The Diplomatic Prospects for the Rules-Based Trade and Investment Order

This video was recorded on Monday, November 6, 2018.

The rules-based trading system established in the post-1945 period has been an important factor in maintaining a stable, open trading system, which in turn has contributed to economic growth.

This system faces a number of major challenges. These include how to accommodate emerging powers such as China and how to define the rules governing global markets. But the World Trade Organization (WTO) which is intended to fulfill these functions is in danger of being undermined by unilateral action on the part of the US Administration that appears to have given up in the face of the difficulty making any progress in the WTO and is reverting to power-based, national solutions. In these circumstances can an analysis of economic/trade diplomacy help us understand what is happening and find ways of coping with the challenges?

Stephen Woolcock is currently an Associate Professor in international relations at the London School of Economics where he teaches international political economy, the political economy of international trade and economic diplomacy. He is head of the LSE’s International Trade Policy Unit.

Before joining the LSE he was Deputy Director for International Affairs with the Confederation of British Industry where he worked on trade issues in the Uruguay Round. As Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) he worked on transatlantic trade relations as well as European trade policy.

Next to his academic work he has provided policy briefings and reports for various public bodies, such as the European Parliament, European Commission, The Commonwealth Secretariat and various national governments. His main area of expertise is in preferential trade and investment agreements, the international and domestic factors shaping trade negotiations and European trade and investment policy in particular.

He is currently on sabbatical from the LSE and is conducting research that assesses the degree to which the major actors in trade policy share a common understanding of what is meant by rules-based trading today.

His recent books include: The New Economic Diplomacy: Decision-Making and Negotiation in International Economic Relations, European Union Economic Diplomacy, and The Ashgate Research Companion to International Trade Policy.

For further information on this public lecture, please see here.

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