Moderator: Hannes Schloemann, Director, WTI Advisors, and Partner, MSBH Bernzen Sonntag Rechtsanwälte
The panel touched upon the growing role of services in businesses worldwide – or servicification – now representing half of world trade, and the challenges this poses both in terms of production and consumption. The panel said that the recent measurement of trade in value-added (TiVA) highlighted the major role that services plays in world trade. The panellists called for a shift in mind-set and policy, particularly as services are often more protected and policy-hidden than goods.
The panel said that a recent approach suggesting a new indirect mode of services supply – "mode 5" – takes into consideration the services inputs in manufacturing sectors’ exports. This concerns 8 million jobs in the European Union. This approach was developed as the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) does not cover this type of value-added trade.
Nowadays, technology blurs the distinction between goods and services. Barriers to the flow of services matter to the flow of goods and vice-versa. However, WTO agreements provide distinct rules for both. Could this be changed, the panel asked, making a call to adapt global trade rules to the technological reality. For example, how does 3D printing fit into the WTO rules on customs valuation or rules of origin? And could the WTO treat goods and services in a single investment chapter?
Workshop 7: Sharing of experiences by WTO Chairs
Organiser: WTO Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) and Economic Research and Statistics Division of the WTO
This session will review and discuss how trade works from the WTO Chairs perspective, i.e. what are some of the main experiences of and lessons learned by the Chairs and what can be done better? What are the main challenges that the Chairs are facing? How do the Chairs go about making policy recommendations and how do these then find their ways in policy decisions? What further support can be provided to the WTO Chairs? The panel will bring together WTO Chairs and policy makers. Following a short introduction to the Chairs program, WTO Chairs will provide their perspectives on how their work is relevant for policy decisions. Perspectives will then be offered from the side of government officials, who are the users of the research findings and policy recommendations, both in developed and developing countries. In addition to WTO Chairs, this session will include Ambassadors and representatives from international organizations
Fulbert Amoussouga Gero, WTO Chairholder Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Haute École Régionale du Commerce International (HERCI) Benin
Keith, Ronald Nurse WTO Chairholder, Director Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services University of the West Indies Barbados
Vera Thorstensen, WTO Chairholder, Center of Global Trade and Investment (CGTI) Head, Getulio Vargas Foundation, São Paulo School of Economics Brazil
Pinar Artiran, WTO Chairholder Istanbul Bilgi University Turkey
Moderator: Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General WTO
During this session, WTO Chairs based in Brazil, Turkey and Barbados shared their experiences, and reviewed and discussed how trade works from their perspective. Yonov Frederick Agah, WTO Deputy Director-General and the moderator of this session, gave an overview of the WTO Chairs Programme. The purpose of the Chairs Programme is to enhance knowledge and understanding of the trading system among academics and policy-makers in developing countries through curriculum development, research and outreach activities by universities and research institutions.
Vera Thorstensen, WTO Chair from the Getulio Vargas Foundation, noted her biggest challenge was to convince people in Brazil that the WTO plays an important role. She has sought to do this through events, publications, e-learning (very successful), tratadoteca (treaties library), relaitura project (portal with all WTO legal texts and respective Appellate Body rulings) and activities on exchange rates and economic modelling.
Pinar Artiran, WTO Chair from Bilgi University Turkey, gave an overview of her project's activities. She established a Research Centre on International Trade and Arbitration, and cooperates with the WTO and Turkish academia to implement three pillars of the WTO Chairs Programme: curriculum development, research and outreach. Her biggest concern and challenge is the absence of such a field or specialization as WTO law and economics. She explained that as long as it is not recognised as a separate legal field and there is no potential for students to become full professors in the area, they will not be interested in studying the subject. Among other challenges she mentioned lack of coordination between different stakeholders in society as to how to raise awareness about the WTO, and language barriers and the need to translate WTO documents into more than three languages.
Keith Ronald Nurse, WTO Chair from the University of the West Indies (Barbados),represented the interests of the Caribbean region - particularly, small island developing states (SIDS). He briefed the audience on the main focus of his work and gave an overview of the current state of trade and the economy in SIDS. He explained that because Barbados has a trade-related educational track (the Master Program on Trade Policy), his work focuses on new areas of trade, such as the relationship of climate change and trade policy, tourism, global value chains, diasporic entrepreneurship, industrial upgrading and aid for innovation. He emphasised that trade plays a crucial role in SIDS, and that signing trade agreements is not sufficient to generate export potential. He stated that SIDS must change its approach from passive (foreign direct investment, trade liberalization, negotiating market access) to active (innovation, industrial upgrading, market entry programmes). He called on the global community to help foster such transitions.
Dr Thorstensensupported Dr Artiran's position on the need to recognize and establish a separate field – a specialization such as WTO law and economics - and admitted she had faced the same issue in Brazil. A representative of the WTO's Economic Research and Statistics Division expressed interest in potentially partnering with Chairs on such topics as trade and poverty alleviation, trade and small and medium-sized enterprises, trade and growth, and trade costs. They stressed the importance of creation of research networks and sharing experiences. In conclusion, Deputy Director-General Agah advised the Chairs to work closely with each other and to share results with civil society.
Workshop 8: The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation: Practical Public-Private Partnership
Organiser: World Economic Forum (WEF)
Trade works when large and small businesses can easily engage in cross-border commerce and the benefits are broadly shared. Trade facilitation implementation makes trade quicker, easier and cheaper – and more accessible to all.
Practical supply chain experience has proved crucial in removing barriers and reducing delays. As part of a multi-stakeholder approach, the private sector can play a strong role in directing support to the areas of greatest need and ensuring tipping points are reached. An emerging Trade Facilitation Implementation Alliance hopes to help multinational corporations and developing country small and medium businesses to partner with governments to deliver trade facilitation reforms.
How can international trade facilitation actors drive closer collaboration?
How should local and international business best interact with multilateral and bilateral efforts?
Fernando de Mateo, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the WTO
Steven Pope, Vice President Customs & Regulatory Affairs, DHL Express
Andreas Schaumayer, Deputy Head of Division, Trade Related Development Cooperation, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Matthew Wilson, Chief Advisor to the Executive Director, International Trade Centre
Moderator: Sean Doherty, Head, Trade & Investment, World Economic Forum
This workshop discussed how public-private partnerships can allow a successful implementation of the WTO's Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). The panellists represented different actors and interested parties in the implementation of trade facilitation provisions.
Fernando de Mateo, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the WTO and WTO General Council Chair, explained how the implementation of the TFA in Mexico has helped develop its trade and benefits its population. Trade facilitation has provided opportunities to the poorest individuals (not only small- and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs) to obtain goods at a better price, and has benefitted SMEs in promoting growth through global value chains. He mentioned the importance of ensuring that a country can conduct business quickly, and the impact of customs dispatches and merchandise controls at the borders. Mr de Mateo also explained the importance of negotiations in this matter, and that Mexico was one of the first countries to put all goods under Category A of the TFA.
Steven Pope from DHL discussed DHL's cooperation with public-private sector representatives in order to encourage implementation of the TFA. It is in its best interest to continue to contribute in this process because its revenues depend on it. Thus, it has staff that work in the public sector of different countries to ensure that DHL shares and engages with administrations. DHL is interested in piloting any TFA efforts with the countries themselves. In a certain country, a cooperative project with DHL reduced trade costs by 50 per cent, and this resulted in price reductions for consumers. DHL benefited by doubling the volume of SMEs engaged in export. He concluded by saying that Bali negotiations and the TFA were very important for DHL. DHL supports such initiatives such as the Global Alliance of the public-private sector presented at the WTO during the Fifth Global Review of Aid for Trade.
Andreas Schaumayer from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) noted the importance of public-private cooperation for developing and least-developed countries (LDCs). The Global Alliance answers the need to combine businesses' experiences and public sector administration in the service of the private sector, consumers and the public. It seeks to raise awareness in developing countries, to give support to capacity building programmes, and to mobilize technical expertise to support alliance objectives - this is why they need also businesses on their side. Mr Schaumayer mentioned that this alliance is expected to work with 12-15 countries, along with several international organizations (the International Trade Centre, the World Economic Forum, and the World Customs Organization among others). The official launch of the Global Alliance is expected to take place during the Tenth Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Nairobi in December 2015.
Matthew Wilson from the International Trade Centre remarked that we are finally seeing collaboration between the private sector and the WTO. The Global Alliance will represent a platform to bring together all interested parties. A proper implementation of the TFA takes time, money and a lot of support. Therefore, it requires a coordinated effort among border agencies and businesses; the latter can help identify needs and contribute funding to the initiative. It is a matter of competitiveness: with a similar set of factors of production, those countries that have the simplest TFA system will succeed. In closing, Mr Wilson said that in order to build best practices you need to learn from what others have done, have a dialogue, and take what works in your own country and implement it.
Workshop 9: The importance of bringing investment governance to the WTO: challenges and dilemmas
Organiser: Confederaηγo Nacional da Indϊstria (CNI) and Centro de Estudos de Integraηγo e Desenvolvimento (CINDES)
The Session will address (i) the current situation of the international governance of investment, its challenges and dilemmas (economic as well as political); and (ii) the issues relating to the inclusion of international investment as a comprehensive issue in the WTO post-Bali agenda.
The questions to be addressed in the Working Session will include:
Should a Multilateral Investments Agreement be incorporated to the Post-Doha Round WTO trade negotiations agenda?
Which should be the main elements of the multilateral negotiations on investment, in terms of scope, objectives and instruments?
How should economic development concerns be taken into account without jeopardizing the goal of protecting investment rights?
How should social and environmental concerns be taken into account without jeopardizing the goal of protecting investment rights?
How could the TPP and TTIP negotiations on investment affect the perspective of including the investment issue in the WTO post-Bali agenda?
James Zhan, Director of Investment and Enterprise at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD
Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Heads of the Economic Law & Policy work of the International Institute on Sustainable Development - IISD
Peter Draper, Director of Tutwa Consulting
Fabrizio Sardelli Panzini, Policy and Industry Specialist at National Confederation of Industry – CNI
Moderator: Sandra Polónia Rios, Director, Centro de Estudos de Integração Internacional – CINDES
Sandra Polónia Rios of the Centro de Estudos de Integração Internacional (CINDES) presented bilateral investment treaties (BITs): what they are, criticisms from stakeholders and finally the issue of bringing investment to the WTO in a post-Doha Round agenda.
James Zhan of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) commented on the global investment decline. He attributed the slowdown of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the fragility of the global economy, policy uncertainty and escalation of geopolitical risks. Developing Asia became the largest outward investment region in the world, surpassing both the US and the European Union- a tectonic change. Mr Zhan noted that meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require that resources be mobilized and channelled to SDG sectors so as to assure sustainable impact. This produces a dichotomy: on the one hand, countries seek to attract FDI, but on the other hand, countries are increasing measures restricting investment. He concluded: "Now we have an obligation to fulfil the SDGs, but those SDG sectors are the less liberalized (health, education). How can we ensure FDI flows to these protected areas so that they can produce accessible goods and services affordable for the poor?"
Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder from the International Institute on Sustainable Development spoke about the Indian international investment agreement model, which is very different from the South African model. It includes home state obligations and investor obligations (the investor has to comply with home state law - if there is a violation, the investor loses the benefits of the treaty). Also, he addressed the European Union (EU) Commission proposal on an investment court for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): a tribunal with 15 judges, five elected by the EU, five by the U.S. and five from other countries. The court would hear cases with a three-judge composition. Ms Bernasconi-Osterwalder concluded that bringing this question to a multilateral level would be difficult, as most countries are reluctant to even change a footnote of their international investment agreements.
Workshop 10: IP: a Trade Resource
Organiser: The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI)
This workshop will discuss how IP rights (mainly patents but also trademarks and designs) constitute a trade resource, from the perspective of the impact of IP rights and innovation on international trade. Specific topics to be discussed include:
the impact of IP on economies in development and advanced economies, in relation to collaboration between innovators in cross-country projects, and in relation to public health within the TRIPS framework;
trademarks in the context of securing traders' identities in a global world;
a country specific example, India, of development of an IP policy
A brief presentation about the work of AIPPI in this context will also be included.
Ivan Hjertman, European Patent Attorney, Stockholm, Sweden. Chair, AIPPI Standing Committee on TRIPS
Catherine Mateu, Lawyer at the Paris Bar, Specialist in Intellectual Property Law, Paris, France, Member, AIPPI Standing Committee on TRIPS, Co-Chair of the Designs Committee of the French Group of AIPPI
Manoj Menda, Advocate, Patent and Trade Mark Attorney, Mumbai, India. Co-Chair, AIPPI Standing Committee TRIPS
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Executive Director, European Center for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
Ivan Hjertman, Chair of the Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle (AIPPI) Standing Committee on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), introduced the AIPPI. It was founded in 1897 in the context of the industrial revolution in Europe, shortly after the Paris Convention came into being. Today it is one of the biggest professional intellectual property (IP) associations in the world, with over 9,000 members and national groups spread across all continents. Each year, the AIPPI chooses four working questions of substantive IP regulation for study. The resulting national reports on each question, as well as the AIPPI's resolutions on these questions, provide a rich resource of knowledge and factual information on national IP laws. Recent questions include trademark protection of goods in transit, plain packaging, source disclosure of patent application in genetic resources, and secondary medical uses in pharmaceutical patents.
Catherine Matheu, a member of the AIPPI Standing Committee on TRIPS, illustrated the broad application of IP across countries and business models, and emphasized the balanced view the association has taken on various IP issues. She provided examples of the trade-enabling role of IP from the fashion industry (TOMS shoes), the food industry (Café de Colombia), and the industrial joint venture (technology licensing in a Japanese-Egyptian desalination plant in Iraq).
Manoj Menda, co-chair of the AIPPI Standing Committee on TRIPS, gave an overview of the IP situation in India, and the related policy considerations the new Indian government has discussed since taking office one year ago. He highlighted the considerable efforts by India to reduce the significant backlog in patent and trademark applications, including the dramatic increase in numbers of patent examiners, which will reach an unprecedented 1,000 by 2017. A first think tank report released in January 2015 on the government-mandated development of an IP policy indicated an intention to foster respect for IP culture, sensitize inventors and creators on the importance of IP, counteract piracy and counterfeiting, create new IP benches of the appellate board, and create new special IP courts in the high courts of India.
Workshop 11: A Rules-Based International Trading System after 20 Years
Organiser: WTO Legal Affairs Division
The creation of the WTO brought about the strengthening of the legal framework of the multilateral trading system. Governments have since incorporated the rules emanating from the WTO covered agreements into their domestic legal systems. Also, WTO Members have routinely recourse to the WTO dispute settlement system with a view to having WTO bodies review the consistency of another Member's measure with the covered agreements. "WTO law" has thus become a vibrant field of public international law, with many scholars and international bodies citing DSB recommendations and rulings as relevant authorities.
Yet the legal framework of the multilateral trading system is not without challenges. The plethora of regional trade agreements around the world, coupled with the ongoing negotiations of so-called "mega-regionals" between the European Union and the United States (TTIP) and among the countries alongside the Pacific Ocean (TTP), will bring about parallel legal rules governing regional trade relations.
Against this backdrop, this session seeks to discuss the contribution of the WTO as a rules-based organization over the last 20 years and to debate the future of the legal framework of the multilateral trading system.
Georges Abi-Saab, honorary professor at the Graduate Institute (Geneva) and former Chair of the WTO Appellate Body
Frieder Roessler, last Director of GATT Legal Affairs; first Director of WTO Legal Affairs; and first Director of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law
Thomas Cottier, founder and former managing director of the World Trade Institute
Joost Pauwelyn, professor at the Graduate Institute
Moderator: Harald Neple, Chair of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body and Permanent Representative of Norway to the WTO and EFTA
Georges Abi-Saab, former Chair of the WTO Appellate Body (AB), explored the interaction between WTO law and general international law. He pointed out that during the GATT era, the GATT was averse to lawyers and legal principles, but the adoption of the negative consensus rule, along with the creation of the AB in the WTO, brought about an improvement in consistency and adherence to the rules. He also shared his view that the WTO legal system was not a "self-contained" regime. The WTO is informed by public international law, as evinced by the AB's recognition and use of the customary principles of treaty interpretation and attribution. Dr Abi-Saab also observed that other systems of international law had incorporated WTO law, and offered as examples two dissenting opinions by judges of the International Court of Justice, where they cited WTO decisions.
Frieder Roessler, the last Director of GATT Legal Affairs; first Director of WTO Legal Affairs; and first Director of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law, highlighted a number of points on the transition from GATT-era dispute settlement (DS) to the present-day WTO dispute settlement system. He pointed out that the GATT-era model of DS was primarily based on conciliation rather than adjudication. Such emphasis raised concerns about the applicability of the model in a compulsory, adjudicatory system. In particular, the adaptation of this system to a compulsory system of adjudication raised concerns over: (1) potential gaps in the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU - notably with respect to procedural matters); (2) the absence of checks and balances given the automaticity of report adoption through the negative consensus rule; and (3) the potential for highly politicised cases to be brought to compulsory DS. However, such concerns have failed to materialize, as a result of the interpretation of the relevant provisions by panels and the AB; and the agreements by the parties to the dispute agreeing on relevant rules, for example, to the principle of public hearings.
Thomas Cottier from the World Trade Institute pointed out that the effectiveness of WTO law depends on its status in the domestic legal systems and argued that the traditional distinction between monism and dualism is outdated and does not reflect reality. Instead, he considered the issue of direct effect as a matter of justiciability: whether the matter pertains to the province of the courts, or rather the political branches. Other panellists and members of the audience were more sceptical of WTO law having a direct effect in domestic legal systems, arguing that it could lead to fragmentation of WTO law and contradict the flexibility that had heretofore been key in the success of WTO law.
Joost Pauwelyn from the Graduate Institute, Geneva referred to the "unstoppable force" of regional trade agreements (RTAs) in the international trade negotiations agenda. He pointed out that the growing number of RTAs, including WTO-plus issues, contrasted with the lengthy and stalled WTO Doha negotiations. He also noted that around 67 per cent of RTA provisions were WTO-inconsistent, though only on one occasion have members brought a dispute to the WTO DS that shed light on the conditions under which RTAs and customs unions should be entered into by WTO members, (for example, "Turkey – Textiles"). Dr Pauwelyn also referred to recent decisions of the AB, and observed a need for new rules on the interpretation of conflicting preferential trade agreements, and clarity in the drafting and interpretation of forum-choice clauses.
Workshop 12: The Importance of Local Industrys Engagement in the implementation of the TFA
Organiser: International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA)
The implementation of the WTO TFA is crucial, epochal work that requires participation at all levels of the public and private hand. FIATA sees that suggested improvements in the regulatory interface with logistics service providers, international traders and authorities could be part of the outcomes of the event. In terms of facilitation the creation of National Committees and the mission contained in their terms of reference as well as their composition is crucial for effective deliverables. The presence of freight forwarders, logistics service providers and Customs agents in their formation is essential in our view. The WCO commented in particular as to members of the WCO (the Customs administration in member economies) as to the creation of a National Committee on Trade Facilitation to give effect to Article 23.2 of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
FIATA strongly encourages the WTO signatory countries competent authorities (e.g. Customs, Department of Trade, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, etc.) to engage with industry in their own countries to further assist the swift and efficient implementation of the agreement as widely as possible in the world. FIATA Association Members are ready to assist.
Mohammad Saeed Senior Adviser, Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business, ITC
Milena Budimirovic, Responsible for the WCO TFA Working Group, WCO
Nora Neufeld, Counselor, Trade Policy Review Division, WTO
Donia Hammami, Head Taxation, Customs & Trade Facilitation Policy, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Francesco Parisi, Immediate Past President, FIATA
Marco Sorgetti, Director General, FIATA
• Jan Hoffmann, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section at UNCTAD
Moderator: Christian Doepgen, Editor-in-Chief, International Transport Journal
The panel noted that despite the low number of ratifications received to date, business representatives at the meeting saw strong political support among governments for adopting and implementing the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). One significant aspect of the TFA is the provisions related to information technology. Speakers highlighted the importance of harmonizing electronic notification and information exchange systems. The private sector will play a key role not only in providing the support to implement the TFA, but also in providing feedback to governments on any problems or bottlenecks encountered.
In regards to trade facilitation generally, business representatives identified differences in the application of rules of origin (preferential vs non-preferential) and the fixing of reference prices for customs valuation as key problems to address in the future. One speaker noted that, in regards to maritime trade, developing countries are now importing as much as they export, a clear sign of their growing integration into global value chains.
During the question period, several audience members commented on the importance of integrating customs information technology systems to facilitate electronic data exchange. The role of customs brokers - the most difficult issue in the final stages of the TFA negotiations – was also debated.
BOOK LAUNCH: The Making of the TRIPS Agreement: Personal Insights from the Uruguay Round Negotiations
The Making of the TRIPS Agreement presents for the first time the diverse personal accounts of the negotiators of this unique trade agreement. Their rich contributions illustrate how different policy perspectives and trade interests were accommodated in the final text, and map the shifting alliances that transcended conventional boundaries between developed and developing countries, with a close look at issues such as copyright for software, patents on medicines and the appropriate scope of protection of geographical indications. Contributors share their views on how intellectual property fitted into the overall Uruguay Round, the political and economic considerations driving TRIPS negotiations, the role of non-state actors, the sources of the substantive and procedural standards that were built into the TRIPS Agreement, and future issues in the area of intellectual property. In probing how negotiations led to an enduring agreement that has served as a framework for policymaking in many countries, the contributions offer lessons for current and future negotiators. The contributors highlight the enabling effect of a clear negotiating agenda, and underscore the important, but distinct, roles of the Chair, of the Secretariat and above all, of the negotiators themselves.
Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Jayashree Watal, co-editor, author-contributor and Counsellor, WTO Intellectual Property Division
Thomas Cottier, author-contributor and Professor of European and International Economic Law at the University of Berne
Antonio Gustavo Trombetta, author-contributor and Ambassador of Argentina to Switzerland
Thu Lang Tran Wasescha, author-contributor and IP Consultant and part-time Counsellor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
Hannu Wager, author-contributor and Counsellor, WTO Intellectual Property Division
Adrian Macey, author-contributor and Senior Associate, Victoria University of Wellington
Antony Taubman, co-editor, author-contributor and Director of the WTO Intellectual Property Division
Moderators: Jayashree Watal, co-editor, author-contributor and Counsellor, WTO Intellectual Property Division and
Antony Taubman, co-editor, author-contributor and Director of the WTO Intellectual Property Division
Working session 33: How TRIPS Works: the Law and Economics of Intellectual Property since TRIPS
Organiser: WTO Intellectual Property Division
This session will critically examine, through empirical evidence, economic and legal developments in IP since the advent of the TRIPS Agreement in 1995, notably (i) changing patterns of engagement in the international IP system, focussing on emerging economies and the growing geographical diversity of those using the TRIPS framework; (ii) policy lessons and trends illustrated by 20 years of notifications from WTO Members concerning their diverse legal and policy choices under TRIPS; (iii) international efforts to harness international trade and the IP system to facilitate access to medicine, and the impact of TRIPS for public health and access to medicines; (iv) the changing international legal framework for IP that has developed since TRIPS, contrasting adherence to key international IP treaties with the growth and diversity of bilateral and regional normsetting. The expert panel will discuss future of IPRs in the multilateral trading system in the light of these and other developments, and launch a brochure in the WTO@20 series entitled: Economic and Legal Developments in Intellectual Property since TRIPS.
Keith Maskus. Professor at the University of Colorado
Adrian Macey, Senior Associate, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.
Moderator: Jayashree Watal, WTO Secretariat (IPD)
The panel noted that the meaning of the words "world", "trade" and "organization" have changed since the creation of the WTO. The world is different due to geopolitical changes, a number of countries evolving as sovereign economies, the transformation of patent offices and a significant increase in patent activity. As regards trade, the general definition has moved beyond tangible goods to include the idea of intellectual property (IP) as a tradable component, and countries looking to promote this trade. The concept of organization as it pertains to the WTO has shifted. The WTO has been transformed by virtue of numerous accessions, regional trade agreements and other matters utterly changing the environment and creating an adequate framework for interoperability.
Looking at the world in terms of value chains, one sees that IP plays a significant role. The key intellectual property instruments before the WTO – the Berne and Paris Conventions – did not have a dispute settlement component. Today, the WTO's dispute settlement system appears to be satisfactory, at least in trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS)-related matters. Promotion of the most-favoured nation principle is an important phenomenon for IP, since it allows an increased "water level" with every single agreement concluded by the members.
Looking forward, the panel noted that there is a need to move beyond fragmentation and to take a more holistic approach with regard to the IP legal body. The WTO TRIPS Agreement sets the minimal standard for IP protection, but if a comprehensive approach is taken, the limits could be defined. The panellists urged for a consideration of the concerns raised by developing countries, and to incentivize research in relevant areas, particularly in regards to TRIPS.
The forthcoming Paris Convention on Climate Change, which will be negotiated by policymakers in Paris in December 2015, will be a landmark because all countries will have to make a contribution. The panel noted that it is crucial to decarbonise the world economy, and pricing carbon emissions is a good start. Concurrently, the energy system must shift to renewable energy, which will be hugely influential, but massive investment is needed for this transition. The panel concluded by noted that it is hard to determine what role IP might play in this transition, but that it should be seen through the lens of technology.
Working session 34: Why Rules of Origin Matter
Organiser: World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI)
The WFSGI session would be dedicated to the role that rules of origin play for the private sector and global trade.
In one part of the session the benefits of simplified rules of origins for least developed countries would be discussed. Besides panellists will put forward the challenges caused by free trade agreements with diverging rules of origin. Furthermore the non-preferential rules of origin will be addressed and the role they play with regard to trade remedies
Stefano Inama, Senior Expert at UNCTAD, Integrated Framework (IF) Office of the Coordinator of Least Developed Countries
Edwin Vermulst, VVGB Partner and WFSGI Trade Counsel
Jonathan O’Riordan, Expert Governmental Affiars, Puma
Jeff Whalen, Senior Counsel, Customs and International Trade, Legal Department, NIKE and WFSGI Trade Committee Chairman.
The session discussed the negative impact that non-harmonized rules of origin exert on global trade flows for the sporting goods industry. The panel made a strong call for harmonized, simplified rules of origin.
Stefano Inama from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) explained how WTO members were free to implement their own rules of origin in the absence of agreed multilateral disciplines, and how divergent schemes led to low uptake of preference schemes and trade distortions.
Edwin Vermulst from the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) discussed the interplay of rules of origin with anti-circumvention actions used in anti-dumping actions. This situation left importers in a grey area, and open to criminal sanction by customs authorities.
Jonathan O’Riordan from Puma gave a practical overview of the complexity in applying rules of origin, using examples of garments made in Viet Nam and Cambodia. He suggested that only duty-free schemes for least developed countries (LDCs) were large enough to influence manufacturing location decisions - the benefits being more marginal in the case of generalized system of preferences schemes for middle-income countries.
Jeff Whalen from Nike explained how complex rules of origin complicated Nike's global supply chain decisions. He suggested that rules of origin should focus on production steps, rather than final transformation, which would help sourcing from LDCs. He noted the compliance risk of claiming preferences.
Working session 35: Multilateral Framework on Competition: Is it an effective antidote to counter anti-competitive market distortions for trade to work better?
Organiser: CUTS International
The session will involve discussion on interface between trade and competition and the role of WTO in addressing competition induced distortions to trade, for trade to work better. This will be deliberated in the backdrop of increasing number of emerging economies adopting competition law and policy and playing a proactive role in world trade. Measures needed to improve effectiveness of competition law and policies at national level, competition related provisions in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, and the need for a multilateral framework on competition will be discussed.
The objective of the session will be to design a roadmap for WTO to address competition related trade distortions by intervening at domestic, regional and international level.
The session will involve participation from experts on trade and competition who will make brief presentations on specific themes on subject, followed by a panel discussion and audience interaction.
Frank Matsaert, Chief Executive Officer, Trade Mark, Kenya
Robert Anderson, Counsellor, Intellectual Property & Investment Division, World Trade Organization (WTO), Switzerland
Philippe Brusick, Chair, CUTS International, Geneva
Kwame Owino, Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Economic Affairs, Kenya
Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh
Anthony Amunategui Abad, CEO, Trade Advisory Group, Philippines
Harsha Vardhana Singh, Former Deputy Director General, WTO, Switzerland
Moderator: Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International
The session discussed the interface between trade and competition, and the role of the WTO in addressing competition induced distortions to trade, for trade to work better. Bipul Chatterjee from the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International introduced the session by recalling the history of related discussions in the WTO, and the changed environment today, given that the vast majority of emerging economies have now adopted competition law and policies, and play a proactive role in world trade. Measures needed to improve the effectiveness of competition law and policies at the national level, competition-related provisions in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements, and the need for a multilateral framework on competition were discussed.
Robert Anderson from the WTO Intellectual Property Division discussed past experiences of the work of the WTO Working Group on Competition Policy, elements of competition policy in existing WTO agreements, and developments in the past decade. Potential future areas of work, subject to the views of WTO members, could range from a mere policy dialogue over the revival of previous proposals for a multilateral framework on competition policy to a new and updated approach with greater emphasis on issues of apparent interest to developing countries such as export cartels.
Philippe Brusick from CUTS International (Geneva office) spoke about the particularly detrimental effects of abuses of dominance and a lack of merger control on developing country markets. Trade and competition were two sides of the same coin, and the WTO as a multilateral organization could provide a balanced forum for discussions for developing countries - particularly as compared to bilateral trade talks - while also ensuring effective and binding rules through its dispute settlement system.
Anthony Amunategui Abad from the Trade Advisory Group (Philippines) expressed his view that international and regional rules on competition policy were needed due to the increasing number of international mergers and related issues of jurisdiction of competition authorities, and the strong commercial links between countries. As a WTO panel member working on trade remedies, he saw the practical need for guidance on how to apply legitimate trade measures in ways that are conducive to adequate levels of competition in internal markets. This concerned markets of fundamental importance to the general population of his country, such as the market for rice as a basic foodstuff and staple.
Former WTO Deputy Director-General Harsha Singh emphasized the need for international regulation to take into account principles of competitive neutrality in the new emerging areas of trade in order to level the playing field between developed and developing economies. These included the digital economy, standard setting of private actors, and other novel areas of work currently addressed in bilateral and regional fora.
Debapriya Bhattacharya from the Centre for Policy Dialogue (Bangladesh) pointed out the challenges created by overlapping jurisdiction of regulatory and competition authorities for international regulation of competition issues. Given that the WTO faced challenges in concluding the Doha Round, now was not the time to resume work on a multilateral framework for competition policy. However, exploration of interfaces with trade rules and experience-sharing would help in particular least-developed countries.
Working session 36: What works for the Right to Food? Removing WTO Obstacles to Global Food Security during the Nairobi Ministerial
Organiser: International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers', Associations (IUF), Centre for Equity Studies, India and COAST Bangladesh
Agriculture rules work to stimulate increased trade in agriculture, but there are many who view the current rules as not working for farmers’ livelihoods, rural development, and the Right to Food. Does it “work” to have a trading system that allows rich but not poor countries to subsidize agriculture? What should agricultural trade rules be to would work for ensuring that countries are able to achieve their human rights obligations under the Right to Food? What trade rules would work for enabling African countries to undergo the structural transformation needed for growth and development? Under what trade regime would poor countries be capable of countering the structural food deficit? What alternatives are there for many developing countries – Asian, Arab and African – that find public stockholding an effective strategy to protect the poor and safeguard food security? How can the current impasse on the negotiations be resolved, so that a permanent solution on Food Security can be agreed among WTO members at the Nairobi Ministerial? This session will also analyse the agriculture negotiations in the Doha Round with a view towards proposals that work for the poorest people and for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as well as net food importing developing countries and exporters alike.
Adi.Dzulfuat, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the WTO
Edgar Odari, Programme Officer, EcoNews, Kenya
Biraj Patnaik, Principal Adviser to the Supreme Court Commissioners on the right to food, India
Peter Rossman, International Director, Campaigns and Communications, International Union of Foodworkers, (IUF)
Sylvester Bagooro, Programme Officer, Third World Network – Africa, Ghana
Moderator: Deborah James, Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network
The rapporteur noted that the discussions were complementary with those of working session no. 21.
Deborah James from Our World is Not for Sale moderated. She explained the relevance of this discussion by pointing out that the current WTO rules allow rich but not poor countries to subsidize agriculture under the Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS). She stressed the need for a permanent solution for public stockholding for food security purposes to be reached by the end of December.
Adi Dzulfuat from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the WTO gave an overview of several topics. He first discussed the G33 proposal, which is a programme to support poor farmers, and which he says should be put in the "Green Box" instead of the "Amber Box". He noted that an interim mechanism, such as a peace clause, does not work for all, but only for members with existing programmes. That is why there is a call for a permanent solution, such as the current G33 proposal, which he says will work for all.
Mr Dzulfuat noted the G33 proposal is important because it is the responsibility of the government to maintain price stability though public stockholding programmes by using an administered price. Current WTO rules are outdated since their reference price is from 1986 – 1988. He admitted that the G33 proposal has been met with resistance from developed countries and exporting developing members. Their concerns are that market price support will fall into the "Green Box", and also that there will be unintended consequences, such as the release of such products into the international market. He noted that negotiations would continue to aim at finding a permanent solution.
Biraj Patnaik from the Supreme Court of Commissioners on the Right to Food (India) explained how food programmes (public stockholding) and the National Food Security Act work in India, and their importance. He emphasised that the objective of the programme is to support domestic consumers, not exports – this is why he believes that such support should not be considered forbidden under WTO rules, and should be put into the "Green Box" in the Subsidies Agreement (G33 current proposal). He also stated that India's civil society has moved from the notion of "food security" to "food sovereignty". Food sovereignty is the right of peoples, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances. It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally-appropriate food, and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies. Food sovereignty means the primacy of individual and community rights to food and food production, over trade concerns. He stated that it would be politically unacceptable for India to compromise on this issue.
Edgar Odari from EcoNews (Kenya) provided an overview of the agricultural situation in Kenya, stressing the importance of this sector for the country. He stated that even though Kenya is currently allowed to maintain support programmes, the peace clause will not work forever, especially since the population has been growing rapidly, and consequently the volume of support as well. He also reiterated Mr Patnaik's point that it is not about security anymore, but rather sovereignty – governments should be able to address these issues.
Peter Rossman from the International Union of Foodworkers looked at the issue from the perspective of the food industry workers, emphasising the instability of their situation (the absence of legal and social protection, insecurity, working conditions, wages). He called on everybody to bear in mind that the fundamental right to food is a priority and governments, recognising that, undertook human rights treaty obligations which in legal terms should prevent them from signing any other agreements that undermine these fundamental human rights. He stated that the WTO stands between food availability and food entitlement.
