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Brokering Consensus on Trade within the Multilateral Trading System

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Who We Are

Established in 2016 in Geneva, the Friends of Multilateralism Group (FMG) is a group of independent experts firmly committed to promoting multilateralism and shared growth within the multilateral trading system (MTS).

FMG endeavors to buttress efforts by Members, both delegations and capital officials, on WTO reform and other issues of importance to the MTS and help them restore the centrality of the WTO for the governance of trade and investment. FMG will strive to provide high-quality, independent and expert advice through a series of activities and products, including researches, debates, consultations and policy advice, to help build a positive eco-system to inform and support potential compromises and landing zones for the sustainability of the multilateral trading system.

What We Do

The WTO faces short-term threats and long-term challenges. Both need to be effectively addressed with effective reforms inspired in a shared long-term strategy. Therefore, the focus of FMG will be WTO reform under discussion by members, addressing both short-term threats and long-term challenges through analysis, dialogue and action-oriented proposals.

Depending on the development of the system and demands of members, FMG can also take upon new tasks beyond WTO reform. Based on this rationale, the FMG will focus on the following set of subjects (a “living” list):

Global Trade Governance
  • Best practices for better transparency and deliberation of the WTO
  • Multilateral structure and plurilateral initiatives
  • Dispute settlement, in particular potential landing zones for both a quick resurrection of the appellate body and long-term challenges
  • Empowerment of the Secretariat to better its informing and facilitative role
  • Engagement of civil society on WTO reform
Leadership Role of Major Players
  • Trade tension among major players and its impact on the multilateral trading system
  • Rebalancing of rights and obligations
Integration of Developing Countries

Particularly the LDCs among them, into the global trading system

Free and Fair Trade
  • Fisheries subsidies
  • Subsidies, state intervention and distortions
  • Regulatory coherence and global supply chains
21st Century Issues:
  • E-commerce, including the plurilateral negotiations
  • Investment facilitation
  • MSMEs
  • Gender equality and women empowerment
  • Redefinition of traditional subjects in the new context, such as labor and environment standards, trans-border data flows, rules of origin for online services or goods, etc.

In-depth research and pertinent policy advice

FMG will use its own expertise and draw on external expertise to produce policy-papers and proposals, as needed. Drafts will be reviewed and discussed among FMG members to cover all possible angles and promote a collegial view on the subject matter.

Open debates and discussions

FMG will convene all stakeholders, including governments, private sector and civil society, to discuss its policy-papers and proposals.

Targeted follow-up communication and consultations

FMG may also host small group or individual consultations with key members, including officials from capitals, to allow for candid exchange of views and test potential landing zones.

Follow-up conclusions and further advice on landing zones

Finally, FMG researchers will fully review the results of above engagement to further improve the research and policy advice, in particularly on potential compromises and landing zones.

Members of FMG

FMG is co-organized by Alejandro JARA and Xiankun LU. Its members include Richard BALDWIN, Daniel CROSBY, Simon EVENETT, Stuart HARBINSON, Bernard HOEKMAN, Anabel GONZALEZ, Alejandro JARA, Patrick LOW, Xiankun LU, Hamid MAMDOUH, Hector TORRES, Guillermo VALLES. FMG engages extensively external independent experts, as need be.

Alejandro JARA

Co-Organizer of FMG

Email: alejandrojara49@gmail.com

Former Deputy Director-General of WTO and former Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Chile to the WTO
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Xiankun LU

Co-Organizer of FMG

Email: xiankunlu@163.com

Former Head of Division of Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and Emeritus Professor of University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China
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Richard BALDWIN

Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, Switzerland

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Peter DRAPER

Executive Director of the Institute for International Trade, University of Adelaide, Australia

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Anabel GONZALEZ

Non-resident Senior Fellow at Peterson Institute for International Economics, former Minister of Trade of Costa Rica, former World Bank Senior Director on Trade & Competitiveness and former WTO Agriculture Director
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Patrick LOW

Former Chief Economist of WTO

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Evan ROGERSON

Adjunct Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore and co-ordinator of the Singapore Trade Policy Forum.

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Guillermo VALLES

Ambassador-at-large of Uruguay, former Director of International Trade in Goods, Services and Commodities Division of UNCTAD, former Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Uruguay to the WTO

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Clemens BOONEKAMP

Clemens Boonekamp is now a consultant on trade policy and related matters.

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Simon EVENETT

Professor and Academic Director of the MBA programmes at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

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Stuart HARBINSON

Former Chief Representative of HK China to the WTO, former Chief of Staff of the WTO
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Hamid MAMDOUH

Former Director of Trade in Services and Investment Division of the WTO
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Hector TORRES

Former Executive Director at the IMF and former counsellor at the WTO Appellate Body’s Secretariat and the Economic Research and Statistics Division.
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Daniel CROSBY

Office Managing Partner of King & Spalding LLP Geneva

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Jonathan T. FRIED

Mr. Fried retired on August 19, 2020 from his role as Coordinator for International Economic Relations at Global Affairs Canada
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Bernard HOEKMAN

Professor and Robert Schuman Chair and Director of the Global Economics programme at the European University Institute of Florence, Italy

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Sergio MARCHI

Sergio Marchi has led a distinguished private and public sector career.

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Thu-Lang TRAN WASESCHA

Thu-Lang Tran Wasescha is currently IP (Intellectual Property) Consultant. She is a graduate from the Law School of Geneva University.

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Friends of FMG

Some representatives of related international organizations are also invited in their personal capacity, as “Friends of FMG” (FFMG), to enrich the discussions and bridge effective message-passing with such organizations. It is underlined that Members of Friends of FMG are participating in their personal capacities and their views or opinions do not represent the organizations that they are associated with.

Crispin CONROY

Representative Director of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Geneva and the Permanent Observer/Ambassador to the United Nations
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Sean DOHERTY

WEF, Head of International Trade and Investment System Initiative, Member of the Executive Committee
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Pamela Rosemarie Coke Hamilton

UNCTAD, Director. Division on International Trade and Commodities
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Jos VERBEEK

WB, Manager and Special Representative to the UN and the WTO in Geneva
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Matthew Anthony Wilson

ITC, Chief Adviser and Chef de Cabinet to the Executive Director
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