Just a sideshow? Debating the prospects of the December WTO Ministerial meeting

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The WTO is due to hold a Ministerial meeting in December 2015, yet countries are struggling to make any progress in negotiations. Meanwhile the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are continuing apace. Dr Emily Jones debated the prospects for December’s WTO Ministerial alongside Mexico’s Ambassador de Mateo, current Chair of the WTO General Council, and Colombia’s Ambassador Duque, during the WTO’s Advanced Trade Policy Training Course on 26 June 2015.

Dr Jones argued for increasing the transparency of negotiations outside of the WTO, as mega-regionals like TPP and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aim to set precedents for future global trade rules. These agreements are primarily about regulatory convergence and, although they stand to shape the future of the trading system, talks are shrouded in secrecy and exclude the vast majority of developing countries. She urged these countries to find creative ways to shape the negotiations, including by finding allies inside the negotiating room and using the media to shape the debate.