Professors Gould and Suveges

Examination of classic and modern conceptions of political economy, emphasizing theory and its application to states and among states in the international arena.

Type:  Paper

            Mock conference

            Group project 

Level:  300


Block Plan Context:













Important Features of the Assignment:

  • This assignment allows students to research and then depict a real international conference.
  • This assignment includes both writing and oral presentation elements.
  • Beginning resources are provided, but students are expected to go beyond these helps.
  • This assignment allows students to present both their own work and that of their group.
  • Students read all other student papers, which can make for a very high student-set bar regarding quality of work.
  • Students are forced to take the perspective of someone else whose interests they may not share, and argue persuasively for the other’s position.
  • The block plan allows for a full day conference at the end of the course, perhaps off campus or in a setting other than the classroom.


Description of Assignment:

Class size limits the number of countries involved and how many delegates will represent each country. Note that the foreign ministers/trade representatives will also be committee delegates.

The four committees are:

-          Agriculture

-          Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

-          Investment (“The Singapore Issues”)

-          Textiles and Clothing; Anti-Dumping Measures

The following roles will accompany these committee assignments:

-          Mexico: Foreign Minister (chair of the meeting) and one delegate (ombudsmen)

-          US Trade Representative and three delegates (one on each committee)

-          EU Trade Commissioner and three delegates (one on each committee)

-          Chinese Trade Minister and three delegates (one on each committee)

-          Brazilian Trade Minister and two delegates (Ag, TRIPS, and Tex/Cloth)

-          Jamaican Trade Minister and one delegate (Ag and Tex/Cloth)

-          Burkino-Faso Trade Minister and one delegate (Ag and TRIPS)

-          South African Trade Minister and one delegate (TRIPS and Tex/Cloth)

-          Indian Trade Minister and two delegates (TRIPS, Invest and Tex/Cloth)

Country delegations will meet after class on the first Friday of the clock for a brief organizational meeting. Each delegation will collectively decide who is to represent their country in their assigned committees. Exchange phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Set up a schedule to meet several times prior to the deadlines.


Your Paper: You will prepare an individual position paper detailing your country’s specific positions and concerns pertaining to your specific committee issue area (6-8 pages). Your sources must be precisely documented. Paraphrase or quote; and always footnote! Full bibliographic information is essential – including EXACT website addresses. Failure to provide this information will result in your having to rewrite the paper over block break.

Country Delegation Executive Summary: Each country delegation will collectively prepare a very short overall position paper highlighting their major concerns, basically a synthesis of the individual delegates’ position papers. No more than 1 page! – use bullet points.

We will penalize individuals for late position papers and delegations for late executive summaries.

Issues to research and analyze before you write your position papers:

  • What is the background in your committee issue-area? How was it addressed by the failed Cancun negotiation?
  • What are the most pressing trade-related issues your country currently faces in each of these committee areas? On what are you willing and not willing to compromise? What concessions are you willing to make?
  • Who are your potential negotiating partners and adversaries? What are their likely positions? What coalitions can you form? How will this affect your bargaining power?

To get you started, we recommend a thorough and careful reading of the following, followed by a visit to the WTO website (

  • Patrick Cronin, “The Doha Round, Prospects for the Rules Based trading System,” in Goddard et al., eds., International Political Economy, pp. 369-390. (class handout)
  • “The Cancun Challenge,” (September 4, 2003):

Other sources to help you get started:


CIA World Fact Book:

Library of Congress’ Global Gateway:


Christian Science Monitor:

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:

Peterson Institute for International Economics:

Center for International Development – Global Trade Negotiations:


Cato Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies:

  • Also remember that your countries have embassies, trade ministries, etc. that have websites, as well as many of the regional trade groups.

Conference – Fourth Tuesday of the Block at CC Cabin


            Meet at Worner