Trade Symposium Photo
Aluísio de Lima Campos delivers opening remarks at the XIII Annual Symposium on International Trade.

AUWCL Hosts XIII Annual Symposium on International Trade

On October 17, 2017 American University Washington College of Law hosted the XIII Annual Symposium on International Trade co-sponsored by the Brazilian International Trade Scholars Inc. – ABCI Institute. The Symposium gathered ambassadors and government officials from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and the European Union, trade scholars, law practitioners, and economic analysts to address a series of questions raised by the United States Administration’s new mindset with respect to trade policy.

The Symposium began with a panel of ambassadors and experts from Latin America and the EU, moderated by AUWCL Professor Ala’i, an expert on trade law, discussing the preoccupation and uncertainty generated by the US exit from TPP. The speakers agreed Latin America is not retreating from the rule-based world trade system.  A new wave of deeper economic integration in the continent is surfacing, which is considered strategic to better position Latin America in global value chains. Moreover, the recognition that Asian countries are leading globalization will stimulate the dialogue among TPP-11 partners, potentially opening to others as well.

A panel of economic analysts from leading think tanks in DC also sees the NAFTA renegotiation as an opportunity to modernize the Agreement, and to evaluate what can or can’t be achieved between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Such evaluation will constitute the benchmark for expectations of the US in the years to come.

These economists, as well as other law practitioners serving on the panel on trade defense measures at the Symposium, were uncertain as to whether the US’s resort to bilateral agreements and the "new old" trade barriers is the answer to President’s Trump campaign promise of “fairer trade.”  Some cautioned the US Administration against giving the impression that it does not support the WTO, and against focusing on bilateral agreements as a means to reduce US trade deficits.

Keynote speaker, Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director of the World Bank Group Global Practice on Trade and Competitiveness, stressed the importance of continuing to build on the progress achieved so far by the World Bank to make trade work for everybody.  Moving forward, she believes the focus should be greater inclusion, countries’ strengthened competitiveness, and more cooperation. However, trade alone cannot solve it all, and it is necessary to understand better the linkages between trade and monetary and financial policies to integrate them further.

The Symposium concluded with a mixed panel of practitioners, thought leaders, and academics on the growth and importance of digital trade in today’s modern economy and how to shape new rules in the WTO and multilateral agreements to ensure that the benefits of new technologies can reach those at the very bottom.

A link to recordings from the Symposium will be available here:

Read about the Symposium in the media here: