> Public Forum Programme



> Public Forum Programme


The sessions will be organized by a wide range of participants, including businesses, academia, media, law firms, non-governmental organizations and international organizations. Topics for debate include how trade can help foster growth and jobs, how best to balance free trade and consumer protection, and to what extent Africa benefits from open trade. Out of the 71 sessions, 23 will be dedicated to trade and Africa, the regional focus of this year's Forum. 

In the opening debate on 1 October, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo will be joined by heads of international agencies, ministers and trade experts to discuss the social and economic opportunities created by trade in a debate entitled “Why trade matters to everyone”

In the second plenary debate, on 2 October, entitled “What trade means for Africa”, high-level speakers will exchange views on how trade can play a role in development and poverty alleviation.

New features

New features of this year's Public Forum include the “Trade and People Fair”, an exhibition area in the WTO Atrium which will showcase the connections between trade and peoples' lives. Participants will discuss how various communities have improved their living standards through trade.

The Forum will also feature lunchtime presentations from the Pew Research Center, presenting the results from their 44-country survey of “World Views on Trade and Investment”, “meet the author” sessions presented by the WTO Bookshop and a live broadcast by the BBC World Service of their flagship programme “The Forum”.

In the run-up to the Forum, the WTO has launched a worldwide survey to gather the public's thoughts about international trade and how it affects the day-to-day lives of citizens worldwide.  There is still time to tell us your views: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/82CBQCS

We also invite you to participate in our trade selfie initiative. Take a picture of yourself to tell us YOUR trade story and how trade impacts your daily life. The best photos will be displayed at the Public Forum and will be posted on the WTO website and our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). You can send your selfie to selfie4trade@wto.org


Public Forum participants will have the opportunity to give a two-minute response to a topical question asked by our Public Forum TV. Responses will be streamed on our social media sites and a selection will be posted on the WTO website.


Regular updates on the Public Forum will be published on the WTO website and on our social media sites. A wide selection of photos from the Forum will be made available on the WTO website and on Flickr.

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