17 January 2013 - 19 January 2013

International trade and investment policy: where do we go from here?

Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Brittan of Spennithorne QC DL

We thought that Doha was not dead, despite its long dormancy. Elements of the overall agenda should be pulled out and turned into a manageable and balanced package. It was essential for the health of multilateralism, and the WTO itself, to reach agreement on such a package, based on trade facilitation, at the Bali ministerial meeting in December. There were divided views on the likelihood of success, with the optimists pointing to the benefits for all, and the potential timeliness of 2013, and the pessimists drawing attention to the lack of leadership and the developing country perception that there was not enough for them in what was on the table. The need to focus political minds on what was at stake in Bali came through loud and clear.

Multilateralism was not dead either, though there was doubt about the future of large negotiating ‘Rounds’ in future. Ultimately freer trade had to involve all countries, and bilateral and plurilateral agreements had to be consolidated back into the system. The WTO itself was crucial to the prospects for further liberalisation, and preventing backsliding from where we were. But it needed reform, preferably in a gradual bottom up way, though there was less agreement on what shape reform should take. The right new DG would be very important – he would need to be a combination of a political mover and shaker, and an experienced trade technician. How many of these were around?

In the absence of major multilateral progress, the bilateral and plurilateral initiatives on the table, particularly the EU/US deal and the Trans Pacific Partnership, assumed greater importance. Most thought they could both pave the way for, and galvanise the prospects for, multilateral progress, as long as they were deep and designed to make integration with multilateral instruments possible. But some feared they would destroy the multilateral agenda, and be counterproductive for those left out, particularly the poorer developing countries but also major players like China, India and Russia. We were unsure how good the prospects for agreement for these initiatives really were. The proposals were highly ambitious and complex, and would take time to agree, at best.

There was of course a new trade agenda beyond Doha, which could not be ignored. It was difficult to see how this could be tackled for now, except through the bilaterals and plurilaterals, but there was a lot of support for a fresh attempt at a multilateral investment agreement, given the increasing importance of investment in all directions, and its intimate, though poorly understood, links with trade and trade access issues. This raised the question of how well we understood how trade really worked in an age of global supply/value chains (not well, was the general view), and also the need for more research and better data. It also underlined the apparent distance between trade negotiators and the businesses on whose behalf they were supposed to be negotiating. While individual lobbies should not dictate the nature of the negotiations, companies had to see some value in the process and be connected to it, which was currently too often not the case.

How was the case for further liberalisation to be made? The arguments might not be new, but new ways of presenting them were needed, for example the benefits for growth and jobs, without large new government expenditures, at a time when both were more badly needed than ever. We also needed to mobilise the emerging economies and their companies, who arguably had more to gain than the developed countries, given the way globalisation was going, but so far did not look at the issues in this way.

We were not sure whether we were optimistic or pessimistic overall, or whether our relative optimism in some areas was mostly the result of low expectations. But we consoled ourselves with the thought that global governance was struggling in other areas too, and that the multilateral climate change process looked in even worse shape.


This is an issue Ditchley conferences have looked at regularly, most recently in 2007, but there was agreement that this was a good moment for a fresh assessment.  Late cancellations had somewhat reduced the representativeness of our gathering, with China and the developing world, in particular, lacking enough voices round the table – but we still had a diverse group, including from business.  Expert chairmanship helped guide us in a constructive direction, and we saw a significant amount of agreement on where trade liberalisation needed to go now. Our starting point was one of relief that the recession had not led so far to 1930s-style protectionist moves, though there had been some backsliding, combined with concern that the case for freer trade in future was not being effectively made. The global economic scene had changed a lot since Doha started, with a shift of economic power to the east a dramatic development, but the dynamics of the negotiation had not changed accordingly so far.

The Doha Round

Was Doha dead?  The answer seemed to be no, though it was certainly on life support, and there would be no consensus to kill it off.  While there was no prospect of agreement on a wide-ranging Doha package for now, there was a degree of optimism that some elements could be plucked from the wreckage and turned into progress, in particular trade facilitation. Small balanced steps should be the way forward. Victory could then be declared.  Several participants pointed out that, even if Doha were officially declared dead, the issues on the table would not go away, and would have to be returned to at some stage and in some format, almost certainly a multilateral one.

An alternative way of framing the question was whether the day of universal, comprehensive trade rounds had come and gone.  Views differed, but the majority thought that rounds were indeed outmodedCertainly no one was going to launch a new round in the near future.  Progress would have to be made in other, less high-profile, less dramatic, more pragmatic ways.  “Rolling rounds” were mentioned as one possibility.  Low-key, limited deals in particular sectors, aiming to tackle particular problems, were an obvious way forward for now.

There was a lot of focus on the prospects of agreement on a package, based on trade facilitation, at the Bali Ministerial meeting in December 2013.  Many thought that if this were not achieved, the credibility of multilateralism really would be on the line.  Politicians and businessmen alike would finally lose interest, and turn even more than now to bilateral and plurilateral alternatives.  Conversely a success, even a modest one, could create new energy and momentum behind the multilateral, WTO-based approach.  Some suggested that there was an urgent need to bring the importance of Bali, positive and negative, to the attention of political leaders.  There was no time to lose.  The bulk of the deal would have to be done by July.  Ministers could not be left with big things to negotiate once they got to Bali. 

How good were the prospects of a Bali deal? A good number of participants thought that, with a bit of political will and some extra “baubles” for the potential spoilers, it was eminently possible.  The international political stars might not be too badly aligned in 2013, with, for example, the first year of a second-term US President, new leadership in China, at least the possibility of a more open approach from India, and a European Commission in its last year (the Europeans would certainly want to have a go at a Bali push).  Moreover trade facilitation could offer significant gains for everyone, developed and developing countries alike (though a sexier, clearer name would also help).  One third of the overall Doha potential gains could be realised this way.

Others were less optimistic, or warned against raising expectations.  Developing countries and their companies might have as much to gain as everyone else, but they did not currently see it that way, and believed they would need a lot of technical assistance, which would not be forthcoming in practice (though it was pointed out that plenty of financial help was available).  So they would be inclined to think that they needed something else for themselves, which could easily take us back into difficult territory like agriculture. Indeed agriculture and fisheries subsidies, while small in global trade terms, could not simply be avoided. Moreover, it was hard to see where the political leadership could come from before Bali.  None of the major players really looked likely to step up on current form, and the change of WTO DG, due in September, looked badly-timed (though it was pointed out that the outgoing DG had nothing to lose). So was there a pilot in the plane?

There was some detailed discussion of which group of countries could/should get together to give a lead and make Bali a success.  The US and China were necessary but not sufficient, and would in any case continue to have difficulties agreeing bilaterally.  The EU would certainly be there, as would traditional stalwarts of free trade like Canada.  But Russia remained an enigma, and unlikely to help, Brazil seemed to be heading in the wrong direction, and Japan was still not in a position to take initiatives.  Nevertheless, an effective grouping was by no means impossible to put together.  Many still looked to the US to provide the impetus – the identity of the new USTR would be an important clue as to the Obama Administration’s readiness to do so.

Could/should the current WTO DG give a lead, for example by providing a text at the right moment, Dunkel-style?  Views differed.  Some thought it could well help at the right moment.  Others feared that he lacked the credibility to intervene effectively, and such a move could easily prove counterproductive.  The majority thought he should be ready to do so if he judged the conditions auspicious, and should be encouraged to think in these terms.

The future of multilateralism and the WTO

Overall the view was that the multilateral approach remained essential, and that it had to be kept alive.  The Doha paralysis was more of a long pause than a signal that an entirely new model was required. Progress could be made through bilateral and plurilateral FTAs, but many thought that ultimately they had to be consolidated and locked into a universal agreement if significantly freer trade were to have any reality. Some things, like agricultural subsidies, could not be dealt with plurilaterally.  Trade multilateralism might therefore be at a low point for now – reflecting the low point of global governance mechanisms more widely, and the apparent inability of the G20 to play a useful role in anything but full-blown crisis mode. But we would have to come back to it in due course.  This might be easier after the end of the current recession, and if structural reform in key emerging and developing economies had made progress in the meantime. 

This led us on to the question of the WTO itself.  Was it fit for purpose in its current form?  There was wide agreement on the need for reform, and that it should be organic and gradual, rather than a top-down big bang, but no real consensus on what shape this reform should take.  Many wanted the Secretariat strengthened to help it become an engine of change – it should be enabled to be more proactive, for example in challenging weak FTAs, and promoting best practice.  Some suggested a right of initiative for the DG, on the lines of the European Commission, though others stressed the importance of the WTO remaining a membership-driven organisation.  No-one suggested ditching consensusdecision-making, though it was recognised that this increasingly led frustrated members down bilateral and plurilateral routes.  The WTO Chairs could also be more active in putting together proposals for the membership, though this would require a different selection process from the current one, whose results were frankly too patchy. 

What sort of person should the next DG be?  There was an assumption that he/she would probably come from a non-OECD country.  There were already a number of worthy candidates in the field.  But it was not clear that any of them would be capable of changing the political weather over trade in the way arguably needed (nor clear that all the membership would welcome such a figure, for that matter).  It was suggested that the ideal candidate should be both an effective political evangelist for freer trade, and an experienced technician.  Such people did not grow on trees. 

In any case there were real fears that the WTO could be progressively marginalised if nothing were done, and Bali failed. This would be a disaster.  Not only were its technical mechanisms, in areas like surveillance and dispute resolution, still vital (and for the most part effective), its existence as a forum and rallying point for the trade liberalisation agenda was also irreplaceable. A strong WTO would be essential if new issues such as those identified below were to be tackled successfully.

The role of plurilateral and bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

We noted that, in part presumably because of the absence of multilateral progress, the list of potential bilateral and plurilateral FTAs was particularly long at present.  The EU/US and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) initiatives were the most significant but there were a lot of important bilateral deals also in play, particularly involving the EU.  This could be seen as a sign of the continuing vigour of the trade liberalisation agenda, which had found new channels for expression following the Doha Round stagnation.

There was less agreement on how far these agreements, if reached, would help or hinder the multilateral approach, reflecting the long-standing arguments over this point.  The majority view, perhaps reflecting the developed country bias of those around the table, was that they should be seen as positive.  They could pave the way for progress at the multilateral level (“building blocks”), and break necessary new ground in a way which was impossible multilaterally.  They might also galvanise multilateral negotiations into action, since those not part of them would realise the train was leaving without them otherwise (this had happened in the latter stages of the Uruguay Round).  In any case it was better that something was happening, rather than nothing.  The crucial condition was that those negotiating FTAs should do so with a view to future consolidation into multilateral agreements.  They should be deep, not shallow and be seen as complementary to multilateral agreements, not alternatives to them.  It would also be good if such agreements were open to others to join if they wanted (the International Services Agreement was an interesting precedent/test case).

Others feared that the plurilateral deals currently under consideration covered so much of global trade that they risked rendering the multilateral approach irrelevant, and could lead to a world of competing trading blocs.  Moreover, many developing countries, particularly the poorer ones, would simply be left out – and might conclude that the whole game was so biased against them that they should refuse to play anymore. Africa was already largely absent from decision-making, despite its economic potential. Some important players, not least China, India and Russia, also risked being left out, with unpredictable results, though China would no doubt continue to pursue her own FTAs. Meanwhile the complexity of the so-called ‘spaghetti bowl’ of FTAs would only get worse. Overall the risks were much greater than the supporters of the new deals would like to believe.

