Trade policy was once the largely unseen domain of seasoned negotiators operating behind closed doors. But since the U.S. elections in 2016, the often-esoteric issue has been shoved firmly into the political limelight.
As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton duked it out on the national stage, their stances on the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership — an extremely complex deal that took seven years to negotiate — became a litmus test for candidates’ support for the American worker. Trade deficits took a beating for their supposed effects on American jobs.
All that came just after the June 2016 Brexit vote, which threw into question a proposed pact between the U.S. and the EU, the so-called TTIP. And after Mr. Trump’s unexpected victory, no U.S. agreement was safe, even the 20-year-old NAFTA with two top trading partners, which has now been reopened.
Experts at the University of Georgia School of Law believe all this upheaval has a silver lining: a chance to another look at where trade policy and law are going during a topsy-turvy time. Many of the big multilateral deals were a response to ineffectual talks at the World Trade Organization. Now, economic nationalists are reacting with a focus on bilateral agreements with supposedly fewer tradeoffs.
On Monday, Sept. 18, the school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center will convene experts in the field to discuss these topics and more during a conference titled “The Next Generation of International Trade Agreements.”
The event comes at a time of change and celebration for the center. In addition to marking its 40th anniversary, it has recently promoted a new director, Kathleen Doty, who comes with a track record of engagement on a range of global issues.
Speakers will include legal scholars from universities across the U.S., as well as seasoned trade negotiators from the U.S. government as well as representatives from companies like Carter’s and Panasonic.
The event is free but requires registration. See the list of speakers, register and learn more here.