IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Room C4.6, Convention Centre, Level 4

Session information

Breaking down or building up walls: the future of international trade

Tuesday 10 October (0930 - 1045)

Room C4.6, Convention Centre, Level 4


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


Trade continues to be one of the dominant issues in both national politics and international policy. Multiple constituencies are affected by trade – farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, service providers, workers and consumers – and trade is central to a nation’s economic policy, foreign policy and national security. While trade has always been subject to political pressure given the vast array of stakeholders (both governmental and non-governmental), there has been a steadfast expansion of regional and multilateral trade agreements since the end of the Second World War resulting in a fairly well-ordered global trading system. The benefits of trade agreements are, however, increasingly being called into question amid increasing economic dislocations, rising nationalism and populism, and new concerns over immigration. The recent US election and the Brexit referendum are just two instances in which national debates and decisions about trade policy reach beyond national boundaries. This session will look at the influence political change exerts on trade policy at the national level and its implications for regional trade initiatives and the global economy. Key issues include: • the implications of the withdrawal of key players from trade agreements (eg, Brexit); • the EU’s trade policy post the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA); • the influence of an eventual Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – or the absence of a TPP – on the future design and content of global and regional trade agreements; • China’s role within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the market economy status; • multilateral negotiations (eg, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)) and plurilateral negotiations (such as those dealing with environmental goods and information technology products); • the global rise in localisation expressed through regulatory protectionism, regulatory barriers, and local sourcing and local content requirements; • the future of WTO dispute settlement, including the systemic implications where the most difficult issues are increasingly sought to be resolved through litigation because of the perceived inefficacy of the WTO as a forum for multilateral negotiations; and • concerns and needs surrounding trade in green products and trade policies that seek to support renewable energy initiatives. The panel will explore the way trade issues shape both domestic and foreign policy, and discuss the contradictions and implications of increasing nationalisation in an increasingly globalised world.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Hansel Pham White & Case LLP, Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Co-Chair, North American Regional Forum
Preetha Pillai Conyers Dill & Pearman, Singapore, Singapore
Preetha Sreedharan Pillai SKRINE, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Gary Faye Locke Locke Global Strategies LLC and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Seattle, Washington, USA
Hamish McCormick Australian Permanent Mission to the WTO, Geneva, Switzerland
Hon Andrew John Robb The Robb Group, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia