19 November 2015 - 21 November 2015

Free trade and investment: why are we losing the arguments?

Chair: Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky

The wet and windy weather of late November saw, under energetic chairmanship, a Ditchley gathering of those interested in the global trade and investment agenda. We looked again at whether the World Trade Organisation (WTO) could move on from the failure of the Doha Round and reinvent itself, and how regional and sectoral agreements might fit into this. There was substantial concern but in the end we remained relatively positive about the future. We also looked for ways to make what often seems a highly technical subject more meaningful to businesses and individuals, and above all at how the case for further liberalisation can be better made.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is at a low ebb. Doha is definitively stuck, and threatens to bring down the WTO with it. Ways need to be found to acknowledge that Doha is going nowhere, to allow a new agenda to develop (not a new Round). The main losers from the present impasse are the majority of developing countries. Others have moved on to make progress elsewhere, particularly in regional deals. At the same time, multilateralism remains crucial to encapsulate global standards and norms, and the WTO needs to be preserved. Member states will need to bring their leadership back to the WTO at some stage – and no longer depend on the US taking the lead.

The mega-regional deals either agreed (the Trans Pacific Partnership – TPP), or under negotiation (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – TTIP, and Regional Commercial and Economic Partnership – RCEP) are a natural response to the WTO blockage. Coalitions of the willing want to liberalise and integrate further. The TPP is a big deal in every sense, and perhaps a game-changer for the system, as long as it is ratified and implemented. Other countries are likely to join when they can, with South Korea at the head of the queue, but the prospects for China joining at some stage are harder to predict. Some thought she would be bound to be interested in due course, and should be engaged soon. Others were more sceptical, and feared China, through RCEP and commercial incentives, would try to cement its own club.

Are the mega-regional deals building blocks for future multilateral progress, or stumbling blocks? We did not have a clear answer at this stage. But they would not necessarily be trade-diverting or an obstacle to further multilateral progress. And they could re-energise the system by bringing home to those blocking Doha, and seemingly comfortable with the status quo that the world was moving on without them. Meanwhile progress is also made on sectoral agreements concerning, for example, IT, green goods, and services. These plurilateral deals are more easily compatible with the multilateral system, but it is not clear whether there is an appetite to take them into new areas in the future.

Do free trade agreements actually increase trade? Most participants thought they both reflected trade patterns and reinforced them, but there was also some scepticism around the table from those in business and outside the trade negotiation bubble. Many companies, particularly SMEs, are unaware of what is being negotiated and its relevance to them. It is not clear that the negotiators have always understood fully the way the trade and investment world now actually works, with so much trade in goods reflecting global supply chains and intra-company movement of goods, and services such an important part of the system. In this context, have we reached “peak trade”, with global trade now growing less rapidly than global GDP for the first time in many years? We were not sure how far what we were seeing was structural, as opposed to cyclical, but noted the increasing regionalisation of supply chains.

Are the proponents of freer trade and investment losing the arguments? There is certainly increasing opposition in Europe to further trade liberalisation, and in different ways in the US too, but this does not apply everywhere. We thought that a lot of the passionate opposition to TTIP was less about trade than about angst at the way the world was going, reflecting many factors including loss of faith in political and economic elites and big business, economic inequality, worries about the effect of technology on traditional jobs, and environmental fears. In any case the opponents of freer trade and investment are much better at putting their case and using modern methods to do so. So not only are new arguments and better data needed to show the advantages of liberalisation, and to continue to expose the myths which bedevil discussion of these issues, but smarter use of social media is vital too. Potential sources of opposition including organised labour and environmental groups also need to be engaged earlier and more intensively.

How do we move forward from here? A number of ideas found support, including a new, more bottom-up agenda for the WTO, and liberation of the secretariat from excessive member state control; more original research into current patterns of trade and investment; work to produce new norms and standards for digital era trade; and revival of the idea of a multilateral investment agreement. Overall we thought there were plenty of opportunities for the future, despite the current WTO impasse, but hard work and leadership would be needed to bring them to fruition.

Where is multilateralism now?
We began by reviewing the state of the WTO and the Doha negotiations. There was little optimism. The Nairobi ministerial meeting in December might bring some minor progress, but not enough to revive Doha in any meaningful sense. The biggest worry was what would happen after Nairobi. The focus and energy had long been elsewhere, on the mega-regional negotiations of the TPP and TTIP, as well as various plurilateral/sectoral efforts. But it had been possible to imagine that the WTO was still where all the progress would come back together, to be multilateralised. It was now harder to expect or assume that this would happen, although the situation was not irretrievable. The larger WTO negotiating process itself seemed almost moribund. Many developing countries were simply not prepared to move in other areas until their concerns about agricultural trade had been met, and the developed countries were in no mood to concede on this, without significant additional market access in the developing world.

