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Breakfast briefing: WTO Basics, with Professor James Harrison

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Breakfast briefing: WTO Basics, with Professor James Harrison


Understanding the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is crucial to understanding the global trade system: it is the foundation stone for global trade rules - all other trade agreements between the 164 members must build on and go beyond the rules that it sets out. Brexit also means that the UK is likely to become a member of the WTO in its own right and so potentially have its own seat at the table. The WTO has been controversial since its inception: its creation vastly expanded the scope of trade rules, to cover things that had not previously been considered 'tradeable' such as services, intellectual property and policies or practices that it classifies as 'behind the border trade restrictions'. WTO negotiations also promised a level playing field for developing countries but, 25 years later, this promise still hasn't been properly delivered. So if you're wondering what 'falling out on WTO rules' actually means, can't tell your TRIPs from your TRIMS... Join us to get the basics. Professor James Harrison will give an outline of the basic agreements and explain the most problematic aspects of the WTO. We will then have the opportunity to look in more detail at a couple of case studies that highlight the ways in which WTO rules put trade as an end before other public policy goals. We hope to also have interventions from TJM member organisations on the recent Gender Declaration and the proposed 'e-commerce' agreement.The seminar will consist of a presentation, time for questions and some group discussion. If you have particular questions that you would like to cover, please let me know and we can try to make sure they are included.



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