The Changing International Trading System: Value Chains, Digital Trade, and WTO Reform


April 11, 2019, 8:45 AM to 1:30 PM EDT
PIIE Webcast, Washington, DC

Keynote Speaker: Roberto Azevedo (World Trade Organization)
Panelists: Susan Lund (McKinsey Global Institute), Mary E. Lovely (PIIE), Doug Murtha (Toyota Motor Sales), Daria Taglioni (World Bank Group), Claudia Biancotti (PIIE), Gary Clyde Hufbauer (PIIE), David Weller (Google), Natalie Blyth (HSBC), Chad P. Bown (PIIE) and Anabel González (PIIE)

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Event Summary

Roberto Azevêdo, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), delivered the keynote address at a conference on the changing international trading system on April 11, 2019, at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The conference also featured a discussion of a new report on globalization by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). Experts presented the latest analyses and discussed global value chains and current potential disruptions to them, digital trade and privacy issues, and systemic concerns prompting WTO reform.

In the first panel, Susan Lund, partner at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), presented MGI's recent report, "Globalization in Transition: The Future of Trade and Value Chains." Also addressing the report and global value chains were Mary Lovely, PIIE nonresident senior fellow; Doug Murtha, group vice president of corporate strategy and planning for Toyota Motor Sales; and Daria Taglioni, global solutions lead for global value chains at the World Bank Group.

The second panel featured a discussion of digital trade and privacy issues with presentations from Claudia Biancotti, PIIE visiting fellow; Gary Clyde Hufbauer, PIIE nonresident senior fellow; and David Weller, head of global trade policy at Google.

The third panel tackled systemic issues and potential WTO reform. Presenters included Natalie Blyth, global head of trade and receivables finance at HSBC; Chad P. Bown, PIIE Reginald Jones Senior Fellow; and Anabel Gonzalez, PIIE nonresident senior fellow and former World Bank Group senior director of trade practice.

Director-General Azevêdo provided the keynote speech, and Adam S. Posen, PIIE president, led a conversation with him and the audience. Azevêdo began his leadership role at the WTO in September 2013, serving a four-year term, and WTO members agreed by consensus to appoint him for a second full term in February 2017.