IISS–Middle East trade conference adjourns

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Manama: The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) adjourned a high-level conference titled ‘Trade and Flag: The Changing Balance of Power in the Multilateral Trading System’ this afternoon in Bahrain. 

The conference debated issues including the challenge of regionalism to multilateral trading systems; the emergence of new ‘regional’ trading blocs, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP); and the consequences of regionalism for global companies that are dependent on global supply chains. 

During the conference, Pascal Lamy, Former Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), challenged what power means in the realm of world trade as he contended ‘power, on balance, lies with the importer rather than the exporter’. Furthermore, Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, former Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Former Director-General, WTO, argued ‘market access doesn't necessarily translate into development’.

HE Kamal bin Ahmed, Minister of Transportation, and Acting Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) said: ‘In order to understand the true potential for economic growth, both nationally and regionally, we need to understand some of the key issues that are affecting global and regional markets. It is through discussions such as the ones hosted by the IISS that we are able to bring various issues to the table, as well as discuss them with industry leaders, allowing us to paint a clear picture of the economic situation today. We look forward to continued high level forums and conferences hosted by the IISS.’ 

The conference, organised by the IISS Geo-economics and Strategy Research Programme, which studies shifting economic power and geopolitics, is the sixth in a series which have brought world-class experts, statesmen and business leaders to Bahrain.

The themes from the conference will be available on the IISS Geo-economics and Strategy Programme website: https://www.iiss.org/research/geo-economics-s-and-s-strategy. 

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Information for Editors:

The Middle East office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) opened in May 2010 in Manama, Bahrain. Located in GBCorp Tower, Bahrain Financial Harbour, IISS–Middle East serves as a base for the Institute's many research programmes and activities throughout the region. Headquartered in London, the IISS also has long-standing regional offices in Washington DC and Singapore.

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