It was argued by several participants that Doha failure was now killing the WTO itself. Unless new ways to move on were found, the organisation might be left with only a functional dispute settlement role, and the sustainability of this role would be tested by the advent of the mega-regionals which had their own dispute settlement mechanisms.  The problem was that no-one wanted to be the one who finally pronounced Doha dead. The result was an increasingly empty charade at WTO gatherings, while the real business was done elsewhere. It was also argued that Doha had been a mistake from the start, launched essentially for geopolitical reasons in the wake of the 9/11 attack, given a misleading development label which had aroused expectations far beyond what could ever be delivered, and made a hostage of progress on agriculture which was most unlikely to be forthcoming.

On this view, the concept of a traditional Round, where nothing was agreed until everything was agreed, was now defunct. Too many members, with interests which were too divergent, combined with the consensus rule, made progress almost impossible. Different ways forward would have to be found in the future, and the WTO unshackled from the shell of Doha. The main losers from the present situation were the bulk of developing countries themselves, who could block movement but had no real alternative agenda. Others, including some developing countries, had now gone elsewhere to find the liberalisation they wanted.

This negative assessment was not accepted by all around the table. They pointed out that new countries were still acceding to the WTO; that Nairobi was likely to take a step forward, even if limited; that the Bali agreement on trade facilitation had been well worthwhile; that useful progress was being made in other areas like Information Technology (ITA), Environmental Goods and Services (EGS), and services more broadly (TISA); and that the dispute settlement mechanism was continuing to prove valuable. However, even these relative optimists had to accept that Doha was not moving forward, and did not look likely to in the near future.

What all around the table did share was concern that the multilateral approach to trade should not be abandoned. In principle, multilateral approaches were much preferable to bilateral or regional agreements. They were inherently more legitimate and inclusive, and led to a global convergence of norms and standards over time. The WTO had been a key driver of global economic integration which had created wider prosperity for all and helped lift hundreds of millions out of poverty. It was important, indeed vital, that the current crop of regional and bilateral deals came back under the multilateral WTO umbrella at some point. Meanwhile, it was also important to cherish the WTO as an institution.

We came back to how the WTO might indeed move on from its present phase at later points in our discussions, recorded below. But we agreed that an essential element of any revival of the multilateral agenda and the WTO itself would be renewed leadership from within the members. This could not be just American-led as it had often been in the past. The world was now a different place, with many more countries of power and influence, and there needed to be a convergence of objectives and interests among at least a critical mass of these countries to get things moving again. Could the US and China together do this? We were not sure we saw this happening in the near future, but it was a tantalising prospect. But in many ways the onus now would be on those being left out of the regional deals to take the initiative.

We wondered from time to time whether India could be brought more into the game, but were not optimistic for the most part. India continued to have her own strong views on the need for agricultural protection in her particular circumstances, and to think that she was big enough to stay outside regional arrangements being put together by others. This might be wrong and short-sighted, in the view of most outsiders, but that was not the view which counted for now.

One issue on which we did not spend a lot of time, but which cropped up from time to time in our debates, was the extent to which protectionism is in fact growing. It has long been an article of faith that the international community was very successful, in the wake of the 2008 crisis, in avoiding a repeat of the disastrous beggar-my-neighbour policies of the 1930s. Certainly overt protectionism remains relatively limited. However, some around the table were worried that more subtle behind the border barriers (national subsidies, local content rules etc.) were in fact increasing significantly, though hard to measure. This needed to be watched. Meanwhile we were also reminded that, while the US always presented itself as a global leader for open markets, it still had highly protected sectors like shipping and aviation.

The benefits and disadvantages of regional agreements
We took a close look at where the current crop of bilateral and regional negotiations was taking us. The basic point was that, in the absence of Doha progress, further trade and investment liberalisation had to come from elsewhere – hence the focus on the bilateral and regional tracks. Such deals had of course always been a feature of the scene – for example NAFTA had been negotiated in parallel to the Uruguay Round. It was normal that some countries should want to go further than was possible in the broad, multilateral context, and to find ways to move to deeper mutual integration, access and common rules with like-minded counterparts. There were also often geopolitical reasons pushing certain countries or groups to move ahead.  There always had to be room for coalitions of the willing to drive forward.

