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Aims of the Commission

The Multilateral Trading System After Doha

The troubled Doha Round has brought into sharp focus concerns about the future of multilateral trade arrangements. These concerns have included the continued viability of the World Trade Organization (WTO), fears of a drift towards protectionism and the very future of globalisation itself. The starting assumptions of the Warwick Commission are that:

  • the health of the multilateral trade regime depends on more than simply the outcome of the Doha Round
  • the health and vitality of a progressively multilateral and just global trade regime cannot be guaranteed by the current ‘soft’, informal negotiations.

The Warwick Commission will analyse the future of the multilateral trade system after the Doha Round whatever its outcome. Uniquely, it brings together scholars and practitioners in a forum which will consider the wider systemic and conceptual issues alongside the immediate policy process. The Commission will bring together the theoretical skills of scholars and the practical insights of policymakers to achieve a better understanding of how to take forward the multilateral trading system. The Commission’s aim is to reach conclusions which are not just immediately policy focussed, but are also embedded in the wider, longer term context of our understanding of the contemporary global and regional economic and political orders.

The Commission has identified six key questions which need to be addressed:

  • What future role will the WTO have in an increasingly complex and economically inter-dependent world?
  • What will be the future balance between trade liberalisation and rule making in the WTO?
  • How salient are regional and bilateral trade arrangements for the future of the international trade system overall?
  • How salient are the international economic institutions (especially the IMF and World Bank) in determining the direction of trade policy in developing countries?
  • To what extent are the evolving arrangements driven more by political considerations than economic theory?
  • What future is there for cooperative global economic management and for the contemporary global order if politics drives economics?

The Warwick Commission is Chaired by The Honourable Monsieur Pierre Pettigrew , PC, Vice President, Samson Deloitte Touche International Montreal. M. Pettigrew is an experienced trade specialist and diplomat and is a former Canadian Minister for International Trade and Minister for Foreign Affairs. He was also Chair of the WTO Working Group on Singapore Issues 2003-4. The other members of the Commission are senior and respected practitioners in the fields of international trade and international economic governance and ‘next generation’ scholarly analysts of the global trade regime. The Warwick Commission will take evidence from expert witnesses and will present its report in Geneva in December 2007.

The Commission’s principal sponsor is the the University of Warwick with additional sponsorship from the EU Framework 6 Network of Excellence on Global Governance and Regionalisation (GARNET) and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI-Canada).