Breakfast: The collapse of the global trade regime and what it might mean

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Date Thursday, April 20, 2017
Time 8:15 - 10:00
Speaker(s) Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy, IMD

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The WTO was established in 1995 at a time of general jubilation regarding the apparent dawn of a great new global liberal order. Francis Fukuyama published his book The End of History proclaiming that the liberal cause with the collapse of the Soviet Union and of Marxism had now won its decisive and final victory. Tom Friedman waxed lyrically that The World is Flat. And so on. In all this the WTO was central and represented what was hailed as the first institution of 21st century globalisation.

Yet, where are we now? Did anyone say “Trump”? In reality, the WTO has been moribund for the last nine years. It is still in existence and its staff get paid, but on the negotiation front it is effectively dead. So, as much as Trump may appear an unexpected aberration, on the trade front there is arguably more of a trend line in fact bringing about the decline of the liberal order with the WTO as its representative liberal institution. Globalisation in the 21st century was in fact not so much bringing about a “new world order” (in the words of President Bush, Senior), but what someone called “a chaotic transition to uncertainty”.

Jean-Pierre Lehmann, who founded the Evian Group in 1995 warning that globalisation could not function on auto-pilot, has been following the evolution closely and has listened attentively to perspectives not only from Geneva, but pretty much from around the planet, especially China. His aim at the meeting on 20 April will be to try to unravel the complex forces that have dramatically transformed the global trade environment. He will try not to answer the question, “so what happens now”, because that is impossible, but to lay out possible outcomes. He will argue that the path we are on now is to trade war and a possible protectionist tsunami; but no trend is irreversible, thus he will conclude on what are some of the actions to be taken by the business community and indeed IMD.

Fees IMD Alumni: HKD 250.00
Venue Dot Cod Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar
B4, Basement, Prince's Building
10 Chater Road
Dress Code Business Casual
Registration Deadline Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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