The TPP was a classic example. Its conclusion was, in all respects, a big deal, and potentially a game-changer for the whole international trade and investment landscape. Twelve countries with diverse economies, developed and developing, representing 40% of global GDP, had been able to agree wide-ranging new norms and standards, well beyond WTO disciplines and the traditional trade in goods agenda. It still had to be ratified, which would not be straightforward, either in the US or some developing countries, but the prospects overall seemed reasonably good, and its future power of attraction could be considerable. A second round of countries interested in joining, led by South Korea, was already lining up. It also showed those seen as standing in the way of Doha progress that the status quo was not as stable as they had assumed, and that they might be in danger of losing out.

We discussed at some length the prospects for China joining the TPP at some stage. It was open to them to do so, as it was open for other members of APEC, as long as they met the standards. But, how likely were they to want to join, or to be able to do so, and to what extent might they want to ask for special conditions for joining? Views were divided. Some thought there was little that China really needed, in terms of market access or otherwise, from the TPP, and they could happily stay out. This would in the long run put a question mark over the TPP, especially if other Asian agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was spearheaded by China, had meanwhile flourished. Others thought China, whose economy was in the view of many round the table a lot more fragile than currently assumed, would be interested in due course, provided its internal economic reform agenda could be reconciled with or willingly influenced by TPP rules. It would be worth encouraging China’s interest at an early stage, and even being ready to be more flexible about conditions for China, since Chinese adherence would be a major prize. It might also be valuable for the Chinese authorities if they chose to use it as an instrument to help bring about further internal economic reform, as they had done with adherence to the WTO. That would be good for everyone.

The TTIP was meanwhile seriously lagging behind the TPP. The prospects for concluding the negotiations in 2016 looked poor, and opposition to the potential agreement was meanwhile growing, especially in Europe. This was understandable in some ways since the substance of the negotiations reached deep into sensitive national regulations on both sides of the Atlantic and touched raw nerves of sovereignty. But failure to make progress, if that happened, would be a major economic and geopolitical setback. This would arguably be much worse for Europe, since the US could just intensify its focus on Asia in response.

The TPP and TTIP were not of course the only games in town. Besides the planned RCEP and Free Trade Agreement for the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), there were also many deals already agreed or under negotiation, some of which could be very significant; the Canada/EU Trade Agreement (CETA), currently awaiting final validation and ratification; an EU/Japan agreement; and a Japan/Chinese/South Korea agreement, to give just a few examples.

If bilateral/regional deals were the main way forward while the multilateral route was blocked, to what extent was this a problem, either now or in the future? Two traditional arguments against regional deals were that they diverted trade, and that they sucked energy out of the multilateral process.  We did not find either convincing in today’s circumstances. Trade diversion was less important when the main impact of the deals was on services, and outside providers could also benefit from the regulatory norms once agreed. And, as far as negotiating energy was concerned, the fact that ambitious regional deals were being discussed should in fact give renewed impetus over time to multilateral negotiations.

Were regional deals a better way forward than sectoral deals, often known as plurilaterals (open to all comers)? This was another area where we struggled to find consensus. In principle, sectoral deals should be less damaging to multilateralism, since they could more easily become universal. Some sectors had seen great negotiating success – IT, telecommunications, financial services and cyberspace had all moved liberalisation forward in the past. Today, IT, green goods and services negotiations were being pursued.  Could we identify even newer areas for future sectoral deals? Some participants thought so, and pointed to areas like healthcare and tourism. Others worried that in practice such a list was not easy to put together.

The biggest question in all this was whether the so-called mega-regionals would in the end be building blocks towards multilateral trade and investment liberalisation, or stumbling blocks. The view of most around the table was that it was simply too soon to know. There was a lot of hope that they would prove in the end to be stepping stones, but less expectation that this would necessarily prove to be the case. Some worried that if in the end the regional deals were not folded into the multilateral process, the result could be seriously negative, as others set up rival groupings. Agreements which left out the major emerging economies, which would represent an even larger proportion of global GDP in the future than now, would not ultimately secure the steps forward currently envisaged.

Others suggested that the mega-regionals would exert a powerful attractive force on those outside, which would enable them eventually to become effectively multilateralised, even if not universalised. One way of helping bring them closer to the multilateral system meanwhile would be to find ways to dock them into the WTO system, for example by agreeing to use the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, or having accessions to them registered with the WTO.

How effective are trade and investment agreements?
Before looking at the way forward, we also debated at different moments in the conference the real relevance of trade and investment negotiations to how business is done in today’s world. For example, did trade follow agreements, or the other way round? The answer from most of the experts seemed to be that agreements both reflected patterns of trade and investment, and reinforced them. It was always hard to establish the counterfactual – what would have happened if a particular agreement had not been signed and implemented?

However, there were some around the table who had greater doubts, particularly from outside the trade negotiation world itself. They argued that most companies, particularly SMEs, were barely aware of the fact of such negotiations, never mind of the potential relevance of the negotiations to their own businesses. It was also less than clear that the real nature of most international business today was properly understood. Most goods were now produced in a number of countries through complex international supply chains, and the accompanying services were at least as important as the goods themselves. A surprisingly large proportion of trade in goods was within multinational companies. Most of these companies were much more concerned about their investment strategies and the conditions for investment than they were about trade as such. Meanwhile, it remained extremely difficult to capture the reality of businesses in services not directly connected to goods, and trade statistics as currently gathered revealed too little about what was actually happening in the world. In this context, the TISA negotiations in the WTO, intended to update market access and rules in the services area, were moving rather slowly.

On the other side it was pointed out that it was well understood that most negotiations were no longer about tariffs, but about complex behind the border issues – norms, standards, regulations etc. – which did have a real impact on companies and their business, even if most boardrooms took little or no interest in what the negotiators were doing. Free trade and investment agreements had over time made a huge difference to global economic integration and the prosperity of many countries. Nevertheless, it was accepted that the links between companies and the negotiations being conducted on their behalf did need to be strengthened, particularly with SMEs, as well as with other important stakeholders such as organised labour.

We also looked briefly at whether the world had reached, and maybe passed, “peak trade”. Trade no longer seemed to be growing faster than global GDP. Was this cyclical or did it reflect deeper structural changes in the way the international economy now worked? We found it hard to give a clear answer to this question at this stage, but there was a suspicion that our understanding was well behind the reality. One development of interest was certainly the increasing regionalisation of supply chains and resulting “reshoring” of some manufacturing processes, as the disadvantages of over-extended and fragile manufacturing chains had come to be seen more clearly.

Are we losing the arguments?
The conference title had posed the question: “Why are we losing the arguments?” The conference participants responded by asking who “we” were, and whether we really were losing the arguments. On the first point, the answer was presumably “the proponents of free trade and investment”, though not everyone round the table would necessarily have described themselves in such terms. The response to the second point was that it depended upon which country or region you were looking at. In many developing countries, while there might be an instinctive urge to protect infant industries and agriculture, there was a broad acceptance that greater market access and international economic integration was a good thing, valuable for most people. The arguments had to be made constantly, no doubt, and refreshed, but the underlying premise of the value of freer trade and investment was generally accepted.

The picture was rather different at present in some developed countries, particularly in Europe and, to a lesser extent and with different dynamics, in the US.  While governments and economic elites continued to accept the arguments for freer trade and investment, broadly speaking, there was an increasingly vocal and influential grass roots movement which did not. TTIP had become a particular focus for this opposition in Europe. A recent anti-TTIP demonstration in Germany had attracted 250,000 people, for example. Meanwhile, the case for TTIP often seemed to be going by default, even if trade ministers made appropriate speeches from time to time. A particular issue in Europe was that the negotiations were conducted at EU level, while the hot issues were felt at national level.

Participants argued that, while there was no doubt about the passion and appeal of these opposition groups, the reasons behind their vehemence often seemed to have little to do with the details of trade and investment agreements. Part of the problem was the necessary confidentiality surrounding the negotiations themselves, which naturally gave rise to suspicions that deals to suit the big battalions with money were being cooked up behind closed doors, and allowed all sorts of accusations and stories to flourish unchecked.  However, much of the opposition also seemed to be more about dislike of, and angst about, the way the world was going overall. This could be a potent, not to say toxic, mix of disparate elements:-

  • lost confidence in governments and elites of all kinds, particularly in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis;
  • discontent with the effects of globalisation, and a view that it only suited the rich countries and the big multinational companies;
  • concerns about poverty in the developing world, and growing economic inequality in certain countries, as well as generally in the world;
  • fears that a combination of climate change and environmental degradation was ruining the planet;
  • worries that hard-fought national or regional environmental and labour standards would be sacrificed in the name of big business;
  • distrust of financial institutions and multinationals allegedly evading taxes;
  • fears that the present global recovery was jobless, and that new technology was squeezing many people out of the jobs market, or at least leaving only precarious lower-paid jobs;
  • grass-roots belief in some developed countries that other countries were stealing jobs by dumping and cheating.