We could not resolve this argument, but all believed that those left outside should be “cuddled”, with the door left open for them, rather than being simply excluded and alienated, since in any case negotiations on these agreements were likely to go ahead.  How good were the prospects of agreement? We recognised that both the EU/US and TPP initiatives were highly ambitious, and likely to cover areas which were largely new ground. Progress was therefore hard to predict.  The EU/US agreement would not be an asymmetrical deal, as so many FTAs had been in the past, but one involving two coherent but different regulatory universes. It would mean getting deep into regulatory reform and “behind the border” barriers.  The regulators themselves would need to be involved – they were a different breed from trade negotiators, and tended to be more self-sufficient and less used to doing political deals.  Deep societal values could be involved in some areas, and progress would be necessarily slow and difficult even when negotiations had been launched.  But the prize was also great, and there was some reason to think that the political will to have a serious go at an agreement was more there than in the past.  If progress could somehow be made in these difficult areas, it would be an excellent example to follow multilaterally, since there too the issues were less and less about tariffs and more and more about regulatory and other non-tariff barriers. 

One issue raised in this context, which we did not have time to explore, was the sort of dispute settlement mechanisms these agreements might need, and how that might impact on the existing WTO multilateral mechanisms.

The new trade agenda

Not as much time was spent on this as we might have wanted, but it was looked at in all the working groups in one way or another.  As well as the regulatory barriers already mentioned, other potential areas included e-commerce, competition policy, green goods, export restrictions, food security, national security issues, rules of origin, and investment. On the regulatory side, local content restrictions were seen as a major and increasing challenge.  Examples of forced localisation in both developed and developing countries were multiplying and were often wrapped up in such a way as to prove hard to challenge under WTO rules.  It was suggested that the EU might be planning to take some cases to court soon in order to test the waters, and meanwhile to send a signal about the unacceptability of such practices.  This was generally welcomed. 

This discussion also led us to question whether we really understood well enough what was happening in today’s global trade flows and patterns.  We were aware that global supply chains/value chains had revolutionised the way much business was done, and made traditional ways of measuring trade largely irrelevant. For example, the final stage of assembly was still used as the most important for trade valuation purposes, but was far from this in many cases, eg in cars or mobile phones.  The services element was poorly accounted for. Much global trade was dominated by a few large multinationals. The business processes and stages were opaque to the outside world, and the relationship between trade and investment flows was poorly understood.

This was just one of the areas where we thought that new and better data, based on new and original research, was badly needed.  Most of the data and papers on trade issues seemed to be rather old, perhaps because the recent lack of multilateral progress had made the subject seem less worth investigating.  New ways of measuring value addition were also badly needed.

There was a lot of support around the table for a new effort to agree international rules for investment, which was arguably now more significant for growth and progress than trade.  The pain of previous negotiating failures had perhaps now eased, and the importance of investment flows, not least those involving the emerging economies, was such that this effort should not be put off.  Bilateral investment protection agreements had been and remained important, but were not enough.  We noted that the TPP proposals already contained a chapter about investment.

The role of business

There was a persistent line of questioning throughout the conference, both from private sector participants and others, about the relevance of trade negotiations as currently conducted to business’s real concerns.  We heard that the issue was simply not on the agenda of company CEOs or boards.  Most businesses seemed to think now that success or failure, e.g. at the Doha round, was of little consequence to them.  But they were the people doing the trading. Why was this, and how far was this perception justified?

It was pointed out that the decade or more of Doha paralysis hardly encouraged companies to give time to the issue.  Busy CEOs had more productive things to do, and many companies had no-one on their staff whose job it was to follow these issues.  Moreover the issues were now much less about easily comprehensible problems such as tariffs and much more about complex regulatory questions.    If companies had problems about access to a particular country (as many often did), their instinct was to try to sort this out quietly through their own channels, and if necessary involve their Embassy, rather than putting it publicly on the trade negotiation agenda, seen as too long and remote to be of much immediate use. 

American participants described how their negotiators had constant interaction with relevant business committees, which kept their concerns grounded in commercial reality.  This process seemed to be much less systematic elsewhere, including within the EU, and more or less non-existent in many emerging and developing companies.  On the other side it was pointed out that trade negotiators had to look to the common economic good, not just respond to individual business lobbies.  Companies were not natural free traders for the most part: they certainly wanted better access to other markets, but were also concerned to protect their own positions where they were well established.  There was also a risk of business consultations being dominated by big existing companies, at the expense of SMEs and potential new entrants. 

