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London hosts Commonwealth Trade Forum

Major staging-post conference to develop trade policy and establish negotiating positions on the run-up to Cancun

Monday 7 - Tuesday 8 July

Over twenty Trade Ministers from throughout the world will convene in London for the Commonwealth Trade Forum at Senate House, University of London, on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 July. They will be joined by over 200 delegates, including business leaders from the Commonwealth and beyond, representatives from the WTO and international agencies, business organisations, trade experts, and academics.

Organised by the Commonwealth Business Council and Global Dimensions, a research programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the two-day event will be a unique occasion to discuss trade issues in the context of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial negotiations scheduled for Cancun in September 2003.

The conference will open with a speech by the Trade and Industry Secretary, Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt MP, and conclude with an address by conclude with an address by Hilary Benn MP, Minister of State for International Development. [Hon Baroness Amos, Secretary of State for International Development, is no longer able to attend].

Other speakers will include Hon Baroness Symons; UK Minister for Trade, Keki Dadiseth, Vice-President of Unilever; European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy (via video link) and Tapan Bhaumik from the Confederation on Indian Industries.

Dr Mohan Kaul, director-general of the Commonwealth Business Council said: 'The conference will bring together countries from both the developed and developing world at a crucial time in the Doha agenda.' 

Dr Razeen Sally, head of LSE's International Trade Policy Unit, said: 'This forum will discuss concrete proposals to overcome present road-blocks and make real progress at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in September. Governments and business constituencies across the Commonwealth have an important role to play in shaping policy decisions and setting the agenda for future trade policies.'


To register for the conference or for further information, please contact:

Notes for Editors:

1) The Commonwealth Trade Forum has four principal objectives:

  • To raise awareness of the various issues on the Doha agenda and to explore their implications
  • To assist with the formulation of negotiating positions that can be fed back to national governments to help them in their preparations for the negotiations 
  • To provide business inputs to trade policy-making in the Commonwealth as a region by drawing on the strengths of the large number of global players amongst Commonwealth members, and
  • To aid the growth of business networks that are similarly active within their national governments and within their global associations.

3) The Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) was established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 1997 to involve the private sector in the promotion of trade and investment. 

4) Global Dimensions is a research programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science which helps develop policy responses to global governance issues. 

Updated 1 July 2003