unctad.org | Policy Dialogue: Redefining the Role of the Government in Tomorrow’s International Trade (UNCTAD XIII Pre-Event)
Policy Dialogue: Redefining the Role of the Government in Tomorrow’s International Trade (UNCTAD XIII Pre-Event)
26 - 28 mars 2012
Salle XXIV, Palais des Nations


This three-day event brings together trade policymakers, the business representatives, civil society, leading scholars and opinion leaders to clarify the role of the government in achieving inclusive development through trade in face of the "new realities" in international trade.
Trade policy in the past evolved around the improvement of market access opportunities. Tariff barriers have been successively lowered and trade-distorting subsidies curtailed. International trade today is much more liberalized and globalized than three decades ago.

Now trade policymakers face a paradox. Globalized trade blurs the scope of today´s trade policy. On the one hand, successive trade liberalization has reduced the number of available trade-policy instruments. On the other hand, the focus of trade liberalization is shifted to reduction of non-tariff measures that involve regulatory frameworks in areas beyond the capacity of trade policymakers, such as food safety, the environment, competition policy, and labor policy. Further, globalized trade has so far failed to reduce income inequality within and between countries. We see the contrary.


This paradox is exacerbated by the shaky landscape of today´s international economy. The fiscal crisis in Europe, stern economic conditions in developed countries and exchange rate instability and misalignment intensify uncertainty over the future international trade flows. Ambiguity looms over the future of the multilateral trade regime, while the spaghetti bowl of RTAs gets bigger and its contents thicker.

The new realities call for redefining the scope of the government´s trade policy and trade policymaking processes.
Structure of Policy Dialogue


The key issues for discussion are divided into four sessions:
  • Session 1: Trade policy for inclusive growth in the twenty-first century economy
  • Session 2: The government and the business sector in trade policymaking
  • Session 3: An inclusive process for trade policymaking
  • Session 4: Twenty-first century trade agenda

Each session consists of panel discussions followed by interactive debate among all participants. The fifth session concludes the debate.
Expected outcome / Deliverables

The Chair´s summary of the policy dialogue will be presented to the Ministers at the UNCTAD XIII in Doha, Qatar (April 2012), particularly with regards to Roundtable 3.



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