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A three-year Trade Policy and WTO research and capacity building project has been developed to enhance WTO research at ICRIER and to provide Indian policy makers a more nuanced understanding on how to take forward India’s interests in the multilateral trading system forward. The main objectives of the WTO research programme is to engage in policy – oriented research, augment the capacity of the Trade Policy Division of the Department of Commerce, constructively engage with relevant stakeholders at regular intervals, organise stakeholders meetings to elicit the necessary feedback on possibilities of and opportunities for any new agreement in the Doha Round and to help India effectively participate in the reform of global governance and the trade agenda. The project is so designed that the research and capacity building activities complement and build on each other. We have sought funding from the Ministry of Commerce and are in the process of applying for funding from international agencies.

In the meanwhile, research has already been initiated on several issues of current relevance. As part of dissemination activities, a monthly WTO seminar series and a quarterly Trade Policy and WTO newsletter have been launched. The objective of the ongoing monthly WTO seminar series is to identify and discuss critical WTO issues relevant for India in the ongoing Doha Round and after. The seminars include deliberations on the current impasse in the Doha Round and also on the possible changing contours of the WTO in the future. Past speakers have included officials from the WTO, policy makers and academics.

In January 2010, a quarterly Trade Policy and WTO Newsletter was launched. The newsletter reviews developments in trade and investment in the national, regional and multilateral spheres, besides featuring articles on selected subjects relevant to trade policy.