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Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson gave a lecture on the evolution of international trade system and the WTO at the Academy of Journalism and Communication in Hanoi, Vietnam, on May 3, 2019.

The lecture, titled “Trade 101 – Behind the headlines of global trade”, saw the participation of 10 students. Hinrich Foundation Program Manager Huynh Dinh Thai Linh introduced the lecture by providing background information on Stephen Olson, Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow.

Research Fellow gives lecture in Vietnam on international trade

Olson explained the evolution of the trading system and how the World Trade Organisation was formed. He talked about tariffs and their impact on the global economy, and how they compelled nations from across the world to form GATT in order to reduce barriers to trade.

However, Olson explained, as the world moved forward new issues such as services, intellectual property rights, subsidies, among others, started to emerge.  

“GATT did not have provisions to deal with these new world issues. This led to the formation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) to deal with the arising issues, and also provided dispute settlement mechanism for a free and fair trade,” Olson said.

Later, Olson discussed the current trade turmoil and its impact on Vietnam. Olson opined that Vietnam is well-placed as an alternate to China’s manufacturing facility.

“Vietnam has profited tremendously from rule-based global trade system and the current trade turmoil would work on Vietnam’s interest,” Olson said.

The lecture provoked students into asking questions on international trade, and on the future of world trade system.

Olson said, “the multilateral agreements are dead in the water. The relevance of WTO is under increasing attack due to the ongoing trade war.”

The lecture concluded with the closing remark from Hinrich Foundation Program Director Alex Boome, who also invited the students to join the Hinrich Trade Negotiation Simulation the next day.

For more information on Hinrich Trade Negotiation Simulation, click here.

About the author- Pragya Bhatnagar

Hinrich Foundation launches Indonesia Digital Trade Report in Jakarta 2Pragya Bhatnagar is a Research Associate with the Hinrich Foundation where he focuses on International Trade Research. He is a Hinrich Foundation Global Trade Leader Scholar alumnus, earning his Master’s degree in International Journalism, specializing in Business and Financial Journalism, from Hong Kong Baptist University. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Lucknow University, India.