While we could not reach firm conclusions about this, the degree of unease among the trade negotiation practitioners themselves about whether what they were doing was really what business wanted and needed was striking. This suggested a fresh look was needed in this area.  One suggestion was that the WTO itself needed to work much more closely with big multinationals to understand what they were doing. Meanwhile we should also recognise that what companies liked above all was the stability and predictability of the playing field and the rules.

Support for trade liberalisation

This debate also raised the wider question of where the drivers and supporters of trade liberalisation were now to be found.  The basic problem was not new: most people, including most politicians and businessmen, instinctively believed that protection of the home market was a good thing, and did not believe that openness to imports would prove beneficial for the domestic economy too. Moreover, the losers in any trade liberalisation deal tended to know who they were, and to be better organised and far more vocal than the potential winners, who were diffuse and widespread, and did not even necessarily realise they would be the winners.

The evidence that increasing trade benefitted everyone and led to economic growth was nevertheless clear, even if new data were badly needed.  Support for free trade was not just a question of quasi-religious faith, though it often seemed rather that way.  So did we need new arguments, or was it more a case of sticking to the old arguments, finding new presentational angles, and putting them across more intensively and persuasively?  We rather thought the latter.  Politicians and experts needed to stand up and be counted more, despite the difficulties of getting the message across. The risks of a relapse into wider protectionism were otherwise too great.  After all trade represented a way to stimulate growth for all, without large government expenditures. One argument which deserved to be heard more was that trade created jobs.

Nevertheless there were a couple of aspects of the liberalisation narrative which did need more work.  First there was a widespread perception, mostly but not exclusively in developing countries, that increasing trade only benefitted a small minority of people, and did not trickle down significantly.  The net result was increasing income inequality, which was dangerous from many points of view, and could not be considered a gain.  How far was this true, and what could be done about it if it were true?  We had no easy answers.

Second a case had often been made for short-term protection of industries and sectors threatened by liberalisation, and infant industries, especially where wider safety nets were not available in developing countries.  This remained controversial but it needed to be looked at properly and codified, for example on how to put limits on any protection and prevent the kind of long-term discrimination represented by, for example, forced localisation measures, and the return of old-fashioned national industrial policies in some places.  Doing something like this could help to keep developing countries on board. 

If such issues were not tackled head on, the basic perception among many that liberalisation was really for rich countries and companies only – the so-called big boys – would grow further, reinforcing the underlying problem of apparent lack of fairness which had so bedevilled previous negotiations, not least Doha. 

We discussed in this context whether the big emerging economies and major companies from these economies could or would become the new drivers of liberalisation, because they stood most to gain from increased trade and current globalisation trends, while the developed countries and their companies arguably had something to lose. The majority view was that they should already be seeing this and acting accordingly, but in practice this was not yet happening, and would still take more time.  Those concerned were just not used to thinking in this way – which was another reason why leadership for liberalisation was still absent. They needed to be encouraged and their driving force for liberalising change mobilised.


We did not come up with a neat set of cut and dried recommendations but the following points emerged more or less clearly:

  • A big effort is needed to make a success of the Bali meeting and there is no time to lose.  Political engagement and leadership have to be mobilised quickly. 
  • The shape of the trade facilitation-based package needs to be identified quickly and if possible relabelled more attractively. It must be seen to be balanced.
  • The current WTO DG should be ready to come forward with a text if the conditions are right.
  •  Plurilateral and bilateral FTAs should be pursued, but need to be shaped to make consolidation back into the multilateral process as easy as possible.
  • The WTO should be more proactive in monitoring and validating (or not) FTAs.
  • The WTO needs reform to stay relevant, with a strengthened and empowered secretariat.  The possibility of the right of initiative should be looked at again. 
  • The identity of the new DG will be very important.  He/she needs to be a potential game-changer/evangelist as well as a competent technician.
  • A fresh effort to agree multilateral investment rules should be made before too long.
  • The case for trade liberalisation, counter-intuitive for most people, needs to be made more strongly, along with the arguments for multilateralism, focussing on the benefits for growth and jobs.
  • An effort is needed to mobilise the emerging economies and their large companies behind the free trade agenda, as they have so much to gain from it.
  • Fresh studies and research should be commissioned to help understand what is really happening behind misleading official trade and investment figures, and help make the case for open markets. 
  • New ways of engaging the private sector need to be identified, while recognising that their views are not always the best guide to the common good. 


