You are here

The Future of the WTO

The Future of the WTO and the International Trading System

Thursday,  4 November 2010

Keith Rockwell, Director of the Information and Media Relations Division at the WTO, discussed the state of the international trading system and the WTO’s role within it. Professor Merit E. Janow moderated the lecture. According to Mr. Rockwell, the multilateral trading system has worked; governments haven’t resorted to protectionism, even in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Stimulus packages adopted in response to the crisis prevented world trade from contracting by an estimated 12%, and by the time the 2010 figures come in, trade is expected to have increased by 11% from 2009. However, the Doha Round of trade negotiations has stalled, and was being replaced by ever-increasing amounts of bilateral trade agreements. 

Professor Janow added that protectionist pressures were indeed increasing, and that advocates of free trade should not be too optimistic yet.  Rockwell agreed, saying it is necessary to be vigilant about free trade policies, especially within our own government; we should avoid the temptation to just blame protectionist pressures on other governments. In the following question and answer period, a student asked about the effect of bilateral agreements on international trade.  Rockwell said they shouldn’t be regarded as much of a threat at this point, and could sometimes in fact be beneficial to the process; for instance, introducing bilaterals in Africa has allowed people to get accustomed to the exchange of ideas and goods.  Rockwell closed by noting that the WTO power structure has shifted toward developing countries in recent years.  They have very skilled negotiators who make good use of the dispute settlement system to their benefit.

This event was co-sponsored by the International Finance and Economic Program (IFEP) at SIPA.
 
 
 
 

Contact Us

APEC Study Center at Columbia University
Columbia University, 3022 Broadway
2M-9 Uris Hall
New York, NY 10027-7004
212-854-3976

The Curl Ideas to wrap your mind around

5 Key Concepts For Every Chief Operating Officer

Alexander Tuff '03 discusses five key concepts every Chief Operating Officer should know.

Read More >

Startups for a Better World

More and more alumni entrepreneurs are launching ventures to serve the greater good.

Read More >

Columbia Business School Professor Predicts How Changes in Banking Laws Could Fuel Emerging Economies of Tomorrow

New research tracks emerging countries’ economics activity after law changes and finds a boost in access to credit; increase in employment rate; increase in productivity and sales for firms

Read More >

Power Isn't Enough: Study Reveals the Missing Link for Effective Leadership

New research from Columbia Business School shows that powerful leaders fail to listen properly and take others’ accounts into perspective, jeopardizing the impact they could have

Read More >

How Can You Be Entrepreneurial in Any Organization?

Vince Ponzo '03 demystifies the entrepreneurial mindset.

Read More >

Why China's Bubble Won't Burst

Fundamentals that aren't going away give China a shot at sustained high growth for the foreseeable future.

Read More >

Modi's Five Waves of Change

Each wave has the potential to boost India's GDP by at least a half percentage point, says Adil Zainulbhai, chairman of the new Quality Council of India.

Read More >

The Age of Vulnerability

In the United States, upward mobility is more myth than reality, says Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz. Downward mobility and vulnerability, however, is a widely shared experience.

Read More >

Angel Investing: The New Alternative Asset

Carefully selected and managed portfolios of personal angel investments can produce an average annual return of more than 25 percent.

Read More >