Agree to Disagree: The Future of International Trade Agreements

Aug 31, 2006Sep 01, 2006
<p>B-339 Rayburn House Office Building</p> <p>Lunch Provided: Interns Not invited</p>


Dr. Douglas Irwin
Professor of Economics
Dartmouth College

Click Here to view Dr. Irwin's powerpoint presentation.

Click Here to view Dr. Irwin's powerpoint presentation.

In the wake of the failed Doha Round meetings, the world looks for new ways to open markets and promote international trade. As the US finalizes an Oman trade agreement and debates additional agreements with Peru and Vietnam, Congress continues along the path of bilateral trade agreements rather than the often complication and cumbersome multilateral trade deal.

A shift in the US focus to more bilateral agreements represents a larger, global movement, challenging the oversight role of international trade organizations. The move from multilateral treaties to bilateral agreements places an emphasis on harvesting individual partnerships rather than large table negotiations, and thus confuses the role of large trade institutions, such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and others.   What does this shift mean to the liberalization of trade around the world?  How does it affect the U.S. economy?

To address these questions, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a two-day course featuring Dr. Douglas Irwin, professor of economics and the Robert E. Maxwell Professor of Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth College. Dr. Irwin will address current international trade issues facing Congress including:

  • What role do international institutions play in promoting open trade in developing nations? Are they effective? How can they be improved?
  • How does the shift towards bilateral trade agreements affect global trade? How do bilateral, regional, and multilateral agreements compare and contrast?
  • What do the current trends in international trade mean for international institutions, such as the WTO, IMF, and World Bank? How can these institutions remain relevant in the face of globalization? Should they?