UKTPO annual conference on World Trade Policy: Back to the Future?

On 15 and 16 September, the UK Trade Policy Observatory hosted its third annual academic conference, this time, of course, a virtual event.

The conference, under the theme 'World Trade Policy: Back to the Future?', provided contributions to address two of the most important issues in trade policy today.

Presentations by Michael Gasiorek, Facundo Albornoz Crespo and Anna Maria Mayda explored aspects of the as yet unknown UK trading regime after the end of the transition period, including the impact of uncertainty, the effect of tariff hikes on firms, and the political economy of protection, respectively.

Secondly, trade in the 21st century is ever more intertwined with other areas of public policy, so Emily Lydgate explored the links between trade and climate policies. The conference also included two round tables: one convened by Creon Butler of Chatham House on 'Trade and climate change in the context of COP26' with panellists Jodie Keane and Rohinton P. Medhora, and the second on trade and economic cohesion in the UK after Brexit, with L. Alan Winters (Chair) Katy Hayward, Anand Menon, Graeme Roy, Thomas Sampson.

Over the last few years, many people have emulated the UKTPO by providing commentary on the UK’s international trade policy, but commentary is only as good as its underlying research. The UKTPO covers both bases and its Annual Conferences features some of its own and others’ research. The conferences provide a forum for dialogue between academia, trade policymakers and other stakeholders and build the base for a better understanding of the implications of Brexit and post-Brexit trade policy in an interconnected world. 

At the close of the UK Trade Policy Observatory’s annual conference today, Professor L. Alan Winters announced that he will be stepping down as Director of the Observatory and that Professor Jim Rollo will be stepping down from the role of Deputy Director.

Professors Winters and Rollo created the UK Trade Policy Observatory in 2016, following the EU referendum result. Under their directorship, the UKTPO has established itself as one of the UK’s leading independent organisations analysing, researching and offering training in international trade and investment policy.

Under their leadership, the UKTPO has produced over 150 blogs, close to 50 Briefing Papers (48 to be precise), several collaborative reports, half a dozen journal articles, an animated video and podcast series and collaborated with a whole host of individuals and organisations across national government, devolved administrations, civil society and business. For example, UKTPO Fellows have submitted evidence to over 30 Government consultations and Parliamentary inquiries.

Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University said: "The UKTPO has become the go-to place for impartial and rigorous analysis of UK trade policy ... because they take the politics out, they put the influence in."

Professors Winters and Rollo will continue their involvement in the work of the UKTPO as Fellows.

Effective from Thursday 17 September, Professor Michael Gasiorek will assume the role of Director of the UKTPO, and Drs Ingo Borchert and Emily Lydgate will be the new joint Deputy Directors. Under the new directorship, the UKTPO aims to build on the success of the last four years by continuing to contribute actively and constructively to UK trade policymaking and practice.


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By: Charlotte Humma
Last updated: Thursday, 17 September 2020

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