Some of these reflected legitimate concerns. In some developed countries, fears about the future were strengthened by the underlying sentiment that the West was losing out to the big emerging economies. However, most participants did not believe it was reasonable to lay all these ills at the door of free trade and investment agreements. Issues such as growing inequality were certainly serious and worrying, but they were the result of poor domestic policies, not international agreements. The distribution of gains from trade was also a matter for tax and other internal policies.  Similarly it was not fair to blame lack of action on climate change on trade agreements – indeed they increasingly contained valuable provisions on environmental and labour standards. The economic evidence continued to be that liberalisation of trade and investment brought economy-wide benefits of more robust growth, and lifted all boats, though not necessarily always by the same amount, and that poorer countries and poorer sections of society could in many ways be the biggest beneficiaries.

In any event we were in no doubt that those articulating anti-trade concerns seemed to be doing a much better communications job than the proponents of free trade and investment, using social media and other contemporary tools much more effectively. If one side was conducting a highly effective campaign through blogs and tweets and Facebook etc., and making an impact through BuzzFeed or Reddit, a long and technical White Paper from the WTO secretariat or a national government was not going to make a lot of difference.

There was therefore an urgent need to do a better job of articulating and communicating the benefits of liberalisation, and to underpin these arguments with new and convincing data. This had always been a challenge – the potential losers from any agreement knew in advance who they were, and could mobilise accordingly, while the potential winners were more broadly spread and unlikely to be effective in the same way. Governments had to follow the dictates of public interest more than public opinion. Nevertheless the proponents of free trade and investment needed to take more control of the narrative and illustrate it in ways which made more sense to people:-

  • personal stories about the practical benefits for SMEs and individuals, preferably using SMEs themselves;
  • greater focus on what happened when an agreement was implemented, not just when it was signed;
  • avoiding overselling the benefits in terms of short-term jobs, when the real benefits were in productivity, higher value jobs and overall prosperity;
  • clearer linkages to the strong services element in today’s trade and investment world;
  • making clear that liberalisation was about imports as well as exports;
  • spelling out the relevance of liberalisation to modern, high-tech industries, e.g. in the IT and data fields;
  • engaging with labour and environmental groups at much earlier points in the development of agreements (even if some lobbies might never be satisfied);
  • companies had to be responsible, respectful of basic human rights, and not outsourcing poor standards elsewhere.

There was also still a basic need to carry on myth-busting:-

  • Trade was not a competitive sport or zero-sum game where one national team tried to beat another, but a collectively beneficial enterprise;
  • If jobs were lost in a particular sector, it was not necessarily the case that the other side was cheating;
  • Trade did not destroy manufacturing;
  • Trade was not just good for big business;
  • Not every country could have a trade surplus.
  • Protectionism was worse for you than for your competitors.

More emphasis could also usefully be placed on the issue of adjustment. Trade could of course lead to dislocation. This should be recognised up front, and ways devised to deal with it.

One particular issue which was as controversial inside our conference as it is controversial outside, was the Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions which are increasingly included in bilateral and regional agreements. It was argued strongly by some that these were valuable ways of resolving trade and investment problems in depoliticised ways, that they had not in fact been abused by companies or used mostly by American companies against other governments, and that governments won such cases as often as they lost. Others thought that the provisions favoured multinationals over other stakeholders, by providing them rights to redress not available to others, and could be used/abused more in the future if they were incorporated into future EU/US agreement. A view espoused by some was that, while the reality of ISDS was no doubt far from the emotional bogeyman erected by its opponents, it was now such a toxic issue that it would be better to leave it out of agreements rather than risk losing them altogether because of it. No-one seemed quite sure whether the new European Commission proposal to replace ISDS was a practical way forward but it was seen as worth studying in detail.

The way forward
We did not reach a neat set of recommendations, but the following ideas had support round the table, in addition to the thoughts recorded above:-

  • more activity to by-pass Doha and identify a new agenda for the WTO, for example greater focus on soft rules/codes of conduct rather than binding agreements; a proactive role in identifying and knitting together common elements in regional agreements; a determined effort to find ways of docking regional agreements in the WTO system; a more bottom-up, experimental approach to trade and investment issues;
  • liberation of the WTO secretariat from too tight control by the members, to enable them to take on think pieces and make proposals where appropriate;
  • key countries to get together to exercise political leadership in the WTO, and to think about how to use the Chinese Presidency of the G20 in 2016 to advance this;
  • agriculture was still too important to many countries to be ignored, and needed new thinking, and reframing, for example around food security and rural development;
  • encouragement of new original research and analysis on the current trade and investment scene;
  • greater efforts at transparency during negotiations, while recognising the limits here;
  • work on ways to turn existing bilateral/regional deals into plurilateral deals more easily open to others;
  • revival of the proposal for a multilateral investment agreement;
  • work on new rules and agreements to cover the huge new area of digital trade and e-commerce, on the basis of keeping the internet open;
  • work on new rules and agreements to cover international trade and exchanges in the particular field of data and cyber security, covering issues such as ownership, copyright and privacy. This was one of the most crucial areas for the future, although trade/WTO jurisdiction was less clear in the case of national security agencies;
  • consumer voices tended to be missing from the debate, and should be brought in.

