Monday, March 31, 2008

Symposium: The Changing Tide of Trade

The Saint Louis University Public Law Review and the Saint Louis University School of Law Center for International and Comparative Law will host a symposium this Friday, April 4, 2008, on "The Changing Tide of Trade." The program is here. Why attend?

Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) have become a very important part of the world trade system in recent years. As World Trade Organization (WTO) membership has grown to over 150 countries, the interests of the WTO Members have diverged on numerous issues and negotiations have become more cumbersome. Many nations have turned to negotiating RTAs, which focus on the interests of countries in a particular region or group of regions, and not on global interests. RTAs allow for more efficient trade negotiations and permit countries greater freedom to choose their trading partners, trade deals and conditions of trade. By 2010, the WTO estimates that nearly 400 RTAs will be in effect.

This symposium will bring together a group of leading legal scholars to examine the social, political, and environmental issues that arise as a result of the proliferation of RTAs. Some of the key questions to be addressed are: What are the impacts of RTAs on developed versus developing countries? What do governments gain or lose from pursuing such agreements? Will RTAs play a role in shaping the rights of women, children, minorities and the poor? And finally, how will they affect labor and environmental laws, regulations and standards?