In response to concerns and questions raised by the audience, the panel clarified that agriculture does need support, but it becomes an issue when export subsidies affect food security in importing countries. They concluded by stating that the current system does not work and stressing the need for a permanent solution to the issue.
Working session 37: Fostering the Participation of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Regional and Global Markets
Organiser: Mission of the Philippines to the WTO
The importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the performance of national economies is a subject of increasing interest among policy makers in national government and international institutions, in both developed and developing countries. This is not surprising given that globally, SMEs make up over 95% (in number) of all firms, account for approximately 50% of value added and 60% of total employment, and are important sources of innovation and job creation, in particular with women and youth.
Recent technological advances and reduction in trade costs have made it possible to fragment production into individual tasks, allowing firms to specialize in parts of a supply chain. This fragmentation of production or global value chains (GVCs) provides an opportunity for smaller firms to internationalize without having to produce every component of a good or service, participate in trade, increase trade flows, and strengthen economic integration. The "levelling effect" of new technologies, has likewise been a key element in the internationalization of SMEs.
These developments, not only heightened the importance of SMEs, but has enabled the smallest component in the SME sector to likewise become more involved in regional and global markets, and have become relevant in policy discussions – that is micro enterprises. Further breakdown of the SME sector indicate that very small companies comprise the majority of SMEs. In a study conducted by the World Bank and the IFC, it was highlighted that MSME density is rising at a faster pace.
Under the overall theme “trade works”, the session aims to stimulate discussion on (1) initiatives that governments, international organizations and relevant stakeholders undertake to make “trade work” for the MSME sector (2) cross-cutting issues that affect MSMEs integrate into GVCs; and (3) strengthening the linkages between the WTO and other international organizations, in particular the ITC, UNCTAD, and the World Bank with a view to increasing coherence on MSME discussions.
Gregory Domingo, Secretary, Philippine Department of Trade and Industry
Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre
Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director for Trade and Competitiveness, World Bank Group
Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
Xiaozhun Yi, Deputy Director General, World Trade Organization
The panel discussed the significance of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). MSMEs are the backbone of many economies in the world, comprising the bulk of jobs and enterprises. They comprise more than 95 per cent of the economic tissue of any country. Many MSMEs are in the informal sector, such as the self-employed or rural workers. Addressing the informal sector is required to eradicate poverty. The panel highlighted MSMEs as key to unlocking the jobs and growth crises, which today are widespread.
MSMEs face constraints. They have fewer resources and less information about markets. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers prevent MSMEs from moving up the value chain. If they are connected to the global market, MSMEs are often integrated through intermediaries, which is not optimal because of the price gaps incurred. MSMEs also face internal hindrances: a lack of workforce and managerial skills, an inability to adapt to new technology, limited access to finance, and weak compliance with standards. They have low productivity when taken on a global level, contributing less than half of economic growth. In Brazil, a small company has just 30 per cent of the productivity of large companies. Global value chains (GVCs) have been the main initiative to get MSMEs to export. However, micro and small enterprises are less able to access GVCs - it is mostly the medium-sized enterprises that get integrated.
The panel then discussed ways forward. They determined that a large part of the answer is connecting MSMEs to markets through trade. Trade exposes them to larger markets, best practices and technology. MSMEs that participate in international trade are more productive and pay higher wages. Cutting down the cost of trade for MSMEs through trade facilitation is crucial. One way to advance this is to make sure that the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) is implemented as soon as possible. The panel also noted that dedicated programmes for women entrepreneurs are needed. Helping MSMEs harness new technology and digital information, as well as addressing the information and communications technology gap, is another pathway: this is significant since equipped enterprises are well-placed and nimble to adapt to market developments, and because e-commerce allows MSMEs to jump onto the market more easily. Finally, the panel mentioned the importance of making sure compliance infrastructure is accessible and affordable for MSMEs (at customs, business registration, standards accreditation). Trade finance can help with these objectives.
The final segment discussed how coordinating the work of various international organizations can help MSMEs. The WTO is about the rule of law, and the rule of law always helps the weaker parties. The implementation of the TFA will cut business costs, and transparency commitments among members help MSMEs access information easily. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has programmes to turn government processes into e-processes to cut red tape. The World Bank has programmes to help women entrepreneurs and the informal sector. The panel noted that there is room to work together and to share expertise.
Working session 38: Difficulties associated with trade in seafood products
Organiser: Moroccan Association of Exporters (ASMEX)
Le secteur de la transformation des produits de la pêche revêt une grande importance parmi les activités économiques du pays en raison du potentiel considérable qu’il recèle en matière d’investissement, d’emploi, d’exportation et de création de valeur ajoutée. Aussi, de nombreux problèmes liés au Commerce viennent entraver son développement et réduisent ses performances à l’export, en plus des droits de douane. Les produits de la mer marocains se trouvent confrontés à de nombreux obstacles dont il conviendrait de citer :
Règlements techniques trop stricts et prohibitions pour raisons techniques
Exigences relatives à la mise en conformité des produits
Les Règles d’origine
Lorsque les normes Codex sont utilisées comme un outil de compétition
Les Normes privées de sécurité sanitaires des aliments ; de réelles exigences commerciales
Les mesures non tarifaires, représentent une source majeure d’obstacles au commerce international et un défi particulier pour les exportateurs marocains des produits de la mer. Leurs effets négatifs et leur diversité et complexité réduisent les performances des exportations des produits de la mer Marocains et constituent pour la plus part des entraves non nécessaires qu’il conviendrait d’éliminer.
Lamia Znagui, Directrice de la Fédération Nationale des Industries de la Pêche (FENIP)
Mohamed Idrisi, Conseiller auprès de la Fédération Nationale des Industries de la Pêche (FENIP)
Mohamed Taoufiq, Conseiller auprès de la Fédération Nationale des Industries de la Pêche (FENIP)
Le secteur de la transformation des produits de la pêche revêt une grande importance parmi les activités économiques du pays en raison du potentiel considérable qu’il recèle en matière d’investissement, d’emploi, d’exportation et de création de valeur ajoutée. Aussi, d'importante mesures non tarifaires viennent entraver son développement et réduisent ses performances à l’export, en plus des droits de douane. Leurs effets négatifs et leur diversité et complexité réduisent les performances des exportations des produits de la mer Marocains et constituent pour la plus part des entraves non nécessaires qu’il conviendrait d’éliminer.
Ainsi, les difficultés liées au commerce des produits de la mer est une thématique très importante pour le Maroc, comme pour beaucoup des membres de l'OMC. Le secteur de la pêche du Maroc a saisi cette occasion pour lancer un appel à l’OMC pour procéder à une évaluation technique à la faveur des pays en voie de développement et des pays les moins avancés pour déterminer l’impact réel de ces obstacles au commerce. Il est aussi important de notifier, d'une part, la favorisation de l'implication des acteurs de la pêche dans les négociations à Genève, et d'autre part, la création de passerelles entre toutes les parties prenantes du secteur de la pêche par la mise en place des cadres de concertation plus élargie entre eux.
Working session 39: CFTA: boosting trade for people in Africa?
Organiser: African Trade Policy Centre at the UN Economic Commission for Africa
In June 2015, the African Union summit launched negotiations to achieve a free trade area throughout the continent. The first phase of the negotiations will cover both goods and services, to be followed by investment, competition policy, and intellectual property. This panel will discuss the context, scope, and sequence of the negotiations. It will review analytical work and approaches to understand the potential impact of the CFTA on intra-trade expansion, structural change, poverty reduction, incomes, employment, agriculture livelihoods and food security. In particular, it will focus on the contribution trade can make to industrialization efforts on the continent, drawing upon the insights from the UNECA’s 2015 Economic Report on Africa which focused on industrialization through trade. The main messages of the report will also be discussed.
It will further delineate the potentials of a Human Rights Impact Assessment on the design and process of a regional trade agreement. A ceremony and reception to launch the Economic Report on Africa 2015 will follow the session. The report can be accessed at this link.
Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, UNECA;
Xavier Carim Permanent Representative of South Africa to the WTO
Marion Jansen, Chief Economist, ITC.
Ayush Bat-Erdene, Chief, Right to Development, OHCHR
Moderators: David Luke, Coordinator African Trade Policy Centre, UNECA and
Hubert René Schillinger, Director, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Geneva Office
The panel noted that the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) offers tremendous opportunities for African countries to develop, through the enlargement of intra-African trade. It is vitally important for Africa to pursue the CFTA given the context of the mega-regional trade agreements being negotiated elsewhere. Preference erosion and other factors will almost certainly lead to a decline in African countries' market access abroad, requiring that African countries' look to one another to develop new markets.
Panellists said that Africa's trade and development strategy should focus on industrialization and the growth of the manufacturing sector. Countries' trade policies should be integrated with their industrialization and development strategies. For substantial development and transformation to occur, trade policy should not only focus on industrialization but also aim to capitalize on regional and global value chains. A key aspect to the new trade policy for Africa is the development of, and investment in, infrastructure. Given the nature of trade and transportation, improved infrastructure would be critical for trade flows not only in the country in which the development takes place, but also for countries looking to transport to or through those countries.
The panel highlighted that liberalization of services cannot be underestimated in boosting intra-African trade flows. The CFTA offers an opportunity to increase services liberalization, which should be pursued by African countries. Tourism in particular can offer large benefits. The CFTA is aimed at encouraging development for the benefit of the people of Africa, and in this vein a human rights impact analysis would be a useful tool for policymakers as well as civil society. Such an analysis would not impose conditionalities in any way, but could enable policymakers and civil society to anticipate the implications of particular aspects of the CFTA.
Workshop 13: Private Standards: leverage or barrier to trade?
This session will discuss the challenges that Private Standards could bring to the WTO system. Tariff concessions have been the main trade instrument for years, but new regulatory barriers are making their way to be the major concern of the 21st century international trade. Therefore, the Working Session shall assess Private Standards’ role, impacts, legitimacy and compliance with the international trade rules. To the present moment, WTO Committees have been reluctant to ascertain whether this topic should be under the WTO jurisdiction.
Assessing such challenges and the impacts of private standards on the multilateral trading system is a relevant contribution to determine if “trade works” based on the WTO ruling. In other words, the working session aims to discuss if private standards are allies or enemies of the WTO.
Reinhard Weissinger, Senior Expert, Research and Education at the Central Secretariat of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Ulrich Hoffmann, UNFSS Consultant
Joseph Wozniak, Head, Trade for Sustainable Development Programme, ITC
Xinhua Sun, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO
Vera Thorstensen, Chair of the Brazilian Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade
Private standards are increasingly being used, and are omnipresent in today's world of international trade. However, they are a double-edged sword. This session explored both the negative and positive aspects of private standards and ways to move forward.
Reinhard Weissinger from the International Organization for Standardization stressed the importance of fostering legitimacy in the standardizing procedure by involving relevant stakeholders as well as governments and by aligning the process with the WTO Code of Good Practice. He then identified negative (such as additional costs for producers) and positive (such as higher sustainability performance) aspects. He suggested multi-stakeholder dialogue, better coordination and cooperation as important ways in order to address the negative aspects.
Ulrich Hoffmann from the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards provided relevant data in this area. For instance, food, forestry and textiles are the three sectors which have more private standards. He also mentioned negative (such as consumer confusion) and positive (such as being the frontrunner for new regulations) aspects. He then stated that governments have an important role in order to address the challenges ahead. In particular, governments should focus on governance/standard setting, building capacity, devising flanking and support policies, assuring policy coherence and facilitating stakeholder dialogue.
Joseph Wozniak from the International Trade Centre (ITC) stressed the importance of dealing with the practical implications of private standards, specifically for producers and exporters. He described some of the programmes developed by the ITC in order to address these practical implications, including the Trade and Sustainable Development Programme and the Standards Map database. These programmes are aimed at providing the necessary information to producers and exporters and at connecting them with standardizing entities.
Xinhua Sun from the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO focused on challenges and ways to move forward. He stated that private standards contribute to the concentration of wealth as big companies are usually the ones developing these measures in order to increase their market share. He then explained how private standards could fall within the scope of application of the WTO-covered agreements. As a step forward, he suggested private sector dialogue and public supervision. Additionally, he stressed the importance of aligning private standards with the WTO Code of Good Practice so as to avoid issues in the WTO.
Vera Thorstensen from the Brazilian Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade stressed the importance of dealing with this matter in the WTO. She questioned the legitimacy of private standards and the role of private entities in the development of regulations. She described how these measures affect Brazilian producers. For instance, paper producers in Brazil cannot export to certain countries because they lack Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. As a way forward, she suggested dealing with this matter in different WTO committees and through dispute settlement if necessary.
A book and its author: History of Law and Lawyers in the GATT/WTO
Presented by WTO Bookshop and Library
Gabrielle Marceau, Counsellor, WTO Legal Affairs Division
Scott Anderson, co-managing partner of Sydley Austin
Daniel Crosby, Partner at King & Spalding
Atul Sharma, Managing Director of Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan
Niall Meagher, Executive Director of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law
Working session 40: Trade in Services: Do GATS and TISA work in the public interest?
Organiser: International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), Public Services International (PSI), UNI global union, the European Public Services Union (EPSU), The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) Netherlands and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES)
Trade in services “works” to integrate services sectors into the global economy and to open up markets for transnational suppliers of services. Given the explosion of services able to be contracted and delivered online, increasing trade in services can also work to bring new services to consumers across the globe. At the same time, the particular disciplines on regulating services – both domestic and traded – inherent in proposals such as the TISA and the expansion of the GATS in the WTO, may also work to constrain legitimate functions such as the proper public regulation and oversight of the provision of private services, as well as the provision of quality accessible public services. What trade in services rules work for ensuring global financial stability? Data privacy? Ensuring safety and efficiency in transportation? Ensuring labor rights, including for migrant workers? What rules work – or do not work – to ensure human rights to health care, education, access to water, and other essential public services?
Daniel Bertossa, Director, Policy and Governance, Public Services International (PSI) global trade union federation
Sarah Finke, Policy Coordinator, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
Tetteh Hormeku, Head of Programmes, Third World Network – Africa, Ghana
Sanya Reid Smith, Legal Adviser, Third World Network, Geneva
Roberto Bissio, Executive Director, Instituto del Tercer Mundo, Uruguay
Deborah James, Director of International Programs, Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) global network
• Hubert Schillinger, Director Geneva Office, FES" ET "
• Carlos Sossa, FFOSE, Uruguay
HubertSchillinger from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung stated that the public is getting to be informed about the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Next Daniel Bertossa from the Public Services International (PSI) global trade union federation spoke about the nature of TiSA, which according to PSI is about removing restrictions for foreign multinationals to open shops in foreign countries, and dropping regulatory barriers for their service providers. "One person’s regulatory barrier is another person’s social safeguard,” he said. Mr Bertossa then dealt with public services and the "governmental services exception". This exception is limited as it requires services to be not provided on a commercial basis. Today many services are mixed, offered by both public and private entities (health, education).
Helmut Scholz from the European Parliament spoke about the debate on TiSA at the European Parliament and about the two blocs for and against the agreement. He noted that China is not in TiSA, in fact none of the BRICS are either. He stated that everybody should be included if they want to join, not just a group of countries that represent the biggest services providers. He also suggested that public goods should not be negotiated at all, which includes public services. Next, Sarah Finke of the International Transport Workers' Federation said that if implemented, TiSA will consolidate the power of the most powerful. She said that workers are not part of the conversation or topics being negotiated. Next, she raised specific examples from the maritime and air transport services sectors.
Roberto Bissio from the Instituto del Tercer Mundo (Uruguay) spoke about the importance of trade unions, which played a large role in pushing the Uruguayan government to abandon TiSA. Carlos Sossa from the Federación de Funcionarios de Obras Sanitarias del Estado (FFOSE labour union, Uruguay) read a heartfelt speech on globalization, corporations and TiSA. Tetteh Hormeku from the Third World Network – Africa explained the history of the negotiations on the General Agreement on Trade in Services.
Working session 41: Trade Works! Does it? Can we make it work even better?
Organiser: American Chamber of Commerce to the EU and (AmCham EU)
Trade works! Does it? In this session the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU) wants to explore how trade could work even better. The panel will put forward some ideas on how trade can work for you: How to bring trade talks and agreements to fruition faster? How to balance job creation and globalization: aging workforce, youth unemployment, quality of work and poverty? How to create value for all? Join for a thought-provoking discussion demonstrating what the benefits of a global inclusive and open trade regime are and what is needed to solidify and strengthen this in the future.
Carsten Dannöhl, EU Government Affairs Manager, Caterpillar
Dennis Kredler, Director European Union Affairs, Head of Brussels Office, The Dow Chemical Company
Laurel Vogelsang, Executive Director Global Public Policy, Merck
Marcus Bartley Johns, Trade and Competitiveness Specialist, World Bank Group
Moderator: Mark van der Horst (UPS), Chair of the AmCham EU Trade and External Affairs Committee
The panel agreed that trade agreements need to be made more relevant to business and be concluded more quickly. They noted that patience with the Doha Round is wearing thin. One speaker said that while the multilateral approach is the preferred one, at some point a stage is reached where the business agenda moves on and the balance shifts in favour of bilateral and regional trade agreements. Also, issues of key importance to business these days, such as investment protection and harmonization of regulatory standards, are not being addressed at the WTO but are being covered at the bilateral and regional level.
