18 Feb 2015

A MILE weekly course participant reports on his experience

Retired US lawyer Patrick Mears, who lives in Germany and is teaching a world trade law class, recently visited the WTI and attended a MILE programme weekly course. The following report was published on the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) Forum, and is reprinted with Patrick Mears' agreement.

The highlight of my visit was sitting in on a class on the topic of negotiating world trade agreements. The weeklong class was taught by Dr. Edwini Kessie, originally from Ghana who now resides in Port Vila, Vanuatu. He is the Chief Trade Adviser for the Forum Island Countries and is presently engaged in negotiating a regional trade agreement on behalf of those countries with New Zealand and Australia. The issue that the class of perhaps 35 students was to negotiate was tariff levels on various classes of traded goods among four mythical countries: two developed countries, one developing country and one least developed country. The main sticking point during this session arose from the LDC delegation's desire to obtain from the developed countries cash assistance in return for tariff concessions.

The students, who were from 15 countries including Chile, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, India and a number of smaller nations, were divided into four groups representing each "country". The groups would negotiate privately for a while and then continue the negotiations openly. Dr. Kessie would then comment on their strategies, etc. and then another round would begin. I thought that the exercise was extremely well done and Dr. Kessie was an excellent source of information, tips and the like for his students (and myself).

All in all, this was a helpful experience for me in preparing for my world trade law class.

Patrick Mears