Were we ultimately optimistic or pessimistic about the prospects?  There was quite a lot of underlying gloom, but we were also constantly reminded that what was happening in practice in the real world remained broadly positive.  The risks to multilateralism and liberalisation were certainly there, but the worst did not need to happen.  Preventing it from happening would involve greater leadership than was currently visible and a fresh attempt to spell out the arguments, reinforced by good data.  This was a major challenge for the future.  And if we thought that trade negotiations were tough, we were reminded by those with experience of both that climate change negotiations were tougher still.


CHAIRThe Rt Hon Lord Brittan of Spennithorne QC DL
Vice-Chairman, UBS Investment Bank (2000-); Trustee, Daiwa-Anglo Japanese Foundation.  Formerly: Non-Executive Director, Unilever (2004-10); Member, European Commission (1989-99); Vice-President, European Commission (1995-99 and 1989-93); Member of Parliament (Conservative) for Richmond, North Yorkshire (1983-88); Cleveland & Whitby (1974-83); Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1985-86); Home Secretary (1983-85); Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1981-83); Minister of State, Home Office (1979-81).  An Honorary Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.


His Excellency Mr Jonathan Fried
Diplomatic Service of Canada (1980-); Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization, Geneva (2012-).  Formerly: Ambassador to Japan (2008-12); International Monetary Fund's Executive Director for Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean (2006-08); Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and Head of the Canada-United States Secretariat, Privy Council Office (2003-06); Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (2003); Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Finance Canada (2000-03).

Professor Christopher Ragan
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, McGill University (1995-); David Dodge Chair in Monetary Policy, CD Howe Institute, Toronto (2010-); Member, CD Howe Institute's Monetary Policy Council (2003-).  Formerly: Clifford Clark Visiting Economist, Department of Finance, Ottawa (2009-10); Special Advisor to the Governor of the Bank of Canada (2004-05); Editor-in-Chief, World Economic Affairs (1996-2001); Visiting Economist, Bank of Canada (1996-97).

Dr Indira Samarasekera OC
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Alberta (2005-); Chair, World Universities Network; Board Member: Bank of Nova Scotia, National Institute of Nanotechnology; Member: Industry Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation Council, Minister's Advisory Committee on Canada's Global Commerce Strategy; Fellow: Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum.    Formerly: Public Policy Forum of Canada; Presidential Visiting Committee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  A Member of the Program Advisory Committee of The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Martin Strandgaard

Deputy Head of Department for International Trade Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Demark (2010-); Co-ordinator, Danish EU-presidency on trade policy.  Formerly: Head of EU Co-ordination section/climate and energy (2007-10); First Secretary, Embassy of Denmark, Moscow (2004-07).

Mr Marc Vanheukelen

Head, Cabinet of Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht, European Commission.  Formerly: Head of Unit, Relations with the United States and Canada, Directorate General for External Relations, European Commission; Deputy Head, Cabinet of Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs; Head of Unit, Expenditure on Agriculture and Structural Actions, Directorate General on the Budget, European Commission; Head of Unit, Economic Analysis and Sustainable Development, Directorate General on the Environment, European Commission.

Mr Denis Redonnet

Head of Unit, Trade Strategy, DG Trade, The European Commission.

Dr Juergen Friedrich

Chief Executive, Germany Trade and Invest, Berlin (2009-).  Formerly: Director, North Africa, Near and Middle East Division, Federal Ministry of Economics (2007-09); German Industry and Commerce Representative in the UAE, Oman and Qatar, Dubai (2000-07); Economic Policy Expert, Office of the Representative of German Industry and Trade, Washington DC (on secondment from the Federal Ministry of Economics); Deputy Head of Energy Policy Divisions, Federal Ministry of Economics (1988-97).

