Past Program

Sep 29 - Oct 04, 2009

Confronting Protectionism: How Business and Governments Can Build Support for Open Markets


With rising inequalities within and between countries in income and wealth, unfolding financial crisis, surging fuel and food prices and widespread fears of global recession, citizens of both developed and developing economies grow more skeptical about the benefits of free trade and globalization. After the collapse of another set of talks aimed at concluding the Doha Round in July 2008 there is a growing danger of protectionist backlash. Governments are under increasing pressure to cushion the blows from competition and to look for effective and benign ways of compensating potential losers. The new administration in Washington will be bound to conduct a review of U.S. trade policy, which could lead to years of delay before there are further meaningful trade talks. Meanwhile the concessions on offer from the EU and leading emerging economies such as India and Brazil will also be subject to vigorous internal discussion.


This policy-oriented session will bring together a high-level group of representatives from national governments, the business sector, economic and policy-oriented organizations, advocacy groups, and scholars from the United States, Europe, and major emerging economies (notably China, India, Brazil, South Africa) with the aim of focusing on policies needed in different countries to overcome the perceived or real losses that free trade and globalization seemingly inflict on certain sectors of their populations and to reduce public hostility to trade concessions.