The panel noted that the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) can serve as a model for moving forward in the future. It sets out flexibilities so countries can adopt an approach towards implementation tailored to their capacity and needs. Other initiatives such as the talks on the Environmental Goods Agreement were also cited by some as a positive development, although some concerns were expressed about discriminating in favour of one product sector. Panellists noted that business is keen to support and provide technical assistance to make the TFA work.
Working session 42: Climate and energy matters in free trade agreements: option for TTIP
Organiser: Ecologic Institute
Several recent regional trade agreements, RTAs, include provisions on clean energy and on climate action. They may take the form of concrete commitments of reductions of tariffs or non-tariff barriers, or of commitments on institutional collaboration. As such, they constitute important opportunities for trade policy to contribute concretely and positively to a scale-up of clean energy and to fostering climate action. This session will explore experiences from the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, chapter on environment as well as its investor-state dispute settlement provisions, and from more recent RTAs such as Canada-EU Trade Agreement, CETA and the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. Based on this, it will draw lessons which may inform the design of the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, between the EU and the US. This will be put in the context of international energy trade governance.
Lena Johansson, Secretary General, ICC Sweden
Christiane Gerstetter, Senior Fellow, EcoLogic institute
Markus Gehring, Deputy Director, Centre for European Legal Studies at University of Cambridge
Petros Sourmelis, Head of Unit, DG Trade, European Commission
Ingrid Jegou, Senior Manager, ICTSD
Markus Gehring from the University of Cambridge presented a study on green provisions in regional trade agreements (RTAs). He noted that the new generation of RTAs create a different level of trade rules to address climate change. RTAs have provided the main mechanism for collaboration and enhancing trade in climate-friendly goods and services.
Chrisitane Gerstetter from the EcoLogic Institute outlined six options where the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) can bring positive results for the green economy. They include addressing subsidies in fossil fuel and renewable energy, regulatory cooperation, climate-friendly procurement, services (such as engineering or financial services), trade remedies and provisions to bring positive environment and climate measures.
Lena Johansson from the International Chamber of Commerce (in Sweden) noted that the business sector supports the climate agreement and shares the urgency to address climate issues. The business community wants clear rules based on market solutions, and prefers global trade rules.
Jan-Gerrit Westerhof of the European Commission shared personal views on the environment and energy provisions in a number of European Union (EU)-led bilateral agreements. He noted that the EU is keen on promoting high environmental standards for its trade interests and for levelling the playing field.
Working session 43: Leveraging Services for Inclusive and Sustainable Development
Organiser: Permanent Mission of Australia
The objective of the session is to dig deeper into understanding the potential of specific service sectors, such as finance, ICT, and tourism, to drive sustainable development in a meaningful way. The session will have a practical focus and will not only examine those service sectors which offer the highest likelihood of positive impact, but will also address the particular supply-side constraints which impede service sector development and the challenges associated with building supply-side capacity in specific service sectors.
Which service sectors hold the greatest potential for generating sustained and inclusive economic growth – and why?
How can policymakers identify service sectors with latent export potential?
What are the most significant supply-side impediments within specific service sectors of export interest to LDCs and LICs?
How can policymakers maximize the impact of service sector policy changes while minimizing the short-term economic dislocation which can result from such changes?
Hamish Mccormick, Ambassador of Australia to the WTO
Vinaye Ancharaz, Senior Development Economist, ICTSD
Michael Wamai, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Uganda (TBC)
Sherry M. Stephenson, Senior Fellow, ICTSD
Mary Mbithi, Lecturer, University of Nairobi
• Nicholas Frank, ICTSD
Moderator: Darlington Mwape, Senior Fellow, ICTSD
The panel noted that services make an increasingly important contribution to economic development and to sustainable development. It is the "new frontier" for accelerating participation in international trade.
The session addressed some of the supply side constraints. It also noted the potential roles of Aid for Trade and investment policy as enablers. In particular, it considered how services sectors can be exploited to meet sustainable development goals, including in efforts to deal with a range of implementation challenges, and in taking advantage of preferences notified by both developed and other developing countries under the least developed countries (LDC) services waiver in the WTO.
The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development is undertaking work to identify objective criteria linking services with sustainable development, both directly and indirectly, in both growth (such as income effects) and non-growth (such as health, education, environment) perspectives, through multiple channels and different types of indicators (development-specific, sector-specific, horizontal).
The history of developments under the LDC services waiver, including notifications responding to the LDC's Collective Request and following the High Level Meeting held in February 2015, are showing signs of progress. LDCs have been able to engage in a way that WTO members can respond to, by not focusing on restrictions and barriers, but rather on active consideration of where market opportunities (and jobs) might open up in the future for LDCs in services sectors of interest. Also due to digital technology advances, and assisted by better statistics on trade flows, LDCs can be more active players, including from capitals. In this area the future is "not bleak".
Discussion turned to the important role of the domestic regulatory environment as an enabler, particularly in regulation-intensive services sectors, and in designing and implementing the right type and intensity of regulations. There are demonstrated correlations between (1) having efficient services sector regulations and greater productivity in both the manufacturing and services sectors; (2) the strength of the rule of law and governance indicators and high levels of services trade; and (3) the degree of trade restrictiveness (and liberalising the discriminatory elements, which is not always the same as de-regulating) and increased services trade.
In short, restrictive services regulations not only have a negative effect on services imports, but also have a dampening effect on services exports because they result in a lower quality and less efficient services sector. The overall aim is for regulatory quality and strong institutions. There are challenges in terms of attracting investment, addressing the deficit of skilled labour, and in building (and regulating for) an efficient services sector capable of providing inputs into global value chains. There is also a critical need to target the logistics sector. This is associated with major problems with infrastructure, which is also relevant for other services sectors including information technology, finance and tourism.
Working session 44: Trade works through innovative partnerships for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda
Organiser: Global Social Observatory (GSO)
Innovative, multi-stakeholder partnerships are needed to support the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and especially to harness the potential for trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth and realizing the SDGs. This session will highlight illustrative partnerships oriented to sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition and health, in terms of their impact on the empowerment of women and girls, and with a particular emphasis on their linkages to trade, global value chains and a rules-based trading environment. Participants will have a better understanding of the opportunities as well as the challenges for truly multi-stakeholder partnerships involving NGOs and other civil society groups, the private sector, governments and international organizations and for their role in making trade work for inclusive and sustainable development.
Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz - Chief Executive, ICTSD
Debapriya Bhattacharya - Chair, Southern Voice on Post-MDGs
Thomas Bombelles, Head Global Health, WIPO
Roberto Vega, Head of Product and Smallholder Policy at Syngenta
Marcela Manubens, Global Vice President for Social Impact
Moderator: Katherine Hagen, Global Social Observatory
The session focused on identifying trade dimensions in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and how to foster innovative and holistic partnerships to ensure effective implementation, follow-up, review and accountability.
The panellists shared the view that trade has been articulated as a means of implementation and reflected in different dimensions of the SDGs, from expanding trade as an engine for growth to regulating trade to ensure sustainable development. The panel also discussed a wide range of partnerships that are required not only to effectively implement each and every SDG but also to connect various goals and to ensure cohesion. Such partnerships should go beyond the national level, also taking place at the sub-national level.
The question of how to engage smallholders (small-scale farmers) and to partner with the private sector was also discussed in depth, with cases stories presented by Roberto Vega from Syngenta and Thomas Bombelles from the World Intellectual Property Organization. A number of important points were highlighted, including the potential contribution of smallholders in increasing agriculture productivity if they have better access to technology and markets; the important role of partnerships with the private sector in engaging smallholders along value chains; the need to have a mix of supply-driven and demand-driven reasons for engaging the private sector; and the importance of knowledge partnership.
Specific to partnerships in financing and trade mainstreaming, Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz from the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development and Debapriya Bhattacharya from the Southern Voice on Post-MDGs (millennium development goals) referred to the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) as an aspirational partnership model for trade capacity building for least developed countries.
Monitoring South-South cooperation as part of the global partnership and ensuring accountability in long-term partnership arrangements were raised, with a specific question on how to create spaces in high-level dialogues to report on these partnerships and enforce the accountability.
Moving forward, panellists highlighted the need to create knowledge bases to share good practices of partnership. Partnerships should be built on clear objectives, transparency, accountability, checks and balances. Partnerships should also be periodically reviewed with a view to assessing if they are working to serve policy objectives and if they are carrying out their mandate.
Working session 45: A Policy Checklist for the Global Digital Economy
Organiser: National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC)
The Internet is changing the way that individuals launch businesses, established companies function, and economies grow. Connected technologies are altering the behavior and priorities of large companies while facilitating the formation of global networks and platforms that increasingly enable thousands of small businesses, individual entrepreneurs, and organizations to engage in the international marketplace. Yet effective participation in the global marketplace relies on an underlying public policy framework that facilitates the movement of digital information as well as the services and physical goods that the digital economy enables. Participants will explore the role that public policy can play in facilitating – or inhibiting – access to the global economy in the digital age.
Alvaro Cedeno Molinari, Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the World Trade Organization
Andrew Crosby, Managing Director, Communications and Strategy, ICTSD
Samuel Laurinkari, Senior Manager, EU Government Relations, eBay Inc.
Anka-Lisa Schild, Senior Policy Advisor Trade and Foreign Economic Policies, Siemens AG
Sarah Thorn, Senior Director, International Trade, Walmart
Moderator: Jake Colvin, Executive Director, Global Innovation Forum at the National Foreign Trade Council
The objective of the session was to introduce the Policy Checklist for the Global Digital Economy, which aims to encourage economic growth in the digital age.
The panel noted that the Internet has changed the way individuals launch businesses, how companies function and how economies grow. Connected technologies have altered the behaviour and priorities of large companies while facilitating the formation of global networks and platforms that increasingly enable small businesses, entrepreneurs, and organisations to engage in the international market place.
The session examined steps that large companies such as Walmart, Siemens and eBay took in order to adapt to the changing behaviour of customers, to the modified rules of competitiveness and the further globalisation of markets. The National Foreign Trade Council and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development developed a policy checklist as a response in order to encourage public policy and the private sector to seek growth on a sustainable and inclusive basis.
Calls were made for further dialogue within the WTO: the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, the Agreement on Information Technology and other negotiations need to take place in light of how the world operates in the age of digital commerce. A different perspective would be for members to focus on what could be gained by all sides from agreeing to provisions that favour digital commerce.
An interesting case story was depicted in the recent experience of Costa Rica, which has successfully made the transition from an agricultural society to a digital hub and service-oriented society. This was possible because of the country's focus on education, the establishment of free trade agreements and of openness to foreign companies.
The panel noted that the WTO has a role in the debate. It can help ensure that rules and regulations are compatible across economies, and support the participation of businesses and entrepreneurs in the global marketplace. The WTO can also help develop better tools to measure economic statistics and monitor government policies, and coordinate regulation and standard-setting across issues such as privacy and cyber security.
Working session 46: Driving Innovation: building sustainable supply chains
Organiser: International Trade Centre (ITC)
To advance and encourage sustainable trade, all levels of supply chains, from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to large multinational companies and governments, must be involved. Panellists in the opening session will present multiple views from both the private and public sector on issues related to connecting SMEs to sustainable supply chains. Speakers will address topics such as traceability programmes, market inefficiencies, the need for capacity building and for harmonization of voluntary sustainability standards, and how to make inclusive trade the norm. This session, to be followed by a full-day event at the WMO on October 2, will introduce an innovative new programme sponsored by the International Trade Centre, UN Global Compact, and Global Standard 1 (GS1) to facilitate farm-level traceability in agricultural supply chains.
Arancha González, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)
Marc Vanheukelen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the European Union to the WTO
Carlos Rojas Amelunge, Presidente, Ingenio Azucarero Guabirá (IAG)
Ramesh Kana, Group CEO, Emery Oleochemicals Group
Johan Maris, Global Director, Certifications, Control Union
Antonia Wanner, Global Head of Procurement Commodities, Nestlé
Moderator: Lanre Akinola, Editor of African Business, IC Publications
Arancha Gonzalez from the International Trade Centre (ITC) presented a new initiative that the ITC is launching with the UN Global Compact and Global Standard 1 (GS1) called "Blue Number", which is a global registry for sustainable farmers. It allows interested farmers to share information about their work, to connect to global buyers who prioritize sustainable sourcing and to assess their compliance with national and international voluntary standards. The Blue Number marketplace, which will be launched during the first quarter of 2016, will support the implementation of two of the recently adopted sustainable development goals: Goal 2 on ending hunger, ensuring food security and promoting sustainable agriculture, and Goal 12 on promoting sustainable patterns of production and consumption.
During discussions, it was noted that the role of sustainability standards and related certification schemes in contributing to addressing environmental, social and economic concerns is central. Where possible, panellists noted, it was important to address sustainability across the whole supply chain. However, the proliferation of standards was causing confusion among suppliers as well as consumers. Farmers needed support and training as well as customized approaches to meet sustainability requirements, which could in fact increase their production and profitability. Consumers expected further clarity and credibility regarding the logos they saw on products they purchased and this was where governments could possibly play a role, for example by auditing standard-setters.
Workshop 14: Trade, Competitiveness and Global Governance
Organiser: World Economic Forum (WEF)
Trade and competitiveness are both integral to spurring growth, productivity and job creation. While trade openness remains crucial to competitiveness, it must be combined with productivity-enhancing reforms at home to contribute meaningfully to growth. At a time when global rebalancing of production and consumption is becoming ever more complex, fostering openness at the global, regional and national levels, and at the same time strengthening key domestic competitiveness-enhancing factors should be core priorities for leaders across developed and emerging economies alike. A white paper titled “The Case for Trade and Competitiveness” by the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils on Competitiveness and Trade and FDI makes the case forcefully for pursuing a coherent trade and competitiveness agenda to stimulate a sustained global economic recovery. Success in pursuing the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda would contribute greatly to this objective, but difficulties in negotiations point to the challenge of reviving the Organization’s negotiating mechanism. Amidst negotiations on various regional and bilateral trade agreements during a multipolar political interregnum, a report of the Global Agenda Council on Trade and Foreign Direct Investment sets out broad strategic reasons behind its evident failure to achieve this goal – or, more accurately, the failure of its members to get there, and restates the case for the importance of WTO’s centrality in global trade governance. This session at the WTO Public Forum will be dedicated to the presentation of these two papers and their key take-aways.
Anabel González, Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group
Peter Draper, Senior Research Fellow in the Economic Diplomacy programme at the South African Institute of International Affairs
Selina Jackson, World Bank Group's Special Representative to the UN and WTO in Geneva
Harsha Singh, Senior Associate at ICTSD for Strategic Research and Policy Analysis.
Margareta Drzeniek, Head of Global Competitiveness and Risks, WEF
Moderator: Jonathan Fried, Ambassador of Canada to the WTO
The panel discussed the importance of a two-pronged strategy, focusing on both enhancing openness and creating the right conditions, to foster competitiveness. Ways discussed for countries to reap the benefits of global value chains (GVCs) were to implement competitiveness policies, to have institutions dealing with the matter, and to have both hard connectivity (infrastructure) and soft connectivity (knowledge flows and training) in place. Switzerland was cited as a pinnacle of competitiveness: in spite of economic shocks, the country shows great resilience thanks to its strong macro-economic factors.
The panel said that starting from the global financial crisis, regionalism has prevailed in trade agreements. Mega-regionals are creating parallel governance, which is likely to lead to a fragmented and exclusionary system, run by the old Quad (the US, the European Union, Japan and Canada). The WTO can restore its centrality through two tracks. "WTO 1.0 logic" calls for enabling and locking-in market access, and preventing obvious cheating in market opening, such as through subsidies. "WTO 2.0 logic" calls for members to help developing countries to commit to supply-chain and offshoring disciplines.
The panel cited the importance of both low and high politics to restore multilateralism, and discussed three future scenarios in detail. The first is "full success" through a restoration of multilateralism. The second is a "stumbling block" scenario, whereby there is agreement on "fuzzy" policies. Finally the third is a "crumbling block" scenario. The panel highlighted that in trade global governance, low policies are integrally connected to high policies.
The panel concluded by noting that a country can keep its strategic advantage through technology, appropriate policies and standards, the neutrality of government in state enterprises to preserve competition and industrial policies.
Questions were taken on a variety of subjects. The panel said that leadership was required to change the WTO's role, but that the most pressing issue for the WTO to address is agriculture. In terms of industrial policies, panellists said that targeting particular sectors is a bad idea, and that we should favour horizontal reforms. The panel agreed that institutions, openness and education are the three most important competitiveness variables. And finally, the panel emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all recipe for how a country can move up the global supply chain.
Working session 47: Jobs in Global Value Chains
Organiser: Council on Economic Policies (CEP)
New ways of measuring global trade flows provide for a fresh look on how trade works. Data on trade in value added terms often displays substantial differences with data on trade measured in gross value. The implications for our understanding of how trade and trade policy relate to greater economic development in general and employment in particular, are not year clear. This session will offer a closer look at the trade-employment nexus and seek answers to the question of what the implications of the emergence of global value chains are for domestic employment.
Lucian Cernat, Chief Economist , European Commission DG Trade
Marva Corley-Coulibaly, Senior Economist International Labor Organization
Przemyslaw Kowalski, Senior Trade Economist , Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Petter Stålenheim, Trade Policy Advisor , Swedish National Board of Trade
Moderator: Johannes Schwarzer, Fellow , Council on Economic Policies
Petter Stålenheim from the Swedish National Board of Trade presented an analysis of trade and employment in value chains in Sweden. He found that the number of persons indirectly engaged in employment is more than double that of direct support. He also found that intermediate services account for 62 per cent of direct and indirect exports. He thus stressed the importance of services in global value chains (GVCs), but concluded that restrictions in both goods and services directly impede employment.
Lucian Cernat from the European Commission presented an analysis of trade and jobs from a European perspective, essentially capturing the job creation effects along the value chain. He found that European Union (EU) trade with the rest of the world is significant - one in seven jobs is created through this process. He added that EU export-related jobs are better remunerated than non-exporting industries. Furthermore, Mr Cernat added that small- and medium-sized enterprises should not be overlooked as they employ the highest share in the EU, contrary to common assumptions. Also, in the EU, services play a significant role in trade creation.
Przemeylaw Kowalski from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also analyzed jobs in GVCs and found that GVC participation boosts many performance indicators at the country-sector level. Offshoring decreases wage inequality by sourcing low skills and high skills along GVCs, essentially taking advantage of a country’s comparative advantage. Also, GVC jobs grew six times faster than other jobs.
Marva Corley-Coulibaly from the International Labour Office looked at the changes in global production patterns and impacts on enterprises and employment. She found that more jobs were created in global supply chains that increased women's participation, particularly in emerging economies. Most of these jobs were in the services sector. She recommended broad policies to balance social and economic benefits as well as social dialogue for better links between these benefits along global supply chains.
The panel concluded that the role of intermediate services along value chains was very significant as this creates many jobs for both advanced and emerging economies.
Working session 48: How can Russia & Russian businesses reap maximum benefits from Russias WTO Membership
Organiser: Egorov Puginski Afanasiev & Partners and Stιphanie Noλl Law Office
In August 2012, after 18 years of negotiations, the Russian Federation (“Russia”) became a Member of the WTO. Such accession and its consequences had been extensively commented and analysed, but no clear consensus emerged on the benefits that Russia and Russian businesses would gain. It has been suggested that time is a key factor, and that long-term gains would prevail over short term disadvantages.
Three years after accession, its effects have been felt differently across sectors. Some of them have reported little benefits, or are feeling worse off, and some have even called for their country to leave the WTO. In this context, the proposed workshop aims at addressing the issue of how Russia and Russian industries could derive the most of WTO membership, and fully enjoy the benefits of trade liberalization. Moreover, Russia has been rather actively involved into the WTO dispute settlement system, including a number of disputes relating to trade in energy and raw materials. The approach to WTO dispute settlement in Russia both for the businesses and the Government remains extremely controversial.
Ultimately, Russia has been actively announcing its possible WTO complaint against sanctions recently imposed against it, however, no complaint has been brought yet due to a number of reasons.
The panellists - trade experts, Russian officials, and members of the Russian business community - will take stock of the situation, 3 years after the accession, express their concerns and expectations, and will engage in an open discussion on how to better grasp the opportunities stemming from WTO membership.
Aleksey Portanskiy, Professor, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, School of World Economy, Higher School of Economics
Marina Trunk-Fedorova, Senior Research Fellow, University of Kiel, Associate Professor, Saint-Petersburg State University Law School
• Ivan Smirnov, Managing partner, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, Saint-Petersburg
Vladimir Talanov, Head of International Trade Group, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & artners, Moscow
Wilhelmina Shavshina, Legal Director, Head of Foreign Trade Regulation, DLA Piper, Saint-Petersburg
Alexey Aronov, Legal Director, DLA Piper Moscow
Moderator: Stephanie Noël, international trade lawyer
The session focused on improving dialogue between Russian government and the private sector in the context of the multilateral trading system.
Aleksey Portansky from the School of World Economy reflected on the three-year anniversary of Russia’s membership in the WTO. Uncertainty around economic policies and deterioration of trade conditions were identified as the two major obstacles in diversification of the national economy. These are also aggravated by a number of restrictions on foreign actors in domestic markets and financial services as well as export promotion through restrictions on imports.
Marina Trunk-Fedorova from the Saint Petersburg State University Law School stressed that one of the most significant benefits of WTO membership is access to the dispute settlement mechanism. She said that a number of WTO members view Russia as the source of numerous complaints, but that this is not borne out through an examination of complaints filed. She said that this assumption stems from a lack of transparency in trade procedures in the private sector, as well as the high cost of engaging with the dispute settlement process. Ms Trunk-Fedorova also touched upon the issue of national experts, and noted that there is an ongoing effort to increase capacity, including the introduction of a new Master study programme in WTO law.
Vladimir Talanov from Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Parters provided a legal overview of Russian participation in the WTO. He stated that notifications and trade concerns on technical barriers to trade are among the most frequent notifications. The majority of these concerns are linked to a lack of transparency.
Russia currently encourages interplay between the domestic legal system and international law on trade questions: the international treaty holds dominance over the national legal system. Russia has already guaranteed the enforcement of the WTO agreements in national courts where WTO rules are superior to the provisions of the Federal Law. This so-called “direct effect” of WTO law is rarely adopted and implemented by member states because of possible inflow of complaints at all levels of businesses and trading entities. In reality, a number of WTO legal provisions, such as intellectual property rights, were not granted to the Russian business community. Overall, the effect is that the practice is fragmented and applied selectively by Russian policy-makers.
Wilhelmina Shavshina and Alexey Aronov, both from DLA Piper (Saint Petersburg), discussed the application of WTO rules to customs procedures, in particular evaluations and notification services. Russia has specific customs obligations in its Customs Union with four other post-Soviet states that exceed the WTO bound tariff. Because of this, customs classification is extremely important to ensure compliance with the customs duty rate. Ms Shavshina and Mr Aronov noted that export customs duties comprise an important component of the national budget. The system of indicative values is often based on the good faith of trading actors that do not abide by international standards.
Working session 49: How trade works for farmers, consumers, rural areas and jobs - perspective from agricultural stakeholders
Organiser: European Liaison Committee for Agricultural and Agri-Food Trade (CELCAA) and Copa Cogeca
The session will demonstrate how trade works for the agricultural sector. While agriculture has been protected from trade liberalisation until recently, the sector has started to open up to trade and hence has given inputs to Growth and Jobs. The first presentation (Rabobank) will provide facts on the impact of trade liberalisation for trading partners and how agriculture may turn to an engine for the economy. Trade can work as a mean to accompany domestic reforms to support competitiveness. This will be illustrated by a preseentation on the EU dairy industry and trade. Trade can also work for agriculture to promote rural areas and jobs through various means including promotion of high quality products such as GIs – this is the subject of the third presentation. The fourth presentation will provide a concrete example of the positive impact of trade from a perspective of a developing country. Finally the panel and participants will have time to exchange and debate.
Willy Schulz-Greve, Head of Unit, Analysis of trade and international policies, Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission
Mansel Raymond, Dairy Farmer, Chair of the Copa-Cogeca Milk Working Group
Ignacio Sanchez- Recarte, Secretary General of the European Committee of Wine Enterprises
Evelyn Nguleka, President of the World Farmers' Organization
Moderator: Cédric Pene, Counsellor, Agriculture and Commodities Division, WTO
The panel discussed how agriculture is central to the Doha Round. No matter what happens at the Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015, they said agriculture will always be central to WTO negotiations. The state of play of the negotiations today is such that it does not appear that there will be any meaningful package on agriculture - it is not clear what will be achieved in Nairobi. Cotton is an essential commodity that needs to be discussed – in particular for many African least developed countries.
Willy Schulz-Greve from the European Commission noted that the European Union (EU) is a net exporter of agri-food products, a category which includes commodities. He mentioned that despite the Russian embargo on certain products, exports of agri-food have increased. However, certain segments of agri-food have declined in 2014-15. He noted that besides market access, there are other issues that need to be dealt with, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures, geographical indications, investment, services and public procurement. In conclusion, EU agricultural policy has reformed and improved competitiveness.
Mansel Raymond from the Copa-Cogeca Milk Working Group said that 75 per cent of European milk producers - 1.2 million people - earn their livelihoods solely from producing milk. He noted that the Russian embargo has hurt dairy products in Europe, which is now diversifying into markets in Egypt and the United States. European milk producers now require a level playing field on domestic markets. He said that sanitary requirements in many countries are not based on scientific studies, and that milk producers also want further protection of geographical indications to protect consumers from fraud.
Ignacio Sanchez-Recarte from the European Committee of Wine Enterprises noted that vineyards are generally based in rural areas. Sixty per cent of global wine production originates in Europe. The wine industry contributes 6 billion euros to the European Union's trade surplus. He said that wine producers want market access, and said that one hindrance was perhaps the definition of wine, which varies in different countries.
Evelyn Nguleka from the World Farmers' Organization noted that agriculture supports many other commodities. She asserted that trade is not only about the amount of money earned, but also the effects of trade on countering malnutrition. She called for perceptions of trade and aid-related issues to change, and a strong knowledge exchange to identify future challenges. With urbanization, people leave rural areas to earn their livelihoods. To her, trade must protect these people and provide them with satisfactory livelihoods. Trade should be a tool to mitigate urban migration.
Working session 50: Continuing the success story: Which trade policy to make global value chains work?
Organiser: EuroCommerce and Foreign Trade Association
Global commerce in consumer goods is the most explicit example that trade works. ‘Trade with the world’ allows consumers to have access to an ever larger variety of products at affordable prices; and producing for global markets is an engine for economic growth and social progress in developing countries. The complexity of international trade patterns, expressed in the concept of global value chains, requires simple and transparent rules. However, today’s spaghetti bowl of conflicting procedures and standards is still severely hampering the exchange of goods.
Which rulebook do we need to respond to the quickly transforming business realities? What is the role of the WTO and the Doha Development Agenda? Which expectations for the Nairobi Ministerial Conference?
Marc Vanheukelen, EU Ambassador to the WTO
Katarina Maaskant, IKEA Group, Head of Public Affairs
• Shin-Yuan Lai, , Ambassador of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu to the WTO
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director of European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
Moderators: Ralph Kamphöner, Director of Policy, EuroCommerce and Pierre Gröning, Head of International Trade Policy, Foreign Trade Association
The panel noted that the existence of global value chains (GVCs) imply that the production of goods is more fragmented and as a result, GVCs have a strong impact on trade policy. Katrina Maaskant from IKEA illustrated how GVCs work at a regional level by giving an example of furniture produced by IKEA, which uses 30 different types of materials from 11 different countries. The panel also noted that GVCs face numerous challenges that could be addressed at the WTO level. For instance, there is an incredible delay in panel and Appellate Body procedures. If a dispute is left pending at the WTO, industries will incur losses. Issues such as different taxation systems and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) have also been mentioned as concerns that can make the life of economic operators, particularly retailers, very difficult. The Agreement on Trade Facilitation has a potential to address these NTBs, but it will only enter into force once two thirds of the members ratify it.
Looking forward, the panellists discussed the role of electronic commerce and the generalised system of preferences (GSP). In a globalized world, electronic commerce is becoming increasingly significant, but questions remain open on the privacy of data, national security and taxation. The panellists also mentioned that the GSP could be extended to individual companies which abide by different sustainability standards. Finally, the panel stressed the importance of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), and the Tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi in December 2015 in order to achieve sustainable development in GVCs.
Working session 51: Fostering regional integration through regional value chains: Perspectives from Sub Saharan Africa
Organiser: Government of Finland
There are few concrete examples of African countries integrating successfully into international production networks. However, just like regional trade can offer a country the opportunity to experiment with trade and strengthen its competitive advantage before venturing into the global economy, similarly regional value chains (RVCs) can effectively serve as a launch pad for countries wishing to plug themselves into GVCs.
RVCs have not been well documented in SSA. But that does not mean that they do not exist. Moreover, the potential to develop RVCs in specific sectors has been boosted by rules of origin in SSA’s trade agreements and by the ambition to achieve a pan-African FTA. This session will provide examples of RVCs in SSA, and explain how these could be leveraged as an instrument of inclusive growth in the region.
Päivi Kairamo, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN, WTO and Other International Organisations in Geneva
Mike Morris, Professor, University of Cape Town
Vinaye Ancharaz, Senior Development Economist, ICTSD
Johanna Silvander, Researcher, ILO
Ruben Phoolchund, Chief, Office for Africa, ITC (tbc)
Moderator: Darlington Mwape, Senior Fellow, ICTSD
The panel raised some key points including that the impact of regional and global value chains on social development has yet to be fully understood. Their benefits and implications are not as clear and unconditional as many might assume. Panellists suggested that stakeholders and policymakers focus on two particular aspects of inclusiveness with respect to regional and global value chains: first, integrating small- and medium-sized enterprises into regional and global value chains; and second, enabling women to fully benefit from value chains. Preferential market arrangements are critically important for the development of strong regional and global value chains.
The panel noted that different types of value chains can have different outcomes, both economically and socially. Vertically-specialized value chains exist where value-added production occurs in parallel and not in linear form (different products being produced simultaneously and being incorporated together in a final product). This type of value chain predominates in Asia. Additive value chains are those in which value-added production is linear (value being added sequentially rather than simultaneously). Most value is added further down the production chain, outside the resource-rich country. These value chains predominate in Africa. Panellists summarized research showing the lack of a connection between "economic upgrading" (moving up a value chain), and "social upgrading" (improving human and workers' rights). Indeed, there is even evidence of "social downgrading" as a consequence of regional and global value chains.
With respect to gender, the panel noted that women have received some limited benefits from participation in value chains, such as increased job opportunities. However, many problems remain, particularly the reality that women remain predominantly in low-skilled jobs. Some reasons for women's inability to capitalize on the opportunities provided by regional and global value chains are: women's time is not their own (particularly due to an expectation of caregiving); women have less access to factors of production; and gender differences result from the distorting and discriminatory structures of markets and institutions.
The panel concluded by noting that there is a large scope for institutions, civil society and governments to both respond to the negative impacts or concerns generated by regional and global value chains, and to enable firms and individuals to take proper advantage of those value chains. In particular, Aid for Trade can play a part in facilitating firms' connectivity to regional and global value chains as well as in facilitating gender equality in the distribution of benefits that accrue due to regional and global value chains.
Working session 52: The TRIPS Agreement, Innovation & Access to Medicines: 20 Years On
Organiser: Peoples Health Movement (PHM), Mιdecins San Frontiθres (MSF), Third World Network (TWN) and UNAIDS
The WTO-TRIPS Agreement brought about significant changes to the standards of IP protection. It is now 20 years since the WTO-TRIPS Agreement. The session will assess developments that have taken place in the 20 years since the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement and discuss the challenges and opportunities in the context of access to medicines and public health innovation, highlighting specific country experiences. The session will also discuss the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health agreed at the 2001 WTO ministerial conference in Doha as it remains a landmark achievement for addressing the relationship between IP and public health The session will also examine intellectual property trends since the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement as well as what the future holds for public health innovation & access to medicines.
Sangeeta Sashikant, Third World Network (moderator)
Mariangela Simao, Director of Rights, Gender, Prevention, and Community Mobilization department, UNAIDS.
Ellen ‘t Hoen, Medicines Law and Policy.
Hu Yuanqiong, Legal and Policy Advisor, MSF Access Campaign.
Michael Wamai, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Uganda
Srikar Mysore, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India to the WTO
The session assessed developments in the 20 years since the adoption of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and discussed the challenges and opportunities in the context of access to medicines and public health innovation. The session also discussed the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health agreed at the 2001 WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, including the least developed countries' (LDCs) medicines waiver, as it remains a landmark achievement for addressing the relationship between IP and public health.
Moderator Sangeeta Sashikant from the Third World Network presented the challenges and opportunities of access to medicine, its importance, public health and research and development (R&D). She said that even though there have been developments and progress in terms of access to medicine (use of TRIPS flexibilities), large issues still remain, and that the current system may not work for R&D.
Mariangela Simao from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) presented her programme's activities. She said that TRIPS flexibilities are important in overcoming barriers to access to medicine, but that they are very difficult to use. She agreed that the current system must be revisited, and emphasized that innovation and access to medicines must be affordable and sustainable to governments.
Ms Sashikant highlighted the need for affordable second- and third-line drugs and an appropriate legal policy environment.
Michael Wamai from the Permanent Mission of Uganda provided the LDCs' perspective. He discussed the LDCs' request for extension of the medicines waiver, and its status at the WTO. He reported that most WTO members acknowledge the importance of the issue and are willing to support the LDC request to different extents. He highlighted the significance of this mechanism to LDCs and stated being able to exercise these flexibilities is a matter of life or death.
Ellen ‘t Hoen from Medicines Law and Policy also focused on the importance of the LDCs' medicine waiver, and its difference from the general TRIPS extension. She underlined that this special waiver has been widely used in procuring medicine and providing legal protection for LDCs. She called on WTO members to satisfy what she qualified as a modest extension request by LDCs, and stated that by rejecting such a request, they would be sending the wrong message as this mechanism is the most effective one for LDCs in the WTO. She noted access to medicine is a problem for countries at all levels of development.
Hu Yuanqiong from the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Access Campaign presented the MSF position on the issue. She asserted that competition from genericproducts s is a catalyst for drug price reductions. However, she noted that expanding the patent regime through the TRIPS Agreement has been an impediment to access to medicines. She explored the high cost of second- and third-line drugs in developing countries, as well high prices for new drugs for millions of people. She stated that the patent-centric R&D model has failed to deliver access to medicines and concluded by calling on global society to "set innovation free" and aim for "R&D for the poor".
Srikar Mysore from the Permanent Mission of India to the WTO explained the notion of non-violation complaints in the context of the TRIPS Agreement, the current state of play in the TRIPS Council and its potential harm. Currently, there is a moratorium on non-violation complaints under the TRIPS Agreement, and some WTO members have proposed to make the moratorium permanent because such a mechanism could lead to legal uncertainty and ambiguity, and undermine access to medicine.
