Archive 1998-2003

2003

Where Next For The WTO? Views, ideas and proposals by trade ministers

In September 2003, ministers from one-hundred-and-forty-eight countries met in Cancún to mark the mid-point of a round of multilateral trade negotiations launched in November 2001 in Doha. Their objectives were to give political guidance to ongoing talks and to make decisions on whether negotiations should begin in new areas. On the fourth day of this meeting the talks collapsed. Amid the subsequent bitterness and recriminations, ministers requested that senior officials from each member country meet in Geneva by 15 December 2003 ‘to take the action necessary at that stage to enable us to move towards a successful and timely conclusion of the negotiations.’ This compendium is designed to map out the present positions of leading players in the WTO on the eve of that meeting.

Expanding WTO Rules?

A Study on the Singapore Issues

  • In February 2003 the Federal Trust convened a high-level Working Group with the purpose of exploring the need for and scope of any negotiation on WTO rules on the Singapore Issues – investment, competition, transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation. Within that broad remit, the Working Group examined various questions including what is known about the interaction of the ‘Singapore issues’ with international trade, sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation, what can be learnt from previous attempts to negotiate bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral rules in these areas, whether the WTO is best suited to overseeing multilateral rules on these issues and how any negotiation and agreement should be structured.
  • The Working Group brought together experts from a wide variety of backgrounds, including law firms, NGOs, business and academia. The Chair was Professor Jim Rollo, Co-Director of the Sussex European Institute at the University of Sussex, whilst the Rapporteurs were Rachel Thompson, Director of Trade and CSR at APCO Worldwide and Alexis Krachai from the Federal Trust. The Working Group met regularly between February and June 2003, taking evidence from a range of governments, non-governmental organisations, commercial interests, lawyers and academics. Members also met with a number of national representatives to the WTO and members of the WTO secretariat, as well as paying close attention to papers tabled in the formal discussions in Geneva.
  • The group presented their final report and recommendations in June and July 2003 at seminars in London, Brussels, Geneva, Singapore and South Africa. Representatives from the Federal Trust also attended the WTO’s 5th Ministerial Conference to be held in Cancun in September 2003.
  • This project was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfiD), the UK Department of Trade and Industry and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

2002

Enhancing the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding

  • In May 2002 the Federal Trust convened an expert working group with the purpose of identifying how the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding can be made more effective, efficient and acceptable. Within that broad remit, the Working Group explored the impact of the DSU on the resolution of trade disputes, and proposed improvements to make the DSU more user-friendly and effective, in particular for developing countries.
  • The Working Group brought together experts from a wide variety of backgrounds, including law firms, NGOs, business and academia. The Chair was Christopher Roberts, Senior Trade Adviser at the London office of Covington and Burling, whilst the Rapporteur was Philip Marsden then of Linklaters, London, now at the Competition Law Forum at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law. The Working Group met regularly over the 8 months, taking evidence from a range of governments, non-governmental organisations, commercial interests, lawyers and academics. Members also consulted with a number of national representatives to the WTO and members of the WTO secretariat, as well as paying close attention to papers tabled in the formal DSB talks in Geneva. The group presented their final report and recommendations in December 2002 at three seminars in Geneva, Brussels and London.
  • This project was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfiD) and supported by Covington and Burling, Linklaters, Ashurst Morris Crisp, the UK Law Society, Commonwealth Secretariat and APCO Worldwide.

2001

Putting Trade on Track

A Realistic Negotiating Agenda for the WTO

  • In early 2001 the Federal Trust convened a Working Group with a view to submitting recommendations to WTO Members on the coverage of a new round of trade negotiations. The Working Group followed the preparations for the WTO’s 4th Ministerial Conference which was held in Doha, Qatar in early November 2001. The group brought together experts from a wide variety of backgrounds, including governments, international organisations, business, academia and the media. The group met six times and took evidence from a range of governments, non-governmental organisations, commercial interests and academics. They also consulted with a number of ambassadors to the WTO and members of the WTO secretariat, as well as paying close attention to papers tabled in negotiation groups in Geneva. The group completed their deliberations and their findings were published in the form of a short report that was included the World Trade Brief, the official accompanying document to the WTO Doha Ministerial meeting.

1998-2001

Teaching European and Global Citizenship

  • From 1998 to 2001, the Federal Trust published a series of classroom materials on Teaching International Citizenship, given, growing global interdependence, the lives of individual citizens are increasingly impacted by international decisions. This project aimed to fill a gap in the provision of training of teachers concentrating on the global political, legal and institutional aspects of citizenship education and educating young people about their role as global citizens.The project was aimed at Keystages 3 and 4 and Sixth Form students.The teaching pack contained background information, fact sheets, suggestions for classroom debate, quizzes, work sheets, group work, role plays, simulations, further reference and research tasks. Topics for discussion in the teaching packs included, EU citizenship rights, EU institutions, international trade, international aid, sustainable development and conflict prevention and resolution.