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Future of the World Trading System: Asian Perspectives


This project will comprehensively examine the key changes occurring in the world trading system and trace policy implications for Asia. It will study the following: (a) patterns and drivers of production networks; (b) reforms of WTO rules and processes; (c) patterns of free trade agreements (FTAs), consolidation of FTAs into larger region-wide agreements and ways of multilateralizing FTAs; and (d) the economic effects of new forms of commercial and industrial policies.

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The world trading system is undergoing fundamental changes because of the rise of emerging economies such as the BRICS, which are expanding trade and investment globally. New perspectives from Asia, whose economic importance is growing rapidly, can help facilitate an orderly transition and sustain trade-led growth for all economies involved. For instance, an increasing share of Asia's trade consists of intermediate goods and services that pass through different economies and industries before being assembled into final products. Such global production value chains substantially alter how nations interact through trade, and trade policy-making in this context requires more accurate data, using innovative measurements of trade flows based on value-added.

International rules and institutions for trade can also have profound and lasting effects on this shift and redefinition of trade relationships. The slow progress in the WTO Doha Round talks mean that new multilateral trading rules will take some time to evolve amidst calls for WTO reforms.

In the absence of a Doha deal, the spread of free trade agreements (FTAs) in Asia has implications for the pace of trade liberalization, the consolidation of regional trade rules, and the compatibility between global and regional trade rules. In addition, the blurring of trade and other policies (such as those for industrial development, climate change and resource security, and exchange rates) are already posing challenges to existing trade rules and institutions. Following the global financial crisis and amid the ongoing eurozone financial crisis, protectionist tendencies are also on the rise in some economies, encouraged by high levels of unemployment and the intensity of global industrial competition.

This conference aims to undertake then a broad and comprehensive examination of these key changes in the multilateral trading system and their implications for Asia.

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The conference is intended to present and discuss the research papers commissioned under this project. The papers presented will form the basis of an edited book which is to be published later in the year.

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PowerPoint presentations and research papers.

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Ambassadors, trade experts and practitioners.

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How to Register

Register here*.

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World Trade Organization
Centre for Trade and Economic Integration at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

* This link takes you outside the website

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© 2015 Asian Development Bank Institute.