“Will the WTO as an institution survive the failure of the Doha Round? The WTO was established just 11 years ago, and already it is facing a major crisis in its trade negotiating capacity. The Uruguay Round negotiations resulted in major institutional reforms to the previous GATT system, which led to the establishment of the WTO as an international organization and a binding, effective dispute settlement system. Concerns have been expressed about whether there is now an inherent institutional imbalance in the WTO between the very strong dispute settlement system and the very weak negotiating and decision making mechanisms of the organization. Do the WTO political mechanisms need to be strengthened? What are the implications for the future of the WTO if the institutional governance issues are not addressed?”

Speakers Bio


Professor Debra Steger is one of Canada’s leading authorities on international trade policy and law. She is the founder and Director of the EDGE Network on the Emerging, Dynamic, Global Economies, a new initiative under the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program. An architect of the World Trade Organization as a senior negotiator for Canada during the Uruguay Round trade negotiations, Professor Steger was also the founding Director and first Chief Legal Adviser to the WTO Appellate Body from 1995-2001. As General Counsel to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal during the implementation of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement! and the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, she helped craft dispute settlement procedures and argued the historic first cases before binational panels under the CUSFTA and the NAFTA. A prolific writer and commentator, she is the author of Peace Through Trade: Building the WTO, Cameron May Publishers 2004, and has been invited by Oxford University Press to author a book on the international regulation of the use of subsidies. She is the editor of a 2005 book published by Cambridge University Press, Law in the Service of Human Dignity: Essays in Honour of Florentino Feliciano. She is also writing a book with Ambassador Julio A. Lacarte-Muro, the “grandfather of the GATT”, on the history of the inter! national trading system. Professor Steger is the immediate past-Chair of the Trade and Customs Law Committee of the International Bar Association and a Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal for International Economic Law, published by Oxford University Press. She also serves on the Board of Advisers to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Project on Building Capacity Through Training in Dispute Settlement in International Trade, Investment and Intellectual Property, and is often called upon to carry out technical assistance and training missions on WTO dispute settlement in developing countries. She has been a member of the Trade Law Committee of the International Law Association for over 10 years. She also is an Associate Expert with the Institute for International Business, Econo! mics and Law at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Ms. Steger has had a long-standing relationship with the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. She held the Hyman Soloway Chair in Business and Trade Law in 1995, and was an adjunct professor from 1988-1995 teaching courses and supervising graduate students in international trade law. She also worked with the Center for Trade Policy and Law to organize several conferences on international trade held at the Faculty of Law during those years. In 2001-2002, she was Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She also has taught conflict of laws and international law at the University of Victoria.