Workshop 15: Developing Countries and Global Value Chains; Why? What? Where to?
Organiser: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Bank
The momentous shifts in global economic activity driven by the emergence of Global Value Chains have presented new challenges and opportunities for developing countries. These no longer have to master the entire production process of a good and can now slot into different segments of international production to exploit their comparative advantage. Having made some progress in mapping value chains, the challenge is now to complete the understanding, including on the benefits, drivers and consequences of further participation. Moreover, with technological change constantly transforming the nature of business worldwide, such questions need to be discussed with a forward-looking approach. This session will draw on the insights from recent OECD and World Bank work as well as insights from business representatives, academics and policy makers to shine a light on the why, how and what of GVC participation for developing countries.
Javier Lopez Gonzalez, Trade Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Sarah F. Thorn, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Mariam MD. Salleh, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the World Trade Organisation
Vu Lam, Chairman and CEO KMS-technology
Moderator: Daria Taglioni, Global solutions Lead for Global Value Chains, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group
Javier Lopez Gonzalez of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development discussed the latest trends in global value chains (GVCs). He said more developing countries are participating in GVCs, and that there are more regional value chains. Complementarity is important. Beyond trade policy (like tariffs), investment in hard and soft infrastructure is necessary, and such policies should seek to improve the supply chain.
Mariam MD Salleh, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the WTO, shared the experience of a developing country in integrating into GVCs. She recounted that some countries' early experiences of trade is through colonial channels and later through regional trading areas which attract foreign investment for manufacturing. She asserted that paying attention to benchmarks and competitiveness rankings enables governments to improve the ease of trade across borders through reforms to customs and measures which increase attractiveness to investors, such as intellectual property protection.
Sarah Thorn from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. spoke about the requirements for developing country exporters to join GVCs. She noted that buyers look at price, value and reliability of exporters. Suppliers have to overcome complex requirements like barcodes, liability insurance, delivery costs and audit standards, which are often designed with larger factories in mind. She emphasized that exporting is hard for small producers, but that one way to penetrate GVCs might be to first enter the local value chain to understand the demands of the market. Finally, she noted that sourcing conditions set by some foreign trade agreements (for example, rules of origin or content requirements) further complicate the situation for exporters.
Vu Lam from KMS-technology presented the experience of his small business in GVCs. He concluded that GVCs sometimes benefit small businesses because they allow the firm to tap larger global suppliers for needed resources.
Working session 53: Trade and development: the role of GVCs, the impact of trade on fiscal policies, and the experience of Least Developed Countries
Organiser: The Evian Group
International trade can be an important lever for development. This session will explore the experiences of developing countries in integrating into the world economy by analysing the role of entrepreneurial leadership in dealing with institutional voids in infrastructure, health, education and environmental policies (the case of Madagascar), the strategy of China in integrating in GVCs, and the macroeconomic implications (e.g., impact on fiscal revenues) of trade liberalization. The session will also address the interaction between trade agreements (at multilateral and preferential levels) with non-trade agreements (BITs and international tax agreements).
Michael Daly, External Advisor, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF
Marc Laperrouza, Lecturer, EPFL
Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Emeritus Professor, IMD and Founder, The Evian Group@IMD
Fabrice Lehmann, consultant, The Evian Group@IMD
Aluisio de Lima-Campos, Adjunct Professor, Washington College of Law, American University
Moderator: Carlos A. Primo Braga, Professor, IMD and Director, The Evian Group@IMD
The panel asserted that international trade is an important springboard for development, and stated that Kazakhstan's upcoming accession to the WTO will provide an opportunity to see which trade activities will develop in this country.
The panellists said it is important not to cut corners in development. For instance, an institutional framework and education are essential to help foster growth. If we take the example of Madagascar, a country where 94 per cent of the population is below the poverty line, institutional stability, education and health are important aspects for integration into the world economy.
Panellists discussed the possible impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which some feared will fragment the world rather than unify it. They suggested the WTO could play a role by adopting new paradigms, new ideas and new processes of reform adapted to the 21st century.
The panel said that global value chains (GVCs) require cooperation between government and firms. They also said that it is important for countries to pay attention to what their neighbours are doing in terms of policy, as firms may choose to leave their home country and move to neighbouring countries, which provide incentives through lower taxes and lower energy and labour costs. Trade and tax are intertwined: taxes can be a major source of revenue, particularly in developing countries, and tax revenue losses owing to trade liberalization can be recouped by improving the tax structure.
Working session 54: Looking Backwards and Forwards: The Changing Dynamics of WTO-Civil Society Relations
Organiser: King's College London and King's University College at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Trade has undoubtedly worked for some but it has also left others behind. Civil society organisations are often seen as playing a crucial role in helping to mitigate the exclusion of weaker states, giving voice to marginalised communities, and raising environmental and developmental concerns within the trade system. The politicization and demystification of the global trade agenda by civil society also opens space for a more diverse set of actors to influence trade negotiations. This panel explores the interaction between civil society and the WTO within this context. It seeks to shed light on the extent to which civil society has succeeded in its aims and how its relationship with the WTO has evolved. While the infamous Battle of Seattle casts a long shadow, this panel explores how we should characterise the current relationship 15 years on, who has been brought within the tent, and who remains on the outside.
Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, CEO, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
Deborah James, Director of International Programs, Centre for Economic and Policy Research, member of Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS)
Rashid Kaukab, Director, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International Geneva
Bernard Kuiten, Head of External Relations, World Trade Organization
Yvonne Theemann, Senior Program Officer for Trade and Development, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
Rorden Wilkinson, Professor and Head of Department of International Relations, University of Sussex
Moderator: Erin Hannah, King’s University College at the University of Western Ontario
Deborah James from Our World Is Not For Sale said the private sector is predominant in trade, drawing upon specific examples. She said a reason why there is no civil society participation in the WTO is because they do not see room for impact.
Rashid Kaukab from the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International said that over time, developing country members of the WTO came to realize that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could be partners. He noted that while formal engagement in the WTO is limited to governments or inter-governmental organizations only, at the semi-formal level, there is some room for creativity. Mr Kaukab called on the WTO Secretariat to take the lead and propose initiatives beyond the Public Forum mandate. Finally, he called upon the WTO to give NGOs observer status.
Bernard Kuiten of the WTO said that the WTO is a member-driven organization and thus must engage as its members request. He drew the session's attention to the fact that NGOs are already engaging with the WTO, and that the Public Forum works well. He underscored the significant change in NGO opinion of the WTO from the Seattle Ministerial Conference in 1999 to today.
Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) highlighted that the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was of interest to the business community. He noted that his organization is trying to improve access to the WTO for all. He concluded that he hoped that the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015 sees a debate about the role of the WTO in global governance, particularly into questions such as the sustainable development goals.
Rorden Wilkinson from the University of Sussex mentioned that the Public Forum has become increasingly business-oriented, with a declining number of NGOs participating. He said that when the Public Symposium (precursor of the Public Forum) was held, it was very much a public education exercise, whose need was evident after the Seattle Ministerial Conference in 1999. He estimated that today the Public Forum is largely about securing positions, and called for a return to discussions on complex topics such as the link between trade and the sustainable development goals.
Working session 55: Are additional investment rules needed to make trade work?
Organiser: Norwegian Trade Campaign, Programme on Womens Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR) and PowerShift e.V.
This session will examine the latest investment rules being negotiated in treaties such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and being proposed in new model bilateral investment treaties and the implications for developed and developing countries of including them at the WTO.
Felipe Hees, Counsellor from the Mission permanente du Brésil auprès de l'Organisation Mondiale du Commerce et des autres organisations économiques à Genève
Muhammad Takdir, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
Malte Marwedel, legal researcher, Faculty of Law, University of Freiburg, Germany
Felipe Hees from the Brazilian Mission to the WTO discussed Brazil's new model for bilateral investment treaties, the Agreement on Cooperation and Facilitation of Investment (ACFI). It is hoped that this approach , which enhances institutional governance, will be tailor made to the needs of both countries party to the agreement, and will prevent disputes.
Muhammad Takdir from the Indonesian Mission to the WTO said that Indonesia is seeking a new regime of international investment agreements which balance out the rights and responsibilities of states and investors. Indonesia is currently undertaking a review of its bilateral investment treaties and free trade agreements, and looking towards a new bilateral investment treaty model with long-term benefits for states and investors.
Malte Marwedel from the University of Freiburg (Germany) said that the European Union (EU) has signed over 1,000 bilateral investment treaties with non-EU countries, comprising one-third of bilateral investment treaties worldwide. Key concerns in the investment treaties currently being negotiated by the EU include investor privileges and public interest regulation, the tendency of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system to favour investors, the unknowns of the ISDS system, and the lack of transparency in the ISDS. He proposed a new approach which safeguards rights to regulate, and a more predictable and less costly ISDS system.
Working session 56: Making Digital Trade work for all: seizing opportunities, addressing challenges
Organiser: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
When the WTO was established, the digital economy was still in its infancy. Twenty years later, digitalisation has had a profound impact on how ‘trade works.’ Digital solutions are used to sell and deliver products and services, while businesses move data across borders as an intrinsic part of their daily operations. In this regard, what are the key barriers and constraints faced by businesses engaged in digital trade? c) Which could be the possible areas for improvement in the global trading system to address these constrains and barriers? d) Is the WTO, at 20, well equipped to accompany the growing digitalisation of economic activity and trade? These are some of the questions to be addressed during this session which will include first-hand accounts from business whose growth relies on digital technologies and reflections from top trade experts in this field of digital trade.
Arancha González, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)
Rosa Delgado ICT strategy expert at VIP Consultants
Michael Kende, Chief Economist, Internet Society
Julian Braithewaite, UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
Hosuk Lee Makiyama, Director of ECIPE
Moderator: Andrew Crosby, Managing Director for Communications and Strategy, ICTSD
The panel noted that digitalisation has profoundly impacted how "trade works". Digital solutions are now used to sell and deliver products and services, while businesses move data across borders as an intrinsic part of their daily operations. This was not the case twenty years ago when the WTO was established and the digital economy was still in its infancy. They then sought to explore the key barriers and constraints faced by businesses engaged in digital trade, possible remedies for these barriers in the global trading system, and whether the WTO is well-equipped to accompany the growing digitalisation of economic activity and trade.
Arancha González from the International Trade Centre said that the Internet represents a huge opportunity for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For many people in developing countries, it represents the first pathway to connect to markets. Enabling efforts should be made at the levels of payments systems, hard and soft infrastructure, socio-political culture (understood here to mean customer service, the ability to interact with the government, change in education) and bridging the digital divide to enable productivity.
Rosa Delgado from VIP Consultants said that business and countries that do not connect to the Internet will be left out. Developing countries also need to engage in research for effectiveness, competitiveness and job creation. Emerging markets specialised in agricultural products must seek ways to engage digital pursuit. The way forward is investing in education despite its very high cost.
Michael Kende from the Internet Society highlighted the gap in Internet access, which is roughly 40 per cent globally. This is compared to 99.5 per cent of people who have access to a phone signal. For Internet access to be affordable, he estimated that it must be less than 10 per cent of a user's revenue. He also noted that local, relevant content increases traffic and consumption. Finally, the Internet can help producers to produce content.
Mark Matthews from the Permanent Mission of the UK to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva noted that the UK spends GBP 1 billion annually in Aid for Trade, some of which supports building and upgrading digital services and banking systems, both of which play a role in development and poverty reduction. Recent WTO agreements such as the Agreement on Trade Facilitation and the Information Technology Agreement are expected to provide many benefits.
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama from the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) highlighted that e-commerce is a colossal market, particularly in terms of data - it represents US$ 1.2 billion per annum, which equals Australia's GDP. The WTO must adapt to cover issues of digital commerce.
Working session 57: Given the threat of the Economic Partnership Agreements on the Sub-Saharan Africa's food security the WTO can and should improve its rules of agricultural trade
Organiser: Rιseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles d'Afrique de l'Ouest (ROPPA), Brot fuer die Welt and National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS)
For trade to work for the benefit of the poorest rural populations, those in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), its rules must take into account the inequality of partners. The Doha Round, called the Development Round, represented a great hope for SSA but the inability to conclude it has led the EU to negotiate EPAs which are posing threats for the SSA peasantry and economies. Improved rules of the Agreement on Agriculture would give the SSA the policy space, enjoyed in the past by developed countries, to be able to meet its enormous challenges in the medium-long term: increased food deficit, amplified by its population explosion and climate change. Policies ensuring remunerative and stable prices to SSA farmers, two thirds of the population, would boost the entire economy and guarantee to developed and emerging countries that they could export to SSA in the medium and long terms high value added products and services.
Mamadou Cissokho, Honorary President of ROPPA, Senegal
Bassiaka Dao, Président of the Confédération Paysanne du FASO, Burkina Faso
Jane Nalunga, Country Director, Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute, (SEATINI)-Uganda
Ken Ukaoha, President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), Nigeria
Peter Lunenborg, South Centre, Switzerland
Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, Executive Secretary of ENDA-CACID, Senegal
Francisco Mari representing brot-fuer-die-welt
Jacques Berthelot, Academic and Agricultural Policy Analyst for Solidarité, France
Le Cycle de Doha, dénommé Cycle du développement, a suscité de grands espoirs pour l'Afrique subsaharienne, mais l'incapacité de le conclure a conduit l'Union européenne à négocier des accords de partenariat économique (APE) qui représentent une menace pour les paysans et les économies de la région. L'APE demande plus de flexibilité et le secteur privé quant à lui demande une protection à l'agriculture. Une amélioration des règles de l'Accord sur l'Agriculture offrirait à l'Afrique subsaharienne la marge de manœuvre nécessaire, dont les pays développés ont bénéficié dans le passé, pour affronter ses immenses défis à moyen et long terme.
Working session 58: Services Trade: Making it Work for LDCs and Lower Income Countries
Organiser: CUTS International, Geneva, International Lawyers and Economists Against Poverty (ILEAP) and University of Sussexs CARIS
Services are key in any effort to make trade work for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. Strengthening the capacity of the sector to achieve such aims however runs up against a number of obstacles, especially in LDCs and LICs. Overcoming such challenges requires, inter alia: i) accessing reliable services trade data and improving the necessary skills to analyse it for informed policy decisions; ii) improving institutional and stakeholder interaction mechanisms to support decision-making; and iii) developing capacity for competitiveness-enhancing interventions.
This working session will examine good practices in these areas for LDCs and LICs in particular and will draw on various cross-cutting and country studies being undertaken by ILEAP, CUTS International Geneva and CARIS.
Anirudh Shingal, Senior Research Fellow, World Trade Institute, University of Bern & Research Associate, CARIS, University of Sussex
Julian Mukiibi, Senior Programme Officer, CUTS International, Geneva
Abid Khan, Minister, Bangladesh Mission to the UN, WTO and Other International Organisations in Geneva
Mina Mashayekhi, Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial diplomacy Branch, UNCTAD
Moderator: James Baxter, Deputy Permanente Representative of Australia to the WTO
This session explored how low and lower-middle-income countries (LICs and LMICs, respectively) can better take advantage of trade in services. Case studies from Brazil, Viet Nam and Kenya were presented.
The panel noted that services are key in any effort to make trade work for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. While they are the backbone of advanced economies, services only contribute marginally to developing countries’ growth. Many LICs and LMICs have engaged in services trade negotiations at various levels (bilateral, regional, multilateral), but their success has been limited. This is due to the complex nature of services negotiations, which call for higher levels of technical expertise, often beyond their current capacity.
The panel noted that the main domestic challenges for least-developed countries (LDCs), LICs and LMICs in promoting trade in services include the lack of access to reliable data and the ability to analyse it, and improve institutional and stakeholder interaction mechanisms to support decision-making. Key recommendations to address these challenges were: promoting coordination between various government entities to address overlapping mandates; expediting key legislation and amendments addressing gaps and inefficiencies in the services sector; ensuring regulatory compliance with licensing requirements and universal access obligations; evaluating pertinence and the feasibility of local content provisions; and undertaking outreach activities.
Working session 59: Creating Employment in a Globalized World: What Industrial Policies Work?
Organiser: TWN Africa, Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) and Uniσn Obrera Metalϊrgica de la R.A. (UOMRA)
Negotiations to reduce tariffs on information technology (IT) goods or environmental goods (EGs) will have a direct impact on workers in those sectors, as well as consumers of those goods. What are the policies in the industrial sector, particularly for IT and EGs sectors, that work to promote Decent Work, according to the standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as quality, accessible products for consumers? At the same time, many of the proposals in the Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) negotiations in the WTO, which developing countries have been advocating for nearly 20 years, also affect industrial policy, jobs, and small and medium enterprise creation. What trade policies in the ITA and EGs negotiations, along with the Doha Round, would work to ensure positive outcomes in SDT for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), African countries, and Small and Vulnerable Economies (SVEs) as well as other developing in accordance with the Doha mandate?
Demian Dalle, Director, International Economy Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Argentina.
Irmgard Nubler, Economic and Labour Market Analysis Department, International Labour Organization
Yorgos Altintzís, Policy Officer, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Mohamad Saadi, Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Morocco
Sylvester Bagooro, Programme Officer, Africa Trade Network (ATN), Ghana
G. Manicandan, Forum Against FTAs, India
• Seyed Mehdi Shafaeddin, South Centre, Geneva
Tetteh Hormeku, Head of Programmes, Third World Network – Africa, Ghana
Les nombreuses propositions présentées dans le cadre des négociations sur le traitement spécial et différencié (TSD) à l'OMC, que les pays en développement soutiennent depuis près de 20 ans, ont un effet sur les politiques industrielles, l'emploi et la création des petites et moyennes entreprises. L'objet de la séance de travail était de répondre à la question suivante: quelles sont les politiques qui fonctionnent dans un monde globalisé? Les intervenants ont soulevé que les marges industrielles pour le développement ont été réduites, et qu'il faudrait poser la question si les politiques industrielles actuelles sont pertinentes pour le développement. Un autre point soulevé était que les préoccupations des pays en développement ne sont pas les mêmes que celles des pays développés. Ces derniers souhaitent une ouverture plus accrue des marchés des pays en développement. Les implications des approches actuelles (approche de l'OMC et de certaines institutions internationales) pour l'économie mondiale ont été abordées au cours de la séance de travail.
La philosophie néolibérale en matière de commerce a été évoquée, et selon les propos d'un paneliste, les règles parlent de libéralisation des marchandises mais pas de libéralisation concernant l'accès à la main d'œuvre. Il a souligné et démontré à ce niveau que les règles de l'OMC sont contradictoires. Ces règles prônent plus la libéralisation des marchés que l'aspect développement. Il propose une approche alternative à l'échec de la libéralisation, c'est-à-dire des politiques commerciales dynamiques adaptées à chaque situation. Il s'agit pour ce faire d'adopter des politiques mixtes (protection + libéralisme) qui évoluent et s'adaptent aux réalités du moment. Il propose aussi l'approche inverse aux règles de l'OMC pour rendre les règles plus flexibles et dynamiques pour une meilleure diffusion des technologies vers les pays en développement.
L'importance de l'espace politique dans le processus de développement économique avec des exemples de modèles et de cas a été évoquée au cours de la séance de travail.
A book and its author: Rules of origin in ASEAN. A way forward
Presented by WTO Bookshop and Library
• Stefano Inama, Senior Expert at U.N Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
• Other speakers to be confirmed
BOOK LAUNCH: The WTO at twenty: challenges and achievements
The book explores how multilateralism in trade has worked over the past 20 years – and provides some lessons about how it can work in the future. It describes the WTO's achievements across a number of key areas including strengthening the institutional foundations of the trade system; widening its membership and increasing participation; deepening trade integration through lower barriers and stronger rules; improving transparency and policy dialogue; strengthening dispute settlement; expanding cooperation with other international organizations; and enhancing public outreach. The discussion shows that, despite its size and complexity – or because of it – the multilateral trading system is probably the most successful example of international economic cooperation in history.
Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization
Susan Schwab, Former USTR
Harsha Singh, Senior Associate at ICTSD for Strategic Research and Policy Analysis.
• David Unterhalter, former Appellate Body member, Senior Counsel at Monckton Chambers (by video link)
Moderator: Patrick Low, Fellow, Asia Global Institute
Workshop 16: Future of the free zones: dedicated facilities Vs incentives
Organiser: World Free Zones Organization
Free zones around the world offer a large number of advantages. They can roughly be divided into “incentives” (reduction or exemption of Customs duties and taxes, different corporate and financial rules, changed regulations regarding foreign investment, labor and immigration and the like) and “facilities” (improved access to physical facilities, such as ports, land and transportation, and electricity). Free zones are widely used to offer both incentives and advantageous physical facilities.
What is the current situation globally with regard to facilities and infrastructure investments to support foreign trade? What is the role of free zones in encouraging physical infrastructure as well as regulatory reform to facilitate trade and development?
Free zones are often established near a seaport or more recently an airport to support international trade, both import and export. As the free zones represent an economic development tool to enhance foreign trade, are there new investments which free zones should consider to improve the availability of free zones and to increase their benefits?
Speakers to be confirmed
Workshop 17: BioTrade for Inclusive Growth: What works and what challenges persist
Organiser: Centre for Socio-EcoNomic Development (CSEND) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Biodiversity-based initiatives such as BioTrade are a nascent territory for inclusive cross–border trade and economic growth. Countries endowed with rich biodiversity can benefit from efficient and predictable trading system. To develop sustainably biodiversity-based initiatives is important for local development and offers economic opportunities for marginalised populations to break away from the entrenching poverty trap. Panellists will review the current global biodiversity trade: its landscape, volume, global value chains, key stakeholders and active participating countries. Challenges facing the development and expansion of biodiversity-based industries in a sustainable manner will be addressed in addition to sharing success experiences from countries. Reflection will be made on the gap and incoherence between existing trade regimes and environmental agreements, particularly those linked to biodiversity (e.g. CBD and CITES). Missing enablers for integration into the GVCs of pharmacy, cosmetics and food sectors will be highlighted.
Lichia Yiu, President, Centre for Socio-EcoNomic Development (CSEND)
Lorena Jaramillo, Economic Affairs Officer, Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch, Division on International Trade in Goods and Services, and Commodities, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Raymond Saner, Director, Centre for Socio-EcoNomic Development (CSEND)
Claude Heimo, Senior Adviser, Centre for Socio-Economic Development (CSEND) and former senior project adviser, BioTrade in Vietnam (2013-2014)
Bernardo Calzadilla, Director, Trade Capacity Building Branch, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
René Gómez-García Palao, Head of the Environmental Business Unit, Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)
Ann Kathrin Zotz, Associate Expert, Trade and Environment Programme, Sector Competitiveness Division, International Trade Centre (ITC)
Raymond Saner from the Centre for Socio-Economic Development (CSEND) said there is the issue of policy and coherence between the WTO agreements and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). There are overlapping policy regimes for biodiversity-based trade between the GATT–WTO and multilateral environmental agreements. He queried whether the trade or biodiversity regime should be given priority in policy matters.
Mariona Cusi from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) noted that by 2050, trade in sustainable goods is projected to be worth US$ 6 trillion. BioTrade is comprised of the collection, production, transformation and the commercialization of goods and services derived from native biodiversity under criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability. She explained that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) BioTrade initiative, established in 1996, encompasses seven dimensions: conservation; sustainable use; fair and equitable sharing of benefits; socio-economic sustainability; compliance with national and international regulations; respect for the rights of actors involved; and clarity about land tenure, use and access to natural resources and knowledge.
Frank Van Rompaey from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) said that services like calibration and the measuring of standards, process certification, testing and inspection should be targeted to the needs of users. He explored the cosmetics value chain by sharing a study about the Colombian cosmetics sector. UNIDO will come to an understanding of the most relevant mandatory and voluntary standards, with a focus on voluntary organic and bio-ethical standards. Next, Ann Kathrin Zotz from the International Trade Centre spoke about trade and investment support institutions, public-private partnership development, market intelligence and capacity building.
Claude Heimo from the Centre for Socio-Economic Development (CSEND) presented the BioTrade supply chain concept. BioTrade supply chains provide many benefits: they can improve livelihoods, and environmental conservation, support economic growth and promote exports. Key challenges include policy harmonization, increasing efficiency and effectiveness, emphasizing poverty reduction, complying with regulations, certifications and standards; private sector engagement; research and development; raising awareness; disseminating information; and non-tariff barriers. Next, René Gomez-García Palao detailed the role of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) in training and capacity building, market access and sustainability to open doors for novelty foods and BioTrade.
Finally, Lorena Jaramillo from UNCTAD talked about the linkages between livelihoods and biodiversity. She urged companies to take advantage of BioTrade and biodiversity opportunities because consumers are now demanding healthy and natural products. In this manner, the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns can be strategic. She raised the concern of food labelling, which can sometimes become a problematic trade barrier, especially with private standards from supermarkets: many labels but little coherence.
Workshop 18: Restoring Multilateral Trade Cooperation in a Multipolar Global Economy: What is the Future of the WTO?
Organiser: South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)
This session seeks to discuss the emerging strategic realignments in the global trading system, consequent on the failure of the Doha Round and driven by an increasingly multipolar global economy, which has encouraged the growing trend towards bilateral and regional trading arrangements. Developing countries in general, and African countries in particular, need to prepare for a potential ‘post mega-regional’ world and accordingly reassess their trade strategies with particular reference to the WTO. This session will discuss various ways of closing the gap between developed and developing country members of the WTO. It will reflect ongoing work by a high level group on the implications of the shifting sands of alliance possibilities in the WTO, rooted as these are in broader geopolitical dynamics.
Peter Draper, South African Institute of International Affairs,
Richard Cunningham, the Cordell Hull Institute, USA
Mustafizur Rahman, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh
Xinquan Tu, China Institute for WTO Studies, University of International Business Economics, China
Vera Thorstensen, Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil
Babajide Sodipo, African Union Commission, Ethipoia
Moderator: Memory Dube, from the South African Institute of International Affairs
This session discussed the emerging strategic realignments in the global trading system, driven by an increasingly multipolar global economy which has encouraged the growing trend towards bilateral and regional trading arrangements. It also discussed various ways of closing the gap between developed and developing country members of the WTO.
Peter Draper from the South African Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA) introduced a new project, coordinated by SAIIA, called "Restoring Multilateral Trade Cooperation". It explores how multilateral trade negotiations can be revitalised to overcome both existing and emerging challenges. The motivation of the project is to explore the implications of WTO deadlock for developing and developed countries bypassing the WTO via mega-regional preferential trade agreements and plurilateral negotiations. His "diagnosis" is that a global power shift, widely-divergent interests, and the complexity of making decisions via consensus in a single undertaking is hindering progress. Responses to this deadlock have included new architecture, such as mega-regional agreements, and new and different responses from the WTO, such as the Bali Package. One of his ideas was to consider the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) as a possible template, and also, on another note, perhaps try tackling agriculture in a plurilateral framework.
Richard Cunningham from the Cordell Hull Institute gave an overview from the US perspective. He called on the WTO to face the conceptual gap between its members by, among other things, paying proper attention to non-tariff barriers and global value chains and exploring specific issues such as the Agreement on Trade Facilitation. He also pointed out that lack of leadership in developed and developing countries as well as an absence of policy responses to mega-regionals in developing countries constitute a problem. He suggested moving beyond the Doha Round.
Vera Thorstensen from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas provided key insights from Brazil and other Latin American countries. In response to mega-regionals, she urged developing countries to bring these issues into the WTO (for example, start consultations on Art. XXIV). She also urged developing countries to bring the new issues, such as non-tariff barriers and global value chains, into the WTO, since tariffs are no longer an issue. She emphasised that the WTO is the only place to discuss these issues.
Xinquan Tu from the University of International Business Economics presented China's perspective. He urged everyone to consider the changed political economy within the WTO, and to evaluate whether multilateralism is still the best option, personally favouring the plurilateral approach. In his opinion, China is neither prepared for liberalization nor accession to the Agreement on Government Procurement. He stated his belief that the Chinese government should be in partial control of the economy.
Mustafizur Rahman from the Centre for Policy Dialogue (Bangladesh) identified issues faced by developing and least-developed countries (LDCs): political coherence, mega-regionals and discord among LDCs in the WTO. He briefed on the current status of LDC proposals at the WTO and noted that there is a frustration within LDCs, in the context of the forthcoming Tenth Ministerial Conference scheduled for Nairobi in December 2015, in regards to developed countries' commitments regarding Aid for Trade and the TFA. In his conclusion he urged members to bear in mind the development dimension when configuring the way forward for the WTO.
Babajide Sodipo from the African Union Commission began by asking whether development is a legitimate objective of the WTO. He stressed that only after agreeing on this fundamental issue, members can reach consensus. He noted that some members are reluctant to admit the existence of a development dimension to the WTO. He also highlighted that for Africa, it is not trade for the sake of trade, but it is trade for development. He also raised the issues of political coherence and a lack of firm leadership in negotiations.
Workshop 19: Satellite communications and connectivity as key enablers for growth
Organiser: EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA)
This Working Session will aim to examine the barriers to connectivity in developing regions, including to enable cross-border connectivity and infrastructure for local content hosting and delivery. Removing these barriers will lower the cost for users within a country and provide better IT services. This in turn offers access for developing countries to the world’s global marketplace, while establishing a market for locally generated content and applications, creating jobs and extending economic opportunities throughout the region.
We will provide examples of how satellite communications services can bring in this context direct economic benefit to developing countries. Through these examples and studies, we will identify best policy practice and regulatory frameworks that can help those regions reap the gains of trade and fully participate in global market economy. We will also outline how restrictive market access policies can lead to lower economic growth and further Digital Divide.
• Ania Helseth, Head of Public Policy at ESOA, EMEA Satellite Operators Association
Cosmas Zavazava, Chief of Department, Project Support and Knowledge Management, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)
Yulia Koulikova, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Inmarsat
Cecil Ameil, Chair of ESOA Regulatory Working Group
Moderator: Stefan Amarasinha, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the EU to the WTO
Workshop 20: How intermediates are changing trade
Organiser: Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA Europe) and European Services Forum (ESF)
This workshop will explore how intermediates (e.g. e-commerce platforms and telecoms solution providers) increasingly act as facilitators of international trade in every mode of delivery and as market makers. Trade experts will, in an interactive debate with the audience, discuss how trade negotiators can remove barriers for intermediates in areas such as customs procedures, market access, telecommunications, transport, liability protections, and copyright.
Marc Vanheukelen, EU Ambassador to WTO
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Executive Director, European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
Tilmann Kupfer, Vice President, Trade & International Affairs, BT Group
Pascal Kerneis, Managing Director, European Services Forum (ESF)
Samuel Laurinkari, Senior Manager, EU Government Relations, eBay Inc
Moderator: Christian Borggreen, Director, Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) (confirmed)
This session addressed how intermediates such as logistics services, e-commerce platforms, telecommunications solutions providers increasingly act as the infrastructure for and facilitators of international trade, and the ways in which they are changing how markets operate. Panellists addressed how trade negotiators can remove barriers for intermediates.
Pascal Kerneis from the European Services Forum asserted that intermediate service providers need trade negotiators to secure nondiscrimation and global market access. He said it would be ideal if the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) can be ratified during the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, and for the second Information Technology Agreement (ITA II) and the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) to make substantial progress.
Tilmann Kupfer from the BT Group said that communications providers such as BT offer trade and business solutions for globalized, multi-location businesses, yet their services suffer from lack of sufficient market opening, foreign investment restrictions and inadequate regulatory foundations. He urged trade negotiations to revive their efforts to solve these problems.
Samuel Laurinkari from eBay Incorporated said that e-commerce platforms are changing the way small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) trade. They no longer rely on links with large companies, but now reach consumers directly. To succeed, SMEs need reliable and affordable Internet, competitive postal and shipping services, and simplified solutions for customs, value-added tax and product specification details.
Fabien Gehl from the European Union mission to the WTO said that negotiators are asking how to better address services within global value chains. He noted that negotiators need to get the basics right for infrastructure sectors, to focus on the liberalization of services linked with goods, and also to ensure that negotiations are comprehensive because of the many interlinkages.
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama from the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) stated that digitization has changed the logic of international trade, favouring specialization within the value chain, and hence new opportunities. Negotiators need to recognize that barriers to trade by emerging intermediaries and impediments to data flows, even if for legitimate policy reasons, can have hugely adverse effects on economic growth.
Workshop 21: Innovation, Digital Trade and the WTO
Organiser: Digital Europe and Information Technology Industry Council
Parties to regional trade agreements are increasingly seeking to address 21st century trade challenges, including to digital trade and e-commerce, in these new agreements. These 21st century challenges include localization barriers, restrictions on cross-border data flows, forced technology transfers, and discriminatory treatment of digital products, disclosure requirements, among others. What gaps in multilateral trade rules are these new agreements seeking to address?
This working session will explore how the WTO can establish a solid policy framework to support the continued growth of the global digital economy. Panelists will discuss whether existing multilateral and plurilateral trade rules adequately address challenges to digital trade and emerging technologies and whether they provide an appropriate legal framework for the global digital economy. Panelists will provide recommendations for post-Doha work in the WTO to address digital trade.
Torbjφrn Fredriksson, Chief ICT Analysis Section, UNCTAD
Peter Allgeier, President Coalition of Service Industries
James Messent, Trade Policy Analyst, OECD
Nicholas Hodac, Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM Europe
Paolo Marini, Co-founder, PRISMA Telecom Testing
Edward Brzytwa, Director of Global Policy for Localization, Trade, and Multilateral Affairs, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
Patrice Chazerand, Director Trade and Cloud, DIGITALEUROPE
Moderator: Michael Scaturro, Special Correspondent in Brussels for Bloomberg BNA, Journalist
The panel said we are facing a digital economy revolution, in which trade activities are increasingly moving online. As a result, businesses depend more heavily on moving data globally. However, international trading rules have not kept up with the latest advances in technology, causing a fragmentation of the market and gaps in the legislation. The information and communications technology industry sees this as a possible threat for advancement of digital trade.
Panellists argued that the existing trade rules are not satisfactory and are not working well, concretely in the sense that most e-commerce remains domestic rather than cross border. The panel also highlighted their impression that the growth of digital trade is being hindered by a lack of clarity in the rules, both domestic and international, and a lack of awareness on the part of governments of risks for the economies.
The panel said that negotiators of agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) are working on provisions to address these issues, and that many regional trade agreements already include a chapter on e-commerce. However, panellists were concerned that issues like data protection are not always covered. In the same vein, some governments already have elements of digital economy legislation, but these elements are not always fully implemented.
