The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) most recent Ministerial Conference took place last December in Nairobi, Kenya. Opinions vary on how much was achieved, and, perhaps more importantly, where the WTO goes from here. The United States and the European Union have emphasized that “new” issues and approaches should guide WTO negotiations in the future. But it is not clear what that means, and how it relates to the “old” issues and approaches. And with the rise of mega-regional trade negotiations, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), there are serious questions about the WTO’s role as a negotiating forum for trade liberalization.

This paper reviews the current WTO negotiating agenda and the Nairobi outcomes, discusses possibilities for new directions, and makes suggestions for the WTO going forward.

To read the full report, please click here.


What Prompted the Global Trade Slowdown?Image result for csis

Center for Strategic International Studies – September 15, 2015

The global economy has slowly recovered from the financial crisis of 2008–2009. Since the crisis, however, economic prospects have been adversely affected by disappointing performance in global trade. The world economy experienced an extended period of rapid trade growth referred to as “globalization,” beginning in the 1980s and continuing up until the 2008 crisis.

Trade consistently grew almost twice as fast as output over this 25-year period due to major shifts in technology and government policies. Post-crisis, however, with the exception of a 13 percent “rebound” in 2010, trade growth slowed from an average of 7 percent per year to an average 3.4 percent between 2012 and 2014.

This report reviews some of the factors that accelerated trade during the years before the crisis, considers various explanations for the post-crisis slowdown, and examines the role of government policies in reducing the headwinds now affecting global economic growth.

To read the full report, please click here.