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Warwick Commission to study consequences of Doha Development Round during Toronto meetings


In its first overseas meeting, the Warwick Commission on ‘The Multilateral Trading System after Doha’ meets in Toronto on 15/16 June 2007. An initiative of the University of Warwick, one of the UK’s leading universities, the Commission is Chaired by the Hon. Pierre Pettigrew and is made up of 17 other leading experts on world trade. With future meetings and evidence gathering planned for Warwick, England, (September) and New Delhi, India, (October), the Warwick Commission will present its report on the future of the world trade system in Geneva, in December 2007.

As the World Trade Organization (WTO) struggles to conclude the current Doha Development Agenda talks, the Commission has embarked on a year-long search for ways of improving the governance arrangements for the world’s trade system. The Commission’s work comes against a background of increasing concerns about the viability of the WTO and fears of a drift towards greater protectionism.

During its two-day session, the Commission will consider the results of its survey of 250 experts on the future of trade liberalisation. Covering issues such as the role of the WTO, challenges to the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Mechanism, equity in the trade system and the impact of preferential trade agreements, the survey will inform the Commission’s thinking.

Canadians and Torontonians will also have a chance to influence the Commission’s findings as they are asked about what the trade system means to them and how it can be improved.

The Warwick Commission is Chaired by the Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew, Executive Advisor, International, Deloitte & Touche LLP. M. Pettigrew is an experienced trade specialist and diplomat and is a former Canadian Minister for International Trade and Minister for Foreign Affairs. He was also Chair of the WTO Working Group on Singapore Issues 2003-4.

Pierre Pettigrew said “I am confident that the mix between new-generation academics and experienced trade practitioners on the Commission will result in a creative, forward-looking and pragmatic report in December.”

Professor Richard Higgott, a specialist on trade governance issues from the University of Warwick, is the Commission’s Director. He said “Over the coming months the Warwick Commission will be taking a hard look at core issues such as the role of the WTO and equity in the trade system. We aim to have a positive impact on the future of the world trade system after Doha.”

Uniquely, the Warwick Commission brings together scholars and practitioners in a forum which will consider the wider systemic and conceptual issues alongside the immediate policy process. The Commission will bring together the theoretical skills of scholars and the practical insights of policymakers to achieve a better understanding of how to take forward the multilateral trading system.

The Commission’s aim is to reach conclusions which are not just immediately policy focussed, but are also embedded in the wider, longer term context of our understanding of the contemporary global and regional economic and political orders.With the current impasse in the Doha Round negotiations, there is a vacuum to be filled by new ideas and forward-looking measures. The Commission intends to make an early contribution to the inevitable debate about the future of the world trade system.

The Warwick Commission will hold further sessions at the University of Warwick, England, in September and in New Delhi, India, in October before presenting its report in Geneva, Switzerland, in December.


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