Facing this scenario, session panellists urged the WTO to include the digital economy in its agenda. They hoped that the WTO can become a meaningful forum to promote government-to-government discussion and to provide guarantees that digital trade can evolve. They also saw a need for the WTO to work on preventing barriers to trade by, for example, defining justified and unjustified measures to be covered by exception provisions of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
Finally, they supported the continuation of existing working programmes, like the one on electronic commerce, and that the education of negotiators and policy-makers could be enhanced by hosting forums on the impact of the digital economy.
Workshop 22: Multilateralism Matters: Lessons from Doha and Bilateral Trade Deals
Organiser: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and Brot fuer Die Welt
With the Doha Round paralyzed, some industrialized countries are advocating a plurilateral approach. Most developing countries reject this approach. Why? In part they see negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and have concerns:
They may create new minimum standards without involving all countries
Development interests are sidelined
They are less about trade and more about “regulatory harmonization”
Many countries with a small share of global trade depend heavily on trade. All countries need a transparent, rules-based, inclusive and responsive system. The assumption that one set of rules will work in every context is not borne out by experience. All countries need to be heard at the negotiating table.
This session will review TPP, TTIP and EPAs and discuss their implications for excluded regions. How can governments build an inclusive multilateral institution that responds to the challenges of the 21st century?
Jane Nalunga, Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), Uganda, NGO representative
Sven Hilbig, Brot fur Die Welt, Germany, NGO representative
Sophia Murphy, IATP, Canada, NGO representative/academic community
Roeline Knottnerus, Trans National Institute, Netherlands, NGO representative
A book and its author: Diagnostics for a Globalized World
Presented by WTO Bookshop and Library
Ruzanna Tarverdyan, Founding President The Geneva Consensus Foundation
Sten Thore, Centennial Fellow Emeritus of the IC2 Institute, a think tank at the University of Texas
Marion Jansen, Chief Economist, ITC
Hubert Escaith, Chef Statistician, WTO
Martina Lubyova Director, The Institute for Forecasting of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Former Director of the ILO Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Europe in Moscow (TBC)
BOOK PRESENTATION: The role of trade in ending poverty
World Bank/WTO joint publication
The expansion of international trade has been essential to development and reducing poverty but the relationship between economic growth, poverty reduction and trade is not a simple one. This publication looks into this relationship and examines the challenges poor people face in benefiting from trade opportunities. Written jointly by the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization, the publication examines trade and poverty across four dimensions: rural poverty; the informal economy; the impact of fragility and conflict; and gender. The publication looks at how trade could make a greater contribution to ending poverty through increasing efforts to lower trade costs, improve the enabling environment, implement trade policy in conjunction with other areas of policy, better manage risks faced by the poor, and improve data used for policy-making.
Paul Brenton, Lead Economist, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group
Roberta Piermartini, Counsellor, Economic Research and Statistics Division, WTO
Axel Addy, Minister for Commerce and Industry of Liberia
Patrick Low, Fellow, Asia Global Institute, Hong Kong
Moderator: Marcus Bartley Johns, Trade and Competitiveness Specialist, World Bank Group
Working session 60: The Mega-RTAs and the changing global trade landscape: What is the way forward for Africa, developing countries and the WTO?
Organiser: Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)
The WTO/GATT rules and agreements provide a framework through which member countries conduct trade and other commercial relations among themselves. This has contributed to a measure of stability and predictability; and also provided opportunities for Africa and other developing countries to influence and benefit from the MTS. The Mega- RTAs are reshaping the global trade landscape with far reaching implications on Africa, LDCs, the multilateral trading system, the Doha Round and on the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference. The implications of the mega RTAs on Africa’s aspirations for accelerated regional integration in order to promote intra-regional trade, sustainable development and enhanced participation in global trade, are yet to be fully appreciated. The session will therefore promote a deeper appreciation of the implications on Africa and other developing countries of the changing global trade landscape; and also foster a common Pan-African understanding and consider a response strategy.
Brendan Vickers, Economic Adviser (Regional Trade and Integration Issues), Trade Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
Sanya Reid Smith, Legal Advisor and Senior Researcher, Third World Network
Fred Njehu, Programme Advisor – Trade Justice, Kenya Human Rights Commission
Sophia Murphy, Senior Advisor on Trade and Food Security, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Moderator: Jane Nalunga, Country Director, SEATINI Uganda
The panel discussed the nature of mega regional trade agreements (MRTAs), as they are an increasing part of the global trade landscape. They are characterized by their coverage of a large share of global GDP, trade and population. They are also generally very ambitious, including more commitments than those in the WTO ("WTO plus"). There are drawbacks: among others, new rules to adjudicate government-investor disputes may lead to curtailment of democratic principles, and close off policy space to manage development.
They noted that there are currently no African members in MRTAs. The implications of such agreements for Africa and developing countries are both positive and negative. On the positive side, MRTAs could enhance economic opportunities for non-members by increasing overall growth and harmonizing trade policies and standards among a greater number of economies. On the negative side, it could create a complex collection of overlapping rules and also lead to the erosion of preferences enjoyed by African economies.
The panel recommended fast-tracking negotiations for an African free trade area (currently targeted for 2017); deepening African integration by including services; developing an African productivity and export mix; encouraging regional value chains; using existing preferences; pursuing greater dialogue between MRTA members and non-members; and strengthening intra-regional channels for goods and services to lower costs.
Working session 61: How Information Technology can help to operationalize TFA
Organiser: WTO Economic Research and Statistics Division
The WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement aims to simplify the movement, release and clearance of goods and is expected to reduce trade costs by 10% or more. However, its implementation is strongly linked to the country's policy to implement. This session will first highlight general issues faced by developing countries when implementing the TFA, of which some are subsequently showcased by a country's domestic experience. How Information Communication Technology (ICT) and customs automation can help to achieve improvements in timeliness, cost, reliability and compliance will be shown by UNCTAD's ASYCUDA and the International Road Transport Union.
Robert Teh, Counsellor, WTO Economic Research and Statistics Division
Giuseppe di Capua, Team Lead for Performance Measurement, ASYCUDA Programme, UNCTAD
Khalid El Bernoussi, Expert-Consultant Trade and development
Philippe Grosjean, Chief Information Officer, International Road Transport Union
Moderator: Andreas Maurer, Chief, International Trade Statistics Section, WTO Economic Research and Statistics Division.
This session highlighted how customs computerization can help to simplify the movement and clearance of goods, a point central to the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). The panel noted that trade costs are substantially higher than customs duties. Automation of information and communications technology can speed up the flow of trade, possibly increasing customs revenue and reducing corruption in the process. The Automated SYstem for CUstoms Data (ASYCUDA), a reference in customs automation processes, allows measurement of performance and identification of workflow bottlenecks, as well as monitoring of customs agents. For road transport, the Transports Internationaux Routiers (International Road Transport) customs transit system will soon be fully operational. It is based on electronic document flow, including risk management.
Working session 62: Trade works in services: should we go further from GATS to TISA?
Organiser: European Services Forum (ESF) and Insurance Europe
The session will provide information on the history of trade in services in the world and will assess whether the decisions by the governments to liberalise the access to their own market to foreign service suppliers (either autonomously or/and by taking commitments in multilateral or bilateral trade agreements) has got an impact on the development of their economy, on the export and import of services and goods and on the attractiveness of foreign direct investment.
The speakers will examine various trade agreement commitments and analyse whether a parallel can or not be drawn between trade volume and market openness commitments.
They will then open the debate on the consequence of the stalled services negotiations in the WTO DDA and explore whether and how TiSA could be a way forward to trigger more liberalisation in the services sectors worldwide, given that the barriers are still higher than in the trade in goods areas.
Pierre Sauvé, World Trade Institute WTI
Hamid Mamdouh, WTO Director of Services Division
Myriam Vander Stichele, SOMO - Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations
Pascal Kerneis, European Services Forum
Syed Tauqir Shah, Pakistan Ambassador to the WTO (tbc)
• Helmut Scholz, Member of the European Parliament, European Parliamentary Committee on International Trade
Moderator: Cristina Mihai, Head of International affairs at Insurance Europe
Pascal Kerneis from the European Services Forum said that services providers in Europe support the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) because it is an attempt to update the rules that govern trade in services, to expand liberalization and to adapt to global value chains (GVCs). He noted that given the current state of the Doha Round, the private sector will continue to support plurilateral preferential liberalization.
Hosuk Lee-Makiyama from the European Centre for International Political Economy explained that TiSA will not force any country to change its regulations, to privatize public services or to open up sectors which they consider to be sensitive. Although TiSA uses a "negative list" approach for market access, meaning that in every sector there will not be discrimination unless a country explicitly excludes a sector, the national treatment (NT) and most favoured nation (MFN) provisions will apply in a "positive list" approach, so countries can choose the sectors in which they will apply NT and MFN.
Myriam Vander Stichele from SOMO – Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations - said that if services are liberalized in various WTO and non-WTO agreements, they would be subject to dispute settlement. For her, bilateral investment treaties mean investor-state dispute settlement, which she says must be taken into account in the discussion about TiSA. Ms Vander Stichele called for all stakeholders to be taken into account, balancing public interest with the corporate interest. She further discussed the consequences of privatization and the quality of employment available.
Working session 63: Trade and the New Regulatory Barriers: the impacts on emerging countries and the role of the WTO
Organiser: Center on Global Trade & Investments, Brazil WTO Chair, Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and Institute for WTO Studies, University of International Business and Economics
The objective of this session is to discuss the challenges faced by emerging members in the 21st century trade – new regulatory barriers. The WTO has guided developing economies to consider international trade as a developmental tool. However, tariffs are no longer the main topic for the WTO to address. Preferential trade agreements, mega agreements negotiations, global value chains schemes are establishing new frontiers to the international trade: trading and integration by rules. Many emerging members are marginalized in this discussion.
This working session will discuss if “WTO and trade works” in this scenario. It is relevant to assess the views of emerging countries on whether the WTO is the appropriate forum to dealing with the regulatory fragmentation under way. Another question is what impact regulatory coherence efforts in the mega negotiations will have on emerging economies, or whether this kind of regional coherence will create fragmentation in World trade.
Vera Thorstensen, Chair, FGV-Brazil, academic
Lucas Ferraz, FGV-Brazil, academic
Bipul Chattejee, Executive Director, CUTS International, think-tank
Xinquan Tu, China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, academic
Peter Draper, Director Tutwa Consulting, Senior Research Fellow, SAIA, South Africa
The objective of this session was to discuss the challenges, in the form of non-tariff barriers, faced by emerging members in the 21st century trade. Tariffs are no longer the main topic for the WTO. The panel cited preferential trade agreements (PTAs), mega agreement negotiations, and global value chains (GVCs) as new frontiers in international trade, and estimated that many emerging members are marginalized in this discussion. The panel sought to assess the views of emerging countries on whether the WTO is the appropriate forum to deal with the regulatory fragmentation and its impact on their economies.
Lucas Ferraz from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) provided an overview of the situation from an economic perspective. He noted that there was a remarkable reduction in tariffs. A decrease in trade costs and the spread of technologies accelerated the development of GVCs. He saw that increased trade in intermediates incentivised the formation of PTAs, and that the growing intensity of supply chains led to a need for "deeper" integration. He asserted that developing countries will be negatively affected by mega-regionals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Mr Ferraz said that although the WTO has been a success, it has to adjust to ongoing changes. He estimated that developing countries are stuck in the old negotiating paradigm of tariffs and agriculture, and advised that they should focus on such areas as services, investment and intellectual property rights under the framework of the WTO. He recommended integrating the ongoing discussions on these issues into agreements, and stressed that the world has changed and so should the WTO.
Bipul Chattejee from the Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International presented a study on the impact of mega-regionals and their results. It concluded that, on account of tariff reduction, there was not much impact. However, in terms of non-tariff barriers, mega-regionals appeared to be quite strong. On the other hand, conforming with standards could open market access and incentivize increase in competiveness. He also addressed rules of origin, stating that negotiations of the same are going to have a huge trade distorting impact. He stated that there is a need for activities mitigating such impact, for instance, by making exporters more competitive.
Xinquan Tu from the University of International Business and Economics (Beijing) also highlighted the positive side of high standards, which is stimulating improvement in exporters' production capacity. He noted that the WTO is a good platform for "shallow" integration, not "deeper" integration. He stressed that transparency, capacity building and international cooperation in these areas are critical for developing countries in order for them to be able to adapt to such high standards.
Peter Draper from Tutwa Consulting reported on the implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), particularly its standards agenda, for African least developed countries (LDCs). The research revealed that the potential of African countries to comply with the standards is low, except regarding labour standards. He admitted that standards compliance is a costly arrangement for LDCs and that it should be mitigated through capacity building (such as Aid for Trade). He recommended that if an African country passes a conformity test in a TPP country, it should be applicable throughout the TPP countries. In regards to rules of origin, he expressed hope for liberal rules of origin extended through TPP space for Africa.
A lively discussion with the audience raised many issues, including that of private standards. The overall conclusions were that there must be international cooperation for regulatory standards; the WTO's design should be able to accommodate demand driven by new developments such as GVCs; and that the discussion of PTAs and their impact on third countries should be happening in the WTO, to ensure the availability of the results to everyone.
Working session 64: How Innovation and Trade in Mobile Technologies Have Driven Inclusive Growth
Organiser: Innovation Insights and Boston Consulting Group
This session shares breakthrough research about the global economic impact of mobile technologies, and how trade and innovation helped make this possible. The research, conducted by BCG, draws insights from direct research in India, China, Brazil, South Korea, the US, and Germany, and explores the positive impacts on inclusive growth, economic empowerment, infrastructure investment, and small business job creation.
The mobile economy is powered by trade, with a global and fast-paced supply chain, and enabled by trade in physical goods, software, services, and IP. The session will highlight how "trade has worked" for mobile communications, and how billions of consumers and businesses have benefitted.
The session will include a summary of key research findings by BCG, followed by a diverse panel discussing how trade and innovation have enabled mobile technologies, and implications for how the economic impact can be further extended, especially in ways that enable more inclusive growth globally.
Antonio Varas, Partner, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
Kirti Gupta, Director Economic Strategy, Qualcomm Incorporated
Luc Savage, VP Intellectuel Property & Licensing, Orange
Samantha Akins, Director of Institutional Relations, Grameen Foundation
Moderator: Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Senior Economic Officer, Economics Section, Economics and Statistics Division, WIPO
Antonio Varas from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) presented a survey on the theme "how mobile technologies drive a trillion dollar impact". The study found that the biggest winners from this equation were consumers in developing countries. It also concluded that there was a "leap-frog effect": most technology leaders came from emerging markets. Finally, standardization was found to be a crucial driver for economic growth in mobile technologies.
Luc Savage from Orange discussed how his company is promoting business innovation in Africa and the Middle East. He also noted how customers are very price-sensitive in the mobile sector.
Samantha Atkins from the Grameen Foundation discussed Grameen's initiatives to eradicate poverty through mobile technologies. Collecting information on farmers in developing countries provides an opportunity to shape business plans so limited resources can be best invested. One idea is to enable large multinationals to engage directly with producers with mobile technologies for urgent orders.
The panel noted that the challenge of deploying mobile technologies in developing countries is still great. Sixty-two per cent of the world's population does not have Internet access, meaning that the adoption of mobile worldwide is still limited.
In response to a question, Kiri Gupta from Qualcomm Incorporated said that international coordination can help tackle the challenges posed by new innovations.
Working session 65: Trade Facilitation WorksThe Role of Public-Private Dialogue and Cooperation in the Implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement
Organiser: Confederaηγo Nacional da Indϊstria (CNI)
This session aims at exploring the benefits of public-private dialogue and cooperation to implement trade facilitation-related measures. The new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement provides an opportunity for countries’ governments and private sector to partner in order to reap the trade and growth benefits of its implementation. In this context, the session will showcase the successful experience of Brazil in establishing its single window and authorized economic operator – AEO programs through solid and continuous cooperation between government and businesses. It will also provide an opportunity to discuss other country-specific examples as well as broader questions related to public-private dialogue and cooperation to reduce and eliminate red tape.
Constanza Negri Biasutti, Trade Policy Manager – CNI
Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director – International Trade Centre (ITC)
Donia Hammami, Head Taxation, Customs & Trade Facilitation Policy, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
John Mein, Executive Coordinator – PROCOMEX
Luisa Santos, Director International Affairs – BUSINESSEUROPE
Lars Karlsson, President – KGH Border Services
This session explored the engagement of the Brazilian government and private sector regarding Brazil's ratification and implementation of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). The panel discussed how trade facilitation should not be solely left to governments. There is an important role for private sector engagement in the TFA. The private sector can play a role in supporting the TFA from "pre-signature" to implementation, from promoting the benefits of the project to identifying Category B provisions. Panellists asserted that as a major beneficiary of well-designed processes, the private sector should be willing to invest in these types of projects. But building trust between governments and the private sector is a crucial first step, which was facilitated in Brazil by a nonprofit intermediary that mapped existing processes, helped rework them and formulated implementation techniques.
The panel noted that while the TFA is positive for both government and the private sector, many businesses are unaware of the TFA and its benefits. Panellists highlighted that there is a need to educate businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, about what trade facilitation can achieve. Both governments and businesses could benefit from capacity-building exercises, and there is a demonstrated ability for developing countries to adopt a holistic customs approach. Where there are simple, effective customs procedures, compliance is natural, and trade is more inclusive.
Workshop 23: Made in the world? Are supply chains regional or global?
Organiser: Economic Research and Statistics Division of the WTO
Håkan Nordström, Independent Consultant-EKONsulting and Senior Associate with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Hubert Escaith, chief Statistician, Economic Research and Statistics Division of the WTO