We did not have time to discuss every issue, and were conscious that we had for example largely neglected Africa and Latin America, where there are developments and opportunities of huge interest, such as the Pacific Alliance. Nevertheless we may have ended up rather more positive about the future than when we started. Certainly there is plenty of scope for continuing the battle for further liberalisation in ways which can bring benefits to all. One warning note sounded at times during the conference was the need to watch currency movements and use of currencies in competitive ways. This could easily be a battle ground of the future.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.


CHAIR: Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky 
Senior International Partner and Chair, International Trade, Investment and Market Access Practice Group, WilmerHale LLP, Washington, DC; Board Member, America-China Society; Fellow, Foreign Policy Association; Member: American Academy of Diplomacy, Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly: U.S. Trade Representative (1997-2001); Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (1993-96); Partner, Steptoe & Johnson; Vice Chair, International Law Section, American Bar Association.

Dr Joshua Meltzer
Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution (2015-); Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies; Reviewer, Journal of Politics and Law. Formerly: Trade Negotiator and Legal Advisor with Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Australian Diplomatic Service: posting to Washington, DC, with responsibility for trade and climate change issues.
Mr Kunal Sharma 
Rhodes Scholar (University of New South Wales & Keble College, Oxford 2014). Formerly: Solicitor, Herbert Smith Freehills (2013-14).

Mr Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz 
Co-founder and CEO, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Geneva; Convener, ICTSD-WEF 15 Initiative looking into the immediate future of the global trade and investment system. Formerly: Chief Trade and Investment Negotiator for Colombia; G77 Spokesperson, UNFCC; Chief of Administration, Office of the President of Colombia; Co-Founder and Executive Director, Fundacion Futuro Latinoamericano (Quito); Director, Meridian Institute, USA; Author and Editor.

Professor Eugene Beaulieu 
Professor, Department of Economics, and Director of International Economics, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. Editorial Boards: University of Calgary Press, Forum for Research in Empirical International Trade, and formerly Canadian Foreign Policy. Formerly: International Trade Advisory Committee, Statistics Canada; Advisor, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Norman Robertson Fellow, International Trade Canada; Visiting Scholar: Department of Economics, Carleton University and University of Western Australia; Economist, Government of Kenya and
Bank of Canada.
Mr Alan Bowman 
Deputy Head of Mission, Mission of Canada to the European Union and Permanent Observer of Canada to the Council of Europe. Formerly: Director, Foreign Policy Research, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, New York; Chairman, APEC Committee on Trade and Investment.
Mr Emerson Csorba 
Director and Co-Founder, of Gen Y Inc., Canada (2014-); World Economic Forum Global Shaper and Member of Global Advisory Council on Collaborations (2013-); Contributor on education and business to Economist Intelligence Unit, Globe & Mail, Daily Telegraph, Director Magazine and World Economic Forum Global Agenda (2011-); Cambridge Trust Scholar, University of Cambridge (Pembroke College); Peter Lougheed Scholar, University of Alberta.
Ms Kirsten Hillman 
Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Policy and Negotiations, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; Canada's Chief Negotiator, Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Formerly: Director General, Trade Negotiations; Senior Legal Advisor, Canada's Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organisation; Senior Counsel, Trade Law Branch; Co-Chair, NAFTA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes; Senior Counsel, International Environment and Oceans Bureau; Chair, Compliance Committee UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.
The Hon. Pierre Marc Johnson BA LL.L PhD (HC) FRSC GoQ
Counsel, Lavery, Montreal; Chief Negotiator, Quebec Government Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU (2009-); representing the Government of Quebec in the negotiations aimed at ending the softwood lumber trade dispute with the United States. Formerly: Premier of Quebec.

Mr Alejandro Jara 
Senior Counsel, International Trade team, King & Spalding, Geneva. Formerly: Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Geneva; 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); Director for Bilateral Economic Affairs (1993-94).

Mr Xiaozhun Yi 
Deputy Director General, World Trade Organisation, Geneva. Formerly: China's Ambassador to the WTO; Assistant Minister then Vice Minister of Commerce in charge of multilateral and regional trade negotiations and cooperation.

Dr Anders Aeroe 
International Trade Centre, Geneva (2007-): Director, Market Development Division (2011-), formerly Acting Deputy Executive Director; Chief, Market Analysis and Research Section. Formerly: Regional Adviser, Danish Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries; Senior Manager Trade Promotion, Western Cape Trade and Investment Promotion Agency; Chairman of the Board, CallingtheCape (Western Cape call centre business association); Member, South African Maritime Industry Task Team; Advisory Council Member, Cape IT Initiative; Head, Research and Policy Section, Danish Association of Engineers; Export Manager, Danish Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

Mr Denis Redonnet 
Director, WTO, Legal Affairs and Trade in Goods, Directorate General for Trade, European Commission. Formerly: Deputy Chief of Staff to EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson; Advisor to EU Trade Commissioner, Pascal Lamy.

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 Division, Federal Ministry of Economics (1988-97).
Mr Martin G. Kaspar 
Fraenkische Group (2002-): Head of Business Development, Fraenkische-Industrial Pipes; PhD Candidate, Durham University (on FDI incentives). Formerly Wacker-Chemie, Munich; Deutsche Heraklith, Simbach.

Ms R.V. Anuradha 
Partner, International Trade Law and Policy, Investment Law and Investment Treaty Disputes, and Climate Change Law and Policy practices, Clarus Law Associates, New Delhi; Member, Asia WTO Research Network; advisor to Government of India and the private sector on matters arising under the WTO and Free Trade Agreements.

Ambassador Hiroshi Oe 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan: Deputy Chief Negotiator for TPP. Formerly: Ambassador to Pakistan.

Ms Carmel Cahill 
OECD (1983-): Acting Deputy Director, Directorate for Trade and Agriculture, formerly Head, Policies and Trade in Agriculture Division. Formerly: Irish Ministries of Agriculture and Finance.

Dr Antoni Estevadeordal 
Manager, Integration and Trade Sector, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Coordinator of Operations, Technical Assistance, Capacity Building, Policy Dialogue and Research on Trade and Integration issues in Latin America and the Caribbean (WTO, WCO, FTAs, Pacific Alliance, APEC, etc.); Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Member, WEF Global Agenda Council on the Future of Logistics; Convener, ICTSD/WEF E-15 Initiative. Formerly: Lecturer, University of Barcelona and Harvard University.

Mr Fredrik Erixon
Co-Founder (2006) and Director, European Centre for International Political Economy, Brussels. Formerly: Adviser to the British government; Chief Economist, Timbro; Economist, World Bank and JP Morgan; Emerging Market Analyst; Economist, Prime Ministers Office, Sweden.

Damien Smith
Economic Advisor, Future of Work, Department for Work and Pensions (2015-).

Sir Michael Arthur KCMG 
President, Boeing UK and Ireland (2014-); UK Chairman, Koenigswinter (2010-); Non-Executive Director, Diligenta (TCS); Advisory Board Member: The Global Economic Symposium, The India Institute, King's College London, The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, and others. Formerly: Partner, The Ambassador Partnership; HM Diplomatic Service (1972-2010): Ambassador to Germany (2007-10); British High Commissioner, New Delhi (2003-07); Director General, EU and International Economic Issues (2001-03); Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Washington DC (1999-2001); Director, Resources (1997-99); Political Counsellor and Head of Chancery, Paris (1993-97).
Mr Edward Barker 
Head of Transatlantic and International Unit, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Formerly: Head, Commercial and Economic Diplomacy Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London; Director of Trade Policy, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (2007-09); Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
Sir Andrew Cahn KCMG 
Non-Executive Director, Huawei Technologies (UK) (2015-); Non-Executive Director, General Dynamics (UK) (2012-) and Nomura International (2012-); Franchise Board, Lloyd's of London (2011-); Chair, WWF(UK); Trustee: Institute for Government, Gatsby Foundation, Arvon Foundation. Formerly: Chair, Advisory Board, Huawei Technologies (UK) (2011-14); Vice Chairman (Public Policy), Nomura International (2011-12); Chief Executive Officer, UK Trade & Investment, London (2006-11); Trustee: Japan Society, TheCityUK; 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 Nicholas Carn 
Founder, Carn Macro Advisers. Formerly: Partner and Chief Investment Strategist, Odey Asset Management (2002-10); Chief Investment Officer, Global Asset Allocation Group, Alliance Capital Management; Chief Investment Officer, Draycott Partners; Managing Director, International Equities, CIGNA International Investment Management; Contributing Editor, Prospect; Visiting Lecturer, Judge Business School Cambridge.
Mr John Cooke 
Chairman, Liberalisation of Trade in Services (LOTIS) Committee, TheCityUK, London; Member, Senior European Experts Group. Formerly: Head of International Relations, Association of British Insurers (1997-2003); Chairman, OECD Trade Committee (1996-97); UK Department of Trade and Industry (1966-97).
Mr John Evans
General Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, Paris; Chief Economist, International Trade Union Confederation. Formerly: Economist, Economic Department, Trades Union Congress; Secretary, International Federation of Commercial, Clerical and Technical Employees, Geneva and London; Research Officer, European Trade Union Institute, Brussels.
Mr Andrew Fraser CMG 
Director and Senior Adviser (Europe and Middle East), Mitsubishi Corporation International (Europe) plc, London. Formerly: CEO, Invest UK (1994-2000); CEO (Europe), Dentsu Company; Executive Vice President and Director, Business Development, Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide.
Mr Nick Greenstock 
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Gatehouse Advisory Partners Ltd, London. Formerly: RBS.
Mr Simon Lewis OBE 
Chief Executive, Association for Financial Markets in Europe, London (2010-); Visiting Fellow, Oxford University; Visiting Professor, Cardiff School of Journalism; North American Advisory Council Member, Chatham House; Chairman, University College School, Hampstead. Formerly: Director of Communications and the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman, No 10 Downing Street; Director of Corporate Affairs, Vodafone, Centrica and NatWest; Chairman, Fulbright Commission.
The Rt Hon. the Lord Maude of Horsham 
Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2015-). Formerly: Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (2010-15); Member of Parliament (Conservative) for Horsham (1997-15); Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (2007-10); Chairman, Conservative Party (2005-07); Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2000-01); Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (1998-2000). A Governor of The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Paul Nowak 
Assistant General Secretary, Trades Union Congress (TUC), London (2013-); Member, ACAS Council (2011-). Formerly: Head, Organisation and Services Department, TUC; TUC Regional Secretary in the North East and Cumbria; TUC National Organiser.
Ms Karina Robinson 
Founding Principal and CEO, Robinson Hambro Ltd, London; Court of Governors, London School of Economics; Court Assistant, Liveryman and a member of the Communications Committee, Worshipful Company of International Bankers; Advisory Board Member, Global Female Leaders Summit. Formerly: Chair, London School of Economics Mentoring Committee; Board Practice, Saxton Bampfylde; Senior Editor, The Banker; Banking Columnist, International Herald Tribune; Political and Economic Correspondent, Bloomberg/TV; Spanish Equity Analyst, Morgan Grenfell.

Mr Sebastian Mallaby 
Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economics, Council on Foreign Relations; Author: 'After Apartheid', on South Africa (1992); 'The World's Banker', on the World Bank (2004); 'More Money Than God', on the history of hedge funds (2010); 'The Man Who Knew', a biography of Alan Greenspan (2016). Formerly: Contributing Editor, Financial Times; Columnist and Editorial Board Member, Washington Post (1999-2007); The Economist: Washington Bureau Chief (1997-99); Tokyo Bureau Chief (1993-96); International Finance Correspondent (1991-92); Africa Correspondent (1987-91).

Mr Dan Ikenson 
Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute, Washington, DC.
Mr Jeffrey Miller 
Regional Counsel, Law Department, Europe, Russia, Israel and Turkey, The Boeing Company, London (2014-). Formerly: Senior Counsel, Defense, Space and Security, The Boeing Company, St Louis (2009-14).
Mr Daniel Price 
Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors; Member, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Panel of Arbitrators; Board Member, American Arbitration Association; Board Member, Atlantic Council; Member, Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly: Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs (G8/G20 "Sherpa"); Partner and Chair of International Trade and Dispute Resolution Practice, Sidley Austin; Deputy General Counsel, USTR; Deputy Agent of the United States to the Iran-US Claims Tribunal; Lawyer, Department of State.
Ambassador Miriam E. Sapiro 
Principal, Summit Strategies International, Washington, DC; Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development program, Brookings Institution; Board of Directors, Project HOPE and the Association of Women in International Trade; Member, Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly: Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (2009-14); Acting U.S. Trade Representative (2013); Special Assistant and Counselor to the President (Clinton Administration), The White House; Director of European Affairs, National Security Council; Policy Planning Staff, U.S Department of State; Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State.
Ambassador Susan Schwab 
Strategic Advisor, Mayer Brown LLP, Washington, DC; Professor, University of Maryland; Member, Aspen Strategy Group; Trustee, The Conference Board; Member: Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations. Formerly: United States Trade Representative; Dean, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; President, University System of Maryland Foundation and Vice Chancellor for Advancement; Director, Corporate Business Development, Motorola; Assistant Secretary of Commerce; Office of Senator John Danforth (R-Missouri).