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The biennial Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium, organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and held alongside the WTO ministerial conference for over a decade, is the leading multi-stakeholder platform for intellectual enquiry and dialogue on sustainable development and the global trade and investment system. It acts as an inclusive platform outside of the WTO negotiating setting for sharing ideas, engaging in dialogue, and influencing trade policy negotiations. Drawing in participants from government, business and civil society, the Symposium helps to maintain and elaborate a global vision of sustainable development in trade and investment policymaking.

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Monday, December 11 • 9:00am - 10:30am
How to defend development interests in the new economic and political trade environment?

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The multilateral trading system is in crisis: not only are the benefits of globalization in question but the inclusive system itself, as the backbone of international trade relations and with the WTO as its guardian, is in danger.  Moreover the centrality of the WTO is under threat with partial deals being pursued through “variable geometry” channels Global leaders are re-examining their roles and strategies when it comes to trade. The crisis in multilateralism and growing uncertainty about the direction of future global trade relations heavily affects the Doha round. Before these recent developments, the Round already was in serious trouble due to the polar opposite views on how it should be concluded that are held by major developed and developing members. Poor developing countries, including LDCs, suffer as in most partial deals they do not have a seat at the table and no opportunity to voice their concerns. Their small size in terms of trade volume combined with a non-assertive approach in negotiations allows bigger players to proceed in their agenda-shaping discussions without them. Meanwhile, outside negotiating rooms, the development of new technologies is dramatically changing trade patterns worldwide. It has also enabled an unprecedented growth of e-commerce, which created previously non-existing opportunities for remote small-scale manufacturers. Poor developing countries including LDCs stand to gain from these developments only if they are well organized and work together in shaping the future multilateral rules to work for their development.


Against this backdrop the Session will examine negotiating avenues that could be pursued by poorer developing countries in the international arena to make sure that the global trading system is responsive to their development needs. The Session will discuss possible responses by those countries to various new developments such as regional integration, plurilateral and bilateral exclusive agreements as well as how they can act to minimize any negative effects of these developments on their economies.  In addition, the Session will also invite panellist to brainstorm on the trade policy reform that is needed  in the lesser developed countries to make sure that their own trade ecosystems are in tune with developments of the 21st Century and are  aimed at integrating them into the mainstream of  world trade .

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avatar for Nicolas Imboden

Nicolas Imboden

President, Ideas Centre
Mr Nicolas Imboden, a Swiss national, graduated in law at the University of Geneva, holds a degree in development studies from the African Development Institute; a M.A.L.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston and was an AMP student at Harvard. He is partner and co-founder of IDEAS Centre. Since the... Read More →

avatar for Debapriya Bhattacharya

Debapriya Bhattacharya

Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, a macroeconomist and public policy analyst, is a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dhaka, where he was its first Executive Director. He was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to WTO and UN Offices in Geneva and Vienna; former Special Advisor on LDCs to the Secretary General of UNCTAD. Earlier he was a Senior Research Fellow at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS). Dr Deb Bhattacharya has studied in Dhaka, Moscow and Oxford; visiting positions held include Senior Fulbright Fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD), Washington DC. He serves in the boards and working groups of various leading institutions and editorial boards of reputed journals (including Oxford Development Studies). Dr Deb Bhattacharya chairs the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals network... Read More →
avatar for Peter Draper

Peter Draper

Managing Director, Tutwa Consulting Group
Peter Draper is Managing Director at TUTWA Consulting Group, which specialises in policy and regulatory analysis, international business expansion advisory, and corporate public affairs advisory, in Southern African and emerging markets. In South Africa, he is also Senior Researc... Read More →
avatar for Naushad Forbes

Naushad Forbes

Immediate Past President, CII Co-Chairman, Forbes Marshall Private Limite
Naushad Forbes is the Co - Chairman of Forbes Marshall, India's leading Steam Engineering and Control Instrumentation firm. He chairs the Steam Engineering Companies within the group.   Naushad was a Lecturer and Consulting Professor at Stanford University from 1987 to 2004 where he developed courses on Technology in Newly Industrializing... Read More →
avatar for Pedro de Camargo Neto

Pedro de Camargo Neto

Vice President, Sociedade Rural Brasileira

Monday December 11, 2017 9:00am - 10:30am
Breakout Room 1 - Belgrano

Attendees (20)