10 Jul 2014

The WTI hosts SIEL global conference

The biennial conference of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) is underway at the University of Bern, bringing together scholars and practitioners in the field.

The theme in 2014 is “Regulatory Challenges in International Economic Law: Convergence or Divergence?” and the aim is to create a platform for dialogue on topics related to international economic law, such as trade, investments, finance, intellectual property, competition, and the law in relation to sustainable development and climate change.

The conference, hosted by the World Trade Institute, opened on the evening of 10 July with some words from the SIEL Executive Committee, as well as a  video message from WTO Director General, Roberto Azevedo. In his opening remarks, WTI Managing Director Thomas Cottier noted that international economic law was a new and neglected area but that the Society played an important role in enhancing its profile.

The broad-ranging themes of the conference take into account diverging interests, said Professor Cottier, but all are affected by regulatory challenges. The conference should contribute to the evolution of a common understanding.

The Robert Hudec memorial lecture which followed was given by Michael Trebilcock, Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Toronto and entitled “Between Theories of Trade and Development: The Future of the World Trading System”.

Trade and development interface

In his lecture, Professor Trebilcock looked at the role of developing countries in the world trading regime in the post-war period, the paralysis of the Doha Multilateral Round and proliferation of preferential trade agreements, and presented possible ways to provide a future interface between trade and development objectives.

A number of concurrent panel presentations will take place on the two full days of the conference with keynote addresses being given by David Unterhalter, Professor of Law at the University of Witwatersrand and member of the WTO Appellate Body and Eva Hüpkes, Advisor on Regulatory Policy and Cooperation, Financial Stability Board and Co-Chair, Basel Committee Working Group on Cross-Border Bank Resolution.

Over 250 people from around the world are attending the fourth SIEL biennial conference.

Launched in 2008, SIEL’s mandate is to foster coordination, collaboration and debate between IEL scholars and practitioners and national or regional IEL organisations around the world.