IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Room C4.7, Convention Centre, Level 4

Session information

The future of trade agreements: have they been 'Trumped'?
Room C4.7, Convention Centre, Level 4


International Commerce and Distribution Committee (Lead)
Asia Pacific Regional Forum
International Trade and Customs Law Committee
North American Regional Forum


This comprehensive session on free trade agreements in the era of Trump and Brexit will be guided by an opening presentation Professor Jennifer Hillman of the Georgetown Law Center to set the stage for audience roundtable discussions on the future of multilateralism in a bilateral free trade agreement era, followed by roundtable remarks and a closing summation on those remarks by professor Hillman. President Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the former 12-nation trade agreement encompassing 36% of the GDP of the world. That withdrawal followed on the heels of an inaugural pledge to protect US borders from “the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs”, and came less than six months after British citizens voted to withdraw from the European Union. This session will explore the implications of these actions and the rise of economic nationalism for the rule of law and our multilateral trading system, including in particular the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TPP, and bilateral investment treaties. The session will focus on whether and how multilateralism can or should be saved and what needs to be done to protect the legitimacy and the relevance of our international economic institutions, particularly the WTO. It will examine the causes and possible solutions to the backlash against globalisation. The rise of bilateral and regional agreements and the role they play in our trade and investment policies will be examined. The opening presentation will set the stage for six audience roundtable discussions of the challenges to, and developments in: 1) the TPP, 2) Brexit, 3) NAFTA, 4) Mercosur and Latin America, 5) Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and 6) the WTO.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Dalton Albrecht EY Law, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Chair, Alternative and New Law Business Structures Committee
Horacio Lopez-Portillo Lopez Portillo Consultores, Mexico City, Mexico; Conference Quality Officer, International Commerce and Distribution Committee


Caroline Berube HJM Asia Law & Co, Guangzhou, China; Co-Chair, Asia Pacific Regional Forum
Riccardo Cajola Cajola & Associati, Milan, Italy; Vice Treasurer, International Commerce and Distribution Committee
Silvia Fazio Norton Rose Fulbright, São Paulo, Brazil
Professor Jennifer Hillman Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Paul Michel Lalonde Dentons, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Russell Miller AM Co-opted Member, BIC International Trade in Legal Services Committee