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The Future of Trade: The Challenges of Convergence

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In April 2012, the Director-General of the WTO, Pascal Lamy, invited a diverse group of prominent non-state stakeholders to analyse challenges to global trade opening in the 21st century. The Panel held a series of closed meetings and also consulted extensively with interested parties. Chapter 1 of the Panel’s report discusses the contribution that trade opening has made to growth, development and prosperity. It also discusses the challenges of managing jobless growth, high unemployment, poverty, inequality, the environment and sustainable development, and the role of trade as well as investment in this context. Chapter 2 examines certain transformational factors that have shaped trade in recent years and will continue to do so in the future. These include increasing globalization, geographical shifts in patterns of growth, trade and investment, technological advances, the rise of international value chains, the proliferation of preferential trade agreements, and the growing influence of non-tariff measures. Chapter 3 contains a number of recommendations for possible action. They are not prioritized in terms of their degree of importance by the Panel. They are organized around an exploration of the principles and processes driving trade relations, along with a series of specific issues that have either been raised in other contexts, including the Doha Round, or which the Panel believes warrant consideration. The Panel does not offer specific recommendations to deal with the Doha Round, other than noting that the issues in the Doha agenda will not disappear and that not fulfilling this collective undertaking could put at stake the multilateral trading system itself.
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Keywords: 
Society (Growth and Development)
Country of publication: 
United Nations
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Publication date: 
Wednesday, April 24, 2013