Date and Time: Tuesday 3rd December 2013 ~~~ 10:45 – 13:00
Location: Bougainville Room
Theme: Challenges of the Multilateral Trading System (E15 Initiative Stream)


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Session Objectives

At present regional trade agreements (RTAs) are driving trade liberalisation and addressing 21st century trade issues that have been neglected by the WTO. The multilateral system could benefit from the body of rules and best practices that are being cultivated at the regional level. But this will present many challenges; chief among these is establishing how to ensure that third parties are not negatively affected? Countries not participating in RTAs (especially LDCs) are excluded from negotiating rules and standards that will form the new template for international trade and investment. How to promote best practices across RTAs and to eventually multilateralise these best practices? Do we need mechanisms to facilitate exchange of practices among RTA experiences? What role should the WTO play? In what ways does the WTO need to adapt to meet these new 21st century challenges, and not lose its relevance in the global trading system?