The International Law Institute in collaboration with the Centre for Trade and Investment Law, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry announces a comprehensive and high level conference on Trade and Investment designed for diverse representatives from the Ministry of Commece of and Industry of India who are charged with advancing sustainable opportuntites for India in a time of extraordinary shifts in trade and investment policies and procedures globally.

International trading regimes [such as the WTO and RTAs], global economic leadership, risks and opportunities of investment flows, and regional competition have all become more unpredictable.

This programme is developed to inform and promote discussion of the current trade and investment order and the rationale which shapes these changes.

We hope that this programme compels participants to self review domestic policies and compliance controls; conceptualize future economic opportunities; and work to strengthen its national agreements and practices, to better benefit within the evolving trade and investment environment.

Led by Prof. James Nedumpara - CTIL Head, and Mr. Patrick Macrory, Center Director - ILI's International Trade Law Center, this program will be further supported by an esteemed panel of global trade and investment experts from both India and the US.

Special inputs and comments will also be provided by India's Secretary of Commerce the Honorable Secretary Mr. Anup Wadhawan.

Centre for Trade and Investment Law (CTIL) was established in the year 2016 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT). The Centre’s primary objective is to provide sound and rigorous analysis of legal issues pertaining to international trade and investment law to the Government of India and other governmental agencies. The Centre is aiming to create a dedicated pool of legal experts that who could provide technical inputs for enhancing India’s participation in international trade and investment negotiations and dispute settlement. The Centre also aims to be a thought leader in the various domains of international economic law such as WTO law, international investment law and legal issues relating to economic integration.

It is CTIL’s mission to identify, analyse and provide creativdeas and perspectives to influence the international discourse on wide ranging aspects of international economic law. The Centre is also conceived as a ready repository of trade and investment related information including updates on ongoing trade negotiations and disputes.

India Program cover 
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The Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, Government of India, Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey reiterated India’s willingness to engage in resolving the issues related to the current impasse in the appointment/reappointment of judges in the WTO Appellate Body and urged the WTO Membership to come together to resolve the current crisis at the WTO. Mr. Pandey was alluding to India’s proposal on WTO reforms submitted in conjunction with the European Union and Canada. Mr. Pandey was addressing the audience at an intensive training and capacity-building programme organized by Centre for Trade and Investment Law for Indian government officials on international trade and investment law.

The panellists included three former Deputy Directors General to the WTO; Mr. David Shark, Prof. Anwarul Hoda and Dr. Harsha Vardhan Singh, in addition to India’s former Commerce Secretary, Mr. Rajiv Kher and Additional Secretary, Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey. The discussion focused on the issues of Appellate Body crisis on appointment/reappointment of Members, improving the negotiating function of the WTO and the justification for use of national security exception. Dr. James J. Nedumpara, Head and Professor, Centre for Trade and Investment Law introduced the concerns surrounding the WTO and referred to the system as “fragile”. He also reiterated that the present controversies have a potential risk of causing irreparable damage to the rules-based multilateral trading system.

Mr. David Shark, a Deputy Director General to the WTO until October 2017, noted that the concerns raised by the United States on the functioning of the WTO Appellate Body are not new and have been expressed by the previous administrations also. He also observed that the WTO adjudication on national security exception has some potential pitfalls. Emphasizing on the fundamental principle that “justice delayed is justice denied”, Prof. Anwarul Hoda, a former Deputy Director General to the WTO, referred to the Appellate Body as “the lynchpin of the international trading system” and urged the Members to proactively engage for resolving the stalemate. He also advocated the “plurilateral approach as a way forward”. Mr. Rajiv Kher, former Commerce Secretary and Chair of the discussion, emphasized that the claims against developing countries, of “unfairness and non-transparency have to be weighed against the WTO ideals of equity and fair play”, which the developed countries have failed to fulfill themselves. Mr. Patrick Macrory, Director, International Trade Law Center at the International Law Institute, emphasized that the burden of proof must lie with the Member who raises the grievance to come up with a positive agenda for resolving the crisis.

Dr. Harsha V. Singh, former Deputy Director General to the WTO, called the present challenges “a mammoth to deal with” and urged the Member States “to carefully choose between substance and procedure, before engaging with each other”. Prof. Abhijit Das, Head, Centre for WTO Studies underlined the significance of a “sequential approach” and reiterated the need for reviving the Doha Round. Ms. Shiny Pradeep, Assistant Professor, Centre for Trade and Investment Law thanked the participants and the Panellists for an extremely engaging discussion.