Implemented jointly by ICTSD and World Economic Forum, the E15Initiative (E15) convenes world-class experts and institutions to generate strategic analysis and recommendations for government, business, and civil society geared towards strengthening the global trade and investment system for sustainable development.
The E15Initiative Expert Group on Reinvigorating Manufacturing: New Industrial Policy and the Trade System met for the first time in Beijing, China on Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31 to discuss the role of industrial policy in a changing global trade system. Attention to industrial policy in both the industrialised and developing world is experiencing a renaissance in the twenty-first century. In order to foster competitiveness in a globalised market, governments today are likely to place a greater emphasis on promoting private sector investments in innovation and non-traditional economic activities. These new investments primarily focus on building domestic technological capacities and often involve public-private partnerships and innovative sustainable industrial policies. The aim is to have a holistic and long term impact on employment, poverty, and the environment.
Despite these many new features and initiatives, little attention has been paid to the link between new industrial policy and the WTO in the twenty-first century. Although the WTO already has many rules relating to industrial policies, such as GATT Article XVIII, agreements on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, TRIMS, TRIPS, GATS and several provisions relating to special and differential treatment, a review of these agreements in relation to “new” industrial policies across the entire spectrum of economic activities in manufacturing, agriculture, and services has not been considered in depth.
This expert group will analyse the motivation and instruments used at the domestic level as well as those resulting from the web of regional trade and international investment agreements. It will also review the effectiveness of the new industrial policies in order to glean key lessons from available experience and evidence on appropriate policy initiatives that enhance achievement of the objectives emphasised by new industrial policies, understand how these policies overlap with the existing WTO rules and disciplines, and discuss how the global trading system could and should respond to the renewed interest in such policies.
Attendance at this event was by invitation only.