State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in many countries including Norway and have recently come under increased scrutiny as a consequence of the escalating trade conflict. In particular, SOEs play a key role in China and according to the critics, SOEs in China operate under non-market conditions so there is no longer a «level playing field» in the markets.

In key sectors such as steel and aluminum, SOEs have contributed to global overcapacity, adding to the trade frictions and increasing the number of trade protection measures in the field, such as antidumping tariffs and the notable U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs. SOEs therefore constitute an important sub-topic in current international policy discourses.

At the OECD, analysis and policy processes address issues related to global overcapacity in steel and aluminum. At the WTO, reform proposals have been presented, e.g. by the EU recently, where rules for SOEs are also on the table. Some free trade agreements also have rules on SOEs, and some countries – the USA in particular – are pushing for rules that tighten the disciplines for SOEs.

At this seminar, Przemyslaw Kowalski will examine the role of SOEs in the world economy, with particular focus on international rules and the current developments. Dr. Kowalski is currently President of the Management Board of CASE - Center for Social and Economic Research in Warsaw, a cooperation partner of NUPI.

Prior to joining CASE, Dr. Kowalski worked at the OECD during 2002-2018. He is an experienced international economist with significant contributions in a wide range of research and policy areas, including international trade, development and macroeconomics. In recent years, he has published a number of papers on SOEs in international trade and investment.

After Dr. Kowalski’s presentation, Harald Andreassen will comment on how the issue of SOE’s relates to the WTO rulebook and on current processes that may lead to new disciplines.  Mr. Andreassen is a senior adviser at Trade Policy Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he focuses on trade distortions and trade measures, and also has been Norwegian TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) chief negotiator during 2012-2016.

Senior Research Fellow at NUPI Arne Melchior will moderate the event.

This event is part of the seminar series on «Global trade policy at the crossroads», hosted by the Centre for International Economics and Trade at NUPI during 2018-2019, with a funding contribution from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This seminar will be streamed live on NUPI’s YouTube channel: