Global Agenda Council on Global Trade & FDI 2012-2014


The challenge

Global Trade is an important driver of economic growth. In the past 30 years, world merchandise and commercial services trade have increased by about 7% per year on average, reaching a peak of US$ 18 trillion and US$ 4 trillion respectively in 2011.  The changing nature of world trade, however, poses challenges to global trade governance: the rapid shift from the developed to developing economies in the past decade, the rise of global value chains, and increased foreign direct investment (FDI) flows– to name but a few – have made global trade governance more complex. The speed of these changes also means that new realities are not reflected in a timely manner. Against this backdrop, the aim of the Global Agenda Council on Trade & FDI is to inform the policy debate on critical issue areas on the global trade agenda.

What the Council is doing about it

Past work by the Global Agenda Council on Trade & FDI includes examining plurilateral agreements as a complement to the single consensus rule in the World Trade Organization (WTO); an analysis of how regional trade agreements (RTAs) can dovetail with WTO disciplines and “multilateralized”; and a review of global value chains and how they affect or should affect trade policies in countries as well as in RTAs and in the WTO.
In 2012-2013, the Council worked on identifing ways of enhancing prosperity by encouraging more FDI inflows to both developed and developing countries. In view of the different barriers and distortions that prevent the realization of the full benefits of FDI and the fragmented international governance structures, the Council makes a strong case for a multilateral agreement on investment. The Council is convinced the convergence of political, economic and technological trends has created the right circumstances to pursue a multilateral agreement on investment. All of the above resulted in reports which were made widely available to the trade community and launched at WTO events.
In 2013-2014, the Council addressed the role of mega-regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The report entitled: “Mega-regional trade agreements will be a true game-changer for the global trading system.”  was launched in July 2014. It presents a holistic discussion on mega-regionals, including their potential impact on global trade and investment flows (in case of both success and failure); the reaction of rising powers to mega-regionals; the impact on BRICS and non-BRICS economies; the role of the business community; and how to facilitate the relationship between mega-regionals and the multilateral trading system.

To get involved please contact

Research Analyst: Daniel Akinmade Emejulu, Associate, Global Agenda Councils, 
Council Manager: Caroline Galvan, Economist, Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network,
Forum Lead: Margareta Drzeniek, Director, Lead Economist, Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network,