• The state of global trade governance centred on the WTO and proposals for reform;
• Implications of proliferating FTAs and mega regionals on global trade governance and how to achieve greater coherence between global and regional trade rules; and
• The role of Asia in the future of global trade governance.
The world trading system has changed fundamentally over the past years with the expansion of production networks and supply chain trade, signs of new commercial and industrial policies, and the spread of FTA-led regionalism. These developments are here to stay, but the WTO has not kept up with them. WTO centricity in global trade governance is eroding and is at risk of continuing to erode. The rise of Factory Asia through supply chain trade has placed it increasingly at the heart of the global economy. The region is also experimenting with mega-regionals (such as, Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), Regional Comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP), and Japan- EU FTA) and economic policies to sustain economic growth amidst a fragile world economy.
Asia’s experience of open trade-led development offers many valuable lessons for other regions. These include the importance of pursing market-friendly trade and industrial policies to develop supply chain trade, improving surveillance of non-tariff measures, and consolidating FTAs into a large region-wide FTA.
In the longer term, better coherence is vital between Asia’s regional trade rules and global trade governance. Improving the quality of mega-regional FTAs, a WTO agenda on supply chains and FTAs, and significant reforms of the WTO are necessary.
The session will be organised as a panel discussion and will address pertinent issues, such as:
• the state of global trade governance centered on the WTO and proposals for reform;
• implications of proliferating FTAs and mega regionals on global trade governance;
• how to achieve greater coherence between global and regional trade rules;
• role of Asia in the future of global trade governance;
• the links between global production networks and supply chains, national commercial and industrial policies, and the governance of global and regional trade; and
• how to address the blurring between trade policy and other policies, such as climate change and exchange rate policies.