SCIL Seminar: Andrew Stoler, "Are the WTO Negotiations Leading Nowhere?"

12 August 2009

The Sydney Centre for International Law and the Ross Parsons Centre of Commercial, Corporate and Taxation Lawpresent:

Are the WTO Negotiations Leading Nowhere? Arguments for a Critical Mass Approach

The current WTO multilateral round of trade negotiations, the Doha Round, is running at least six years' behind the originally agreed timetable. As usual, the main stumbling block seems to be participants' inability to reach consensus on how to reform and liberalise agriculture. In this presentation, the lecturer posits that the launching of the Doha Round on the basis of a poorly understood "single undertaking" concept is largely the cause of the problem in the talks and that WTO Members would be better off in future negotiations basing agriculture - and possible other sector negotiations - on a more productive "critical mass" approach where only those countries that account for the vast majority of trade in agriculture negotiate and accept obligations while extending the benefits of the negotiations to all WTO Members on an MFN basis.

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Andrew Stoler, Executive Director, Institute for International Trade and Former Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organisation


Brett Williams, Sydney Law School

About the seminar

This presentation will explore the prospects for achieving trade liberalisation through WTO negotiations. Andrew Stoler considers whether it is time to reconsider the accepted rules, particularly, the concept of the single undertaking under which everything should be agreed as one package, and that all members must sign on to the same package of agreements. Stoler is managing a research project with trade experts from around the world which considers the merit of an alternative approach, Critical Mass Agreements in which subsectors of WTO members might reach agreement on liberalisation, either across all trade or in single sectors.

About the speaker

Andrew Stoler is the Executive Director of the Institute for International Trade and Adjunct Professor of International Trade at the University of Adelaide. He was Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (1999-2002) and a senior official of the Office of the United States Trade Representative. He holds an MBA in International Business from George Washington University and a BSFS in International Economic Affairs from Georgetown University.

Andrew Stoler will also be speakingat a Symposium "WTO - Litigation: Issues and reforms" on Friday August 14, 2009. For more information click here.

Time: 5.30pm Registration, 6.00-7.30pm Seminar

Location: Sydney Law School, New Law Building, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Cost: Free - registration essential

Contact: Event Coordinator

Phone: 9351 0238

Email: 35363a5c01450c26303f06230138366631105a6d3833