Peter Sutherland

Peter Sutherland is Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and of BP. He is an Honorary Fellow of OXONIA, The Oxford Institute for Economic Policy; is currently UN Special Representative for Migration and Development; and also serves on the Board of Directors of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc. and is associated with the following organisations: Trilateral Commission (Europe) Chairman; World Economic Forum, Foundation Board Member; Chief Executive’s Council of International Advisers (Hong Kong); The Federal Trust, President; Member of The Royal Irish Academy; Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. Prior to his current position, Mr. Sutherland served as: Attorney General of Ireland (1981–1984); EC Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy (1985–1989); Chairman of Allied Irish Banks (1989–1993); Director General of GATT and subsequently the WTO on its creation (1993–1995). His awards include an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael & St George (UK 2004), the Gold Medal of the European Parliament (1988), the First European Law Prize (Paris 1988), The David Rockefeller International Leadership Award (1998), the Grand Cross of Civil Merit (Spain 1989), the Grand Cross of King Leopold II (Belgium 1989), the New Zealand Commemorative Medal (1990), Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur (France 1993), Commandeur du Wissam (Morocco 1994), the Order of Rio Branco (Brazil 1996) and the Grand Cross of the Order of Infante Dom Henrique (Portugal 1998). He was also presented with the Robert Schuman Medal for his work for European Integration. Furthermore, he received the European Person of the Year Award (1988), the Irish People of the Year Award (1989), the Consumer for World Trade Annual Award (1994) for distinguished service, and the Dean’s Medal (1996) from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He has received fourteen honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and America. He was awarded an honorary fellowship of the London Business School in recognition of his contribution to business and trade (1997). His publications include the book Premier Janvier 1993 ce qui va changer en Europe (1989) and numerous articles in law journals. He Chaired the Committee that reported to the EEC Commission on the functioning of the Internal Market after 1992 (The Sutherland Report).

Papers Published in World Economics:

Challenges to the Multilateral Trading System

Ever since the GATT was established in 1948, the growth in international trade and economic growth has been remarkable. The traditional mercantilism of trade relations is less and less appropriate for the global economy. Bilateral trade deals make the business environment more complex and unpredictable. Preferential trading agreements erode the principle of non-discrimination. They distort trade away from the underlying comparative advantage; create rents which are appropriated by special producer interests; multiply the complexities associated with aspects such as rules of origin, technical regulations, health and safety standards and administrative arrangements. They are also far harder to enforce than WTO rules, whose resolution mechanism has been very effective. Partial agreements outside the scope of the WTO lack the power of universal rules and legally binding commitments. Regarding the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, a key contradiction from the start was its construction as a ‘development’ round. This concept gave developing countries unrealistic expectations and opened the way for a damaging emphasis on the idea that they should not be required to make the same commitments to WTO rules as the developed countries. But avoiding WTO commitments almost always operates against the long-term economic interests of developing countries. The true development agenda lies in making commitments to WTO rules, rather than in seeking exemptions from them under the rubric of ‘special and differential treatment’. The steps needed to move forward are practical measures to reform the WTO and its processes, as well as longer-term steps towards enhancing political commitment to the framework of multilateral trade.

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The Outlook for World Trade

The former GATT and World Trade Organization Director-General (1993–1995) defends the multilateral trade system—“If goods do not pass frontiers, armies will”—and describes the challenges facing the World Trade Organization particularly in meeting the Doha Development Agenda. He responds to critics whose beliefs about globalisation and the role of the WTO he says are based on muddled thinking, and addresses trade-related issues including global governance and the situation of the developing countries in the global economy.

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