Rethinking World Trade 2023

CITD held its first annual signature conference, Rethinking World Trade 2023, on Thursday April 13 on the margins of the World Bank/IMF spring meetings. The conference brought together the academic community, trade practitioners, and policymakers to reimagine our trading system in the midst of the paradigm shift occurring in the trade realm and the increasing focus on inclusive and sustainable trade.

Rethinking World Trade 2023 conference featured four panels on the following themes: 1) what is working and not working with the global trading system; 2) what is inclusive trade and development, and how should it shape the global trading system of the future; 3) how could initiatives on gender and trade deliver real results; and 4) what are the building blocks of an inclusive digital trade agenda.

Rethinking World Trade 2023 Program and Speaker Bios

Rethinking World Trade Panel I: Rethinking the Global Trading System

April 13, 2023 By Sae Kobayashi

Kicking off the conference was the panel entitled “Rethinking the Global Trading System,” moderated by CITD’s Co-Director, Professor Jennifer Hillman. With formidable challenges including climate change, the aftermath of a global pandemic, heightened geopolitical tensions, and deep-rooted inequalities in the foreground, the panel explored the trading system’s legacy and future. Panelists were especially encouraged to discuss whether the global trading system had lived up to expectations and how the world might move toward a trade regime that responds to the challenges of the 21st century. The panel approached these questions from varying perspectives, including by addressing who had benefited and who had not from the current trade regime, what was wrong with the system, and what trade policies should be pursued moving forward.

Rethinking World Trade Panel II: Inclusive Trade and Development

April 13, 2023

The second panel of the conference, moderated by CITD’s Co-Director, Professor Katrin Kuhlmann, focused on the concept of “Inclusive Trade and Development.” Its purpose was to encourage dialogue about the connection between inclusive (and sustainable) trade and development, to discuss approaches to integrating these issues within trade policy, and, more broadly, to explore the meaning of the terms “inclusive and sustainable trade and development,” which, as Professor Kuhlmann highlighted in her remarks, are appearing in trade discussions around the world.

Rethinking World Trade Panel III: Gender and Trade

April 13, 2023 By Emilie Kerstens

The third panel of the conference was themed around “Gender and Trade” and moderated by CITD’s Co-Director, Professor Katrin Kuhlmann. There is an increasing focus on addressing the barriers and systemic inequalities that prevent women from fully participating and benefiting from international trade. This trend lines up with the shift away from the idea that trade is “gender neutral” towards a recognition of the uneven distributional impacts of trade between men and women. Women face significant barriers to participating in international trade, including discrimination, lack of access to land, finance and other resources, and limited opportunities to build the necessary knowledge or skills through training. They are also disproportionately affected by the negative effects of trade liberalization and lack representation in international trade policy bodies.

Rethinking World Trade Panel IV: Digital Trade: An Inclusion Opportunity or a Perpetuator of Systemic Inequalities?

April 13, 2023 By Esther Tetruashvily

The fourth and final panel of Rethinking World Trade, co-hosted by the Georgetown Institute for Technology, Law and Policy’s Global TechNet Working Group and the Georgetown Center on Inclusive Trade and Development, focused on the topic of “Inclusive Digital Development” and was moderated by Global TechNet Working Group's Director, Professor Anupam Chander.