Research page

Thinking Ahead on International Trade (TAIT)

A four-year research programme on international trade

Thinking Ahead on International Trade (TAIT) is a research programme devoted to the analyses of medium-term challenges facing the international trade system in general and the WTO in particular. While founded on scholarship, the analysis is undertaken in association with public and business sector actors. The working method seeks advice and input from the public sector (policymakers, diplomats, international civil servants, and government officials) and the private sector in all matters but especially when it comes to gathering views, prioritising issues and developing action plans to address the challenges identified. The TAIT programme is run by the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, a specialised research centre of the Graduate Institute.


Annual Conferences

A key activity of the TAIT programme is the annual conference that bring together high-level decision makers from the world of academics, business, and the public sector.

The inaugural TAIT conference, Challenges Facing the World Trade System, took place on 17th and 18th September 2009 and was organised in collaboration with the Economic Research and Statistics Division of the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization. The conference was and held at the WTO.

Subsequent conferences focus on specific topics. The second TAIT conference, Climate Change, Trade and Competitiveness: Issues for the WTO, was held in June 2010 at the WTO.

Public Lectures

TAIT Public Lectures are given by leading figures in the field of international trade; followed by a private dinner (Chatham House rules) with the speaker and a limited circle of diplomats, policymakers and private-sector decision makers.

The inaugural lecture was given by former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo on 24 February. A write-up of his brilliant speech entitled “The Multilateral Trading System: a Response to its Challengers,” has been published in a ebook edited by Richard Baldwin and Simon Evenett, “The collapse of global trade, murky protectionism, and the crisis: Recommendations for the G20” (

The second TAIT lecture was given by Professor Jeffrey A. Frankel, Harpel Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University on 18th June 2009.

The third TAIT lecture was given by Professor Gary Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington on 9th July 2009.

The fourth TAIT lecture was given by Ambassador Roderick Abbott in April 2010.

The fifth TAIT lecture was given by Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization, in July 2010.

Policy Briefs

TAIT Policy Briefs analyse critical challenges to global trade in general and the WTO in particular.