Ambassador Andreas von Stechow
Chairman, Working Unit for International Trade and the Promotion of International Economic Relations, Economic Advisory Division, German Federal Foreign Office.  Formerly: German Diplomatic Service; Ambassador to Switzerland (2006-08), to Thailand (2001-05); Head, Economic and Commercial Division, Embassy of Germany, Tokyo (1990-97); Head of Multilateral Economic Division, MFA (1998-2001).

Mr Rajya Vardhan Kanoria

Chairman and Managing Director, Kanoria Chemicals and Industries Limited, New Delhi; President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.  Formerly: President of ICC India; Chairman, Indian Jute Mills' Association; Chairman, Confederation of Indian Textile Industry; Head of several Joint Business Councils, including India-Australia, India-New Zealand, India-Netherlands and India-Taiwan; Immediate past Chair, Commission on Trade and Investment Policy, International Chamber of Commerce, Paris.

Mr John Whelan MBA, BSc

Chief Executive, Irish Exporters Association (IEA); Chairman, Institute of International Trade of Ireland; Consultant to United Nation's International Trade Centre, Geneva; Chairman, Aeolus International; Trustee Director, Celbridge Enterprise Centre.  Formerly: President, IEA (1995-97).

Ms Patricia Francis

Executive Director, International Trade Centre, Geneva (2006-); Board Member, IESE; Member, Eminent Persons Group of the Commonwealth.  Formerly: President, Jamaica Trade and Invest; Member, Cabinet Committee for Development, Jamaica; President, World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies; President, China-Caribbean Business Council.

Mr Jun Arima

Director General, Japan External Trade Organisation, London (on secondment from Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry).  Formerly: Japan's Chief Negotiator, UN Climate Talks, Cancun, Mexico (2010); Head of Division, Country Studies, Long-Term Co-operation and Policy Analysis, International Energy Agency, Paris (2002-06); Councillor (Energy) to Permanent Delegation of Japan, OECD; Senior positions, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, Tokyo.

Dr Raed Safadi

Deputy Director, Trade and Agriculture Directorate, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris (2009-).  Formerly: Chief Economist, Government of Dubai; World Bank; Consultant for a number of governments, regional development banks and UN agencies.

Mr Antoni Estevadeordal

Manager, Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  Formerly: Coordinator, IDB's Research on Trade Policy and Technical Assistance to several global, regional, and extra-regional integration initiatives in Latin  America and the Caribbean (including WTO, FTAA, APEC); Lecturer: University of Barcelona, Harvard University.

The Lord Aldington

Trustee, Institute for Philanthropy (2008-); Vice President, National Churches Trust (2008-); Trustee, Royal Academy Trust (2003-); Chairman, 2019 Committee, New College, Oxford. Formerly: Chairman, Deutsche Bank London (2002-09); Chairman, Stramongate Ltd (2007-11); Member, Chairman's Committee, British Bankers' Association (2003-09); Member, Council of the British-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1995-2008).  A Member of the Business Committee and a Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Nicholas Armour
Formerly: Director and CEO, International Chamber of Commerce (UK), London (2012-13); HM Diplomatic Service (1974-2012); Director, International Group, UK Trade & Investment, London (2009-12); Consul General, Toronto and Director, UK Trade & Investment, Canada (2005-09); Senior Directing Staff, Royal College of Defence Studies (2003-05); North America Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2000-03); Consul General, Dubai (1997-99).

Mr Edward Barker
Head, Commercial and Economic Diplomacy Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London. Formerly: Director of Trade Policy, Department for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform (2007-09); Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

The Rt Hon Vince Cable MP
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (2010-);Member of Parliament (Liberal Democrat) for Twickenham (1997-).  Formerly: Shadow Chancellor (2003-10); Deputy Leader, Liberal Democratic Party; Liberal Democrat Spokesman on: Trade and Industry (1999-2003), Finance and EMU (1997-99); Chief Economist, Shell (1995-97); Head of Economics Programme, Chatham House (1993-95).

Sir Andrew Cahn KCMG
Non-Executive Director, General Dynamics (UK) (2012-); Vice Chairman (Public Policy), Nomura International (2011-); Non-Executive Director, Lloyd's (2011-); Chair, Advisory Board, Huawei (UK) (2011-); Trustee: Institute for Government, Gatsby Foundation, Japan Society, TheCityUK, Arvon Foundation.  Formerly: Chief Executive Officer, UK Trade & Investment, London (2006-11); Director, Government and Industry Affairs, British Airways (2000-06); Chef de Cabinet to Vice President, European Commission (1997-2000); Deputy Head of European Secretariat, Cabinet Office (1995-97).

Mr John Cooke
Chairman, Liberalisation of Trade in Services Committee, TheCityUK, London; European Co-Chairman, Financial Leaders Working Group.  Formerly: Head of International Relations, Association of British Insurers (1997-2003); Chairman, OECD Trade Committee (1996-97); UK Department of Trade and Industry (1966-1997).

Mr David Frost CMG
Director for Europe, Trade and International Affairs, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (on secondment from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)) (2010-); HM Diplomatic Service (1987-).  Formerly: Director, Directorate for Strategy, Policy Planning and Analysis, FCO (2008-10); Ambassador to Denmark (2006-08); Deputy Director then Director, European Union, FCO (2003-06); Counsellor Economic/EU, British Embassy, Paris (2001-03); Deputy Head, EU Department, FCO (1999-2001); Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary, FCO (1998-99).

Mrs Beatrice Kilroy-Nolan
Deputy Director (Economic Reform, Trade, Energy and Climate Change), Cabinet Office.  Formerly: responsible for Trade Policy and Transatlantic Relations, UK Permanent Representation to the European Union, Brussels.

Ambassador Karen Pierce CMG
HM Diplomatic Service (1981-); Permanent Representative to the UN and World Trade Organisation, Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and International Organisations in Geneva (2012-).  Formerly: Director, Afghanistan and South Asia, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mr Joseph Wan FCA, FCI Arb
Group Chief Executive, Harvey Nichols, London (1992-); Fellow, Institute of Directors and The Royal Society of Arts; Non-Executive Chairman, S. T. Dupont SA.  Formerly: Group Finance Director, Dickson Concepts; KPMG, Hong Kong and London.

Ambassador Carla Hills

Chair and CEO, Hills & Company International Consultants; Chair, National Committee on US-China Relations; Co-Chair, Inter-American Dialogue; Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Member, Executive Committee for the Peterson Institute for International Economics; Member, Executive Committee for the Trilateral Commission; Advisory Board Co-Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Board Member, International Crisis Group.  Formerly: US Trade Representative (1989-93); Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, US Department of Justice.

Mr Gary Hufbauer
Reginald Jones Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute of International Economics, Washington DC (1992-).  Formerly: Maurice Greenberg Chair and Director of Studies, Council on Foreign Relations (1996-98); Marcus Wallenberg Professor of International Finance Diplomacy, Georgetown University (1985-92).

Ms Kellie Meiman Hock
Managing Director and Partner, McLarty Associates, Washington, DC;   Member: Council on Foreign Relations, Inter-American Dialogue and World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Latin America; Board Member, Brazil-US Business Council.  Formerly: President, Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce; Director for Brazil and the Southern Cone, Office of the United States Trade Representative; US Diplomatic Service; Economic Officer, US Department of State. 

Ambassador Susan Schwab
Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland; Strategic Advisor, Mayer Brown LLP, Washington DC; Member, Council on Foreign Relations; Fellow, National Academy of Public Administration.  Formerly: United States Trade Representative; Dean, University of Maryland School of Public Policy (1995-2003); President and CEO, University System of Maryland (USM) Foundation; USM Vice Chancellor for Advancement; Director of Corporate Business Development, Motorola, Inc.; Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

Mr Alejandro Jara

Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva.  Formerly: Foreign Service of Chile; Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile to the WTO, Geneva; Chairperson, Committee on Trade and Environment of the WTO; Chairman, Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services; Director General for International Economic Relations; Chief Negotiator for the Chile-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (1997-98); Deputy Chief Negotiator for the Chile-Canada Free Trade Agreement; Chile's Senior Official to APEC (1996-97); Director for Multilateral Economic Affairs (1994-99).