International WTO experts gather at CityU for seminar

Michael Gibb

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It might not have attracted as much attention as the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre last week, but the recent WTO Law Seminar held at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) was a timely opportunity for international WTO experts to share views on crucial legal issues connected to world trade.

 

Academics, government consultants, fair trade specialists and lawyers from the Asia-Pacific region assembled at CityU on 15 December to explore the Doha Development Agenda—negotiations aimed at lowering barriers to trade around the world—and dispute resolution from an Asian perspective.

 

This seminar demonstrates CityU's commitment to hosting international gatherings that spotlight key issues that affect the global community. It was organized by the WTO Law and Dispute Resolution Centre (WTODR Centre), which is part of the School of Law (SLW) at CityU, and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.

 

The discussions were divided into three sessions during the day-long meeting, namely the WTO and Asia: problems and prospects; negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda: the way forward; and dispute resolution under the WTO systems: assessment and reform.

 

Professor (Chair) Peter Malanczuk, Dean of SLW and Director of WTODR Centre, gave the welcoming address; Professor (Chair) Wang Guiguo of the SLW introduced the main themes for the day; and Professor D K Srivastava, the Associate Dean of the SLW, gave a vote of thanks.

 

Participants came from universities and relevant organizations in Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and New Zealand. Twelve papers were presented during the seminar.

 

Professor Malanczuk spoke about investment dispute settlement and the WTO, and Professor Wang covered reform of the WTO dispute settlement system in terms of needs and alternatives. Professor Srivastava chaired the final session of the day on assessment and reform of dispute resolution.

 

Earlier in the year the WTODR Centre hosted the WTO & Greater China Economic Area Law Conference, which attracted 80 renowned WTO scholars and experts from the mainland, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.

 

The WTODR Centre was set up in 2002 in the SLW to study interaction among globalization, legal development (especially in the field of international economic law) and international dispute resolution mechanisms. It is funded by CityU and the SLW, and Professor Malanczuk is the founding and current Director.

 

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