Press release

UK, Germany, Indonesia and Turkey launch high-level trade experts group

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, Indonesia and Turkey will co-sponsor a group of eminent trade experts to provide analysis and recommendations in support of trade liberalisation and revitalisation.

The high-level group will be co-chaired by Professor Jagdish Bhagwati and Peter Sutherland, both leading figures in the world of trade. The group will include experts from advanced, emerging and developing economies, including the co-sponsor countries of Germany, UK, Indonesia and Turkey. It will report in early 2011, with specific recommendations for boosting global trade in the short and medium-term through tackling tariff, regulatory, administrative and physical barriers to trade.

Announcing the launch of the group, Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor Angela Merkel said:

Trade is the engine of global growth. That is why we have put boosting trade and tackling trade barriers high on our governments’ agendas and want to see a strong political commitment to liberalizing trade at the Seoul G20 summit. The work of this eminent group of experts, including Jagdish Bhagwati and Peter Sutherland, will provide an important contribution to increasing trade and driving the global economic recovery.

Notes to Editors

Experts’ Group Terms of Reference

To assess the current environment for trade and to recommend the priority political and regulatory steps needed to increase global trade flows in the short and medium term, in particular:

  • to present an analysis of the global welfare potential at stake in the various options for the conclusion of the Doha Round, in support of the WTO negotiations as they approach their final stage; and
  • to define a longer term approach to trade liberalisation and regional integration in support of the multilateral trading system, including steps to tackle regulatory, administrative and physical barriers to trade.

Biographies of the co-chairs

Peter Sutherland KCMG was Director General of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) from 1993 to 1995. He served as Director General of the WTO on its inception.

He is credited as having been an essential contributor to the conclusion of the Uruguay trade round and the creation of the WTO itself. Later he was Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Director General of the WTO that produced the Sutherland Report on the Future of the WTO. Earlier in his career he was European Commissioner for Competition (1985-89) and later completed the Sutherland Report on the functioning of the Internal Market. This was presented to the European Council during the United Kingdom presidency in 1992. He is Chairman of the London School of Economics and Political Science and holds various nonexecutive board positions. He was Attorney General of Ireland before his appointment as a European Commissioner. He received an Honorary Knighthood from Her Majesty the Queen for his services to international trade in 2004.

Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor, Economics and Law, at Columbia University and Senior Fellow in international Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has uniquely combined seminal scientific contributions to the postwar theory of commercial policy, strengthening greatly the case for Free Trade, with several bestselling books and op ed essays in leading newspapers and magazines on current policy issues. He has been Economic Policy Adviser to the Director General, GATT (1991-93), Special Adviser to the UN on Globalization, and member of the Advisory Committee to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the NEPAD Process in Africa. He was member of the WTO-appointed Expert Group on the Future of the WTO, and of the Eminent Persons Group appointed by the Director General of UNCTAD on the future of UNCTAD. He is widely regarded as the intellectual father of the post-1991 reforms that have transformed India.