Building on a Track Record
The Institute is building on the track record of the Trade Policy Research Centre, London, when it was active in the 1970s and 1980s. At that time many governments, preoccupied with immediate issues, made use of the TPRC’s authoritative analyses, publications and “informal” roundtable meetings.
Of lasting value was the Centre’s pioneering work on how to tackle in multilateral trade negotiations (i) the competition-distorting effects of non-tariff measures, (ii) the extension of the trade-liberalizing process to the services sector and (iii) the reduction of levels of farm-support and the import restrictions required to sustain them.
Closely associated with the Centre’s work over
two decades were many eminent names in international economics, commercial
diplomacy and public discussion. Most prominent among them in shaping
the research program were Harry G. Johnson, W.M. Corden, Martin Wolf and
Many others in public life took part in the Centre’s high-level meetings, among them William E. Brock III, Lydia Dunn, Count Otto Lambsdorff, Staffan Burenstam Linder, Harald B. Malmgren, Nam Duck-Woo, Saburo Okita, Cecil Parkinson, Helga Steeg, Robert S. Strauss, Amnuay Viravan and Clayton Yeutter.
The Centre’s effectiveness owed much to its ability to draw on specialists in other countries who were well placed through their professional work and experience to produce papers on how particular issues might be resolved or ameliorated. In that network were…
In Western Europe: V.N. Balasubramanyam, Sir Alec Cairncross, W.M. Corden, Gérard Curzon, Victoria Curzon Price, Juergen Donges, Herbert Giersch, Sidney Golt, Sir Roy Harrod, Theodor Heidhues, David Henderson, Brian Hindley, Pierre Jacquet, T.E. Josling, Deepak Lal, Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Assar Lindbeck, I.M.D. Little, Alasdair MacBean, T.M. Rybczynski, Stefan Tangerman and Jean Waelbroeck.
In North America: Robert E. Baldwin, Jagdish Bhagwati, Isaiah Frank, Rodney de C. Grey, D. Gale Johnson, Richard Lipsey and Ingo Walter; and
In the Asia-Pacific region: Kym Anderson, Gary Banks, Kihwan Kim, Peter J. Lloyd, David Robertson, Hadi Soesastro, Richard Snape, Andrew Stoeckel, Augustine H.H. Tan and Soogil Young.
The TPRC’s work was mainly behind the scenes. In the 1970s its studies and meetings stimulated much of the thinking and analysis that shaped the Tokyo Round negotiations of 1973-79. These included a major study group composed of Lord McFadzean, Sir Alec Cairncross, W.M. Corden, Sidney Golt, Harry G. Johnson, James Meade and T.M. Rybczynski, which yielded Towards an Open World Economy (1972).
Then in 1982-88, the Centre convened in different parts of the world eight "informal" roundtable meetings of trade ministers, senior officials, business leaders and independent experts that helped to crystallize thinking in launching and promoting the Uruguay Round negotiations of 1986-94. Discussion at each of the meetings was based on an independent analysis of a selected range of issues on the international trade agenda that sought to raise sights above immediate disputes and issues of the day.
The TPRC is no longer active, but Hugh Corbet, its internationally respected director for two decades, has been engaged as the Cordell Hull Institute's president.
"Informal" Roundtable Meetings
"The Trade Policy Research Centre has played an imaginative and significant role in bringing new ideas to the attention of governments. Its special reports and informal roundtable meetings have pioneered a more thoughtful and rigorous discussion "
ARTHUR DUNKEL, as
"In an age of rapid transport and communications around the whole world, it is a paradox of contemporary politics that emphasis is still put on geographical propinquity, and the political movements it has generated, as a guide to action. In the 1970s, as never before, it is necessary to think globally and acknowledge that the economic and political interests of nations are defined, not by their locations in relation to a continent or an ocean, but by the network of their relations with other countries throughout the international community"
HARRY G. JOHNSON and HUGH
CORBET in "Pacific
Extending Trade Rules to Services
"Since [the early 1970s] the Trade Policy Research Centre has played a key role in the development of international thinking on trade and investment in services"
"A parallel pioneering effort was undertaken by Hugh Corbet, director of the Trade Policy Research Centre, [who] commissioned studies that provided seminal thinking for the subsequent surge in policy analysis and public debate"
ERNEST H. PREEG in Traders
Aggregate Measurement of Support
"[Producer subsidy equivalents] have so far been used mainly as a tool for policy analysis. Active consideration is now being given to the concept as a basis for commitments in trade negotiations, as originally suggested by Hugh Corbet and Jane Niall in a  study for the Trade Policy Research Centre"
STEFAN TANGERMAN et al., "Negotiations on Farm-support Levels", The World Economy, Oxford and Boston, September 1987