WITA’s Sanctions Series: Russia Sanctions and the New World Trade Disorder




On Thursday, March 31, WITA held a webinar discussing what the new sanctions on Russia means for the re-ordering of trading relationships and the multilateral trading system – including removal of MFN by the US, EU and G7.

Featured Speakers:

Simon J. Evenett, Professor of International Trade and Economic Development, University of St. Gallen; Founder, St. Gallen Endowment for Prosperity Through Trade

Cecilia Malmström, Senior Advisor, Covington & Burling LLP; Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics ; former European Commissioner for Trade

Professor Douglas Irwin, John French Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College and Author of Clashing over Commerce: A History of US Trade Policy

Ambassador Rufus Yerxa, Senior Advisor, McLarty Associates; former Deputy United States Trade Representative and former Deputy Director-General of the WTO


Simon Evenett is a Professor of International Trade and Economic Development at the University of St. Gallen. He specialises in how governments tilt the commercial playing field in favour of local firms. At the start of the Global Financial Crisis Simon created the Global Trade Alert initiative, the leading independent monitor of protectionism and commercial policy choice based at the University of St Gallen.

Simon regularly engages with private sector practitioners, government officials and other thought leaders. He has taught at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan (where he was a Visiting Professor of Corporate Strategy three times), and Rutgers University. In addition, Prof. Evenett has served as a World Bank official twice, has been a Non-Resident Senior Fellow in the Economics Studies programme of the Brookings Institution, and a member of the UK Competition Commission. Recently, he was the DLA Piper Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Carey School of Business, Johns Hopkins University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University and a B.A. (Hons) in Economics from the University of Cambridge. Simon has written over 200 articles, book chapters, and volumes. He is regularly quoted in the international media

Cecilia Malmström is a senior advisor at Covington & Burling’s Brussels office. She has devoted the better part of her career to global affairs and international relations and has extensive experience with multilateral leadership and cooperation. Cecilia, a non-lawyer, served as European commissioner for trade from 2014 to 2019 and as European commissioner for home affairs from 2010 to 2014. She was first elected as a member of the European Parliament in 1999, serving until 2006, and was minister for EU affairs in the Swedish government from 2006 to 2010.

As European commissioner for trade, Cecilia represented the European Union in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international trade bodies. She was responsible for negotiating bilateral trade agreements with key countries, including agreements with Canada, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Vietnam, and the four founding Mercosur countries.

Cecilia holds a Ph.D. in political science from the department of political science of the University of Gothenburg.

Douglas Irwin is John French Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Clashing over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2017), which The Economist and Foreign Affairs selected as one of their Best Books of the Year.

He is also the author of Free Trade Under Fire (Princeton University Press, fifth edition 2020), Trade Policy Disaster: Lessons from the 1930s (MIT Press, 2012), Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression (Princeton University Press, 2011), The Genesis of the GATT (Cambridge University Press, 2008, co-authored with Petros Mavroidis and Alan Sykes), Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade (Princeton University Press, 1996), and many articles on trade policy and economic history in books and professional journals.

He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He worked on trade policy issues while on the staff of President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and later worked in the International Finance Division at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C. Before joining Dartmouth, Irwin taught at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Ambassador Rufus Yerxa served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative under two Administrations and spent more than a decade as Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). He has also served in the private sector as a trade lawyer and as head of a leading business association in Washington. He has been a prominent figure in international trade policy for more than four decades. His areas of expertise include the functioning of the WTO system and other international agreements, bilateral and regional economic relations, international investment matters and U.S. trade law.

Ambassador Yerxa began his government career as a lawyer with the U.S. International Trade Commission before joining the staff of the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as Staff Director of its Subcommittee on Trade.

From 1989 to 1995 he served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) with the rank of Ambassador, first as head of USTR’s Permanent Mission to the GATT in Geneva under President George H.W. Bush and subsequently as Washington Deputy during the Clinton Administration. He was instrumental in negotiations to replace GATT with the WTO in 1995 and to create the original NAFTA accord (now USMCA).

After leaving government service he practiced law for a major U.S. firm in Brussels. In 2002 he was appointed to serve as Deputy Director General of the WTO. During his long tenure he helped to broaden its membership and strengthen various aspects of its rulemaking function.

From 2016 to 2021, he was President of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), a Washington-based industry association focused on expanding global markets for U.S. companies and strengthening the rule of law in world trade.

He was a Visiting Professor and Adjunct Professor with the Middlebury Institute for International Studies from 2013 to 2018, where he taught courses on international trade and the WTO system.

Ambassador Yerxa is a native of Washington State. He holds a BA from the University of Washington, a JD from the Seattle University and an LLB in International Law from the University of Cambridge.