27 Feb 2017

WTI partners at WTO@20 Conference in Delhi

The final in a series of WTO@20 conferences taking stock of two decades of jurisprudential and key policy developments in the multilateral trading system and organised by the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization took place in Delhi, India, from 16 to 18 February.

The WTI was associated to the event as a Knowledge Partner, and three of its representatives – Thomas Cottier, Peter Van den Bossche and Pierre Sauvé – played a central role in a number of the conference’s panel and roundtable discussions.

The conference opened with a keynote address by Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser of the Government of India, on the current state and prospects of the multilateral trade regime and India’s role and interests in trade governance. This was followed by a roundtable discussion on the new global politics of trade and the future of multilateralism.

The discussion was moderated by Mr Ujal Singh Bhatia, Member of the Appellate Body of the WTO and featured Prof. Thomas Cottier whose intervention stressed how the currently challenging global political landscape could be seen as an opportunity for the multilateral trading system and the WTO. All roundtable panellists underlined the importance of the multilateral trading system, especially for middle-income countries such as India and export- oriented economies.

On Friday, 17 February, Prof. Cottier moderated a panel on the role of the WTO in international intellectual property governance and Pierre Sauvé served as discussant at the conference panel devoted to trade in services. Prof. Peter Van den Bossche moderated a panel on 18 February addressing non-trade concerns at the WTO.

The conference was held on the premises of the National Law University in Delhi. Up to 200 participants drawn from governmental, academic and legal practice circles took part in the event, including staff from the Centre for WTO Studies at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), with whom the WTI will soon be running the fourth Joint Academy on International Trade Law and Policy. The IIFT served as the conference’s other Knowledge Partner. 

Several WTI alumni based in India participated in the conference and took part in an informal gathering organised after it. The conference once more illustrated the vibrancy of the Institute’s network in India and the exciting scope that exists to deepen ties with a major player in global economic governance.

Corinne Karlaganis and Pierre Sauvé