The WTO: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Prospects for Progress

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Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 -12:00pm to 1:30pm

Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2043, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20515

On Jan. 1, 1996, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) signed agreements leading to a conference in Doha, Qatar. Conference objectives included many provisions never before provided in a multilateral trade agreement, all intended to lift barriers to international trade and investment.

The WTO membership thus took on the ambitious project of the so-called “Doha Round.”  As the WTO membership grew in size, the Doha Round became even more complex. Inclusiveness was not only a major objective of the organization but also the root of a lack of consensus among members. With the Doha Round now more than 20 years old and no real prospect of conclusion in sight, frustration with the WTO is increasing.
Yet the WTO provides a widely used and respected dispute settlement process where countries can file disputes regarding other countries’ trade practices. While WTO members, including the United States, are not completely satisfied with the way in which this critical element of the WTO’s charter has been implemented, most members agree that it should be sustained and refined.
Against the backdrop of the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires last December, the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy is pleased to host a discussion with four distinguished panelists, each of whom has participated in the continuing effort to build an effective WTO responsive to the needs of its members.

This policy forum, organized by J. Robert Vastine, Senior Industry Fellow, Center for Business and Public Policy, offered introductory framing remarks, followed by a panel discussion moderated by J. Bradford Jensen, Senior Policy Scholar, Center for Business and Public Policy, and McCrane/Shaker Chair in International Business, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. Panelists include:

  • Nova Daly,  Senior Public Policy Advisor, Wiley Rein LLP
  • Angela Ellard, Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director, Ways & Means Committee U.S. House of Representatives
  • Amy Porges,  Lead Counsel, Porges Law PLLC
  • William Reinsch, Senior International Trade/Government Relations Advisor, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

This seminar is part of the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy’s Georgetown on the Hill (new window) series at which we convene policymakers, academics, and industry experts to discuss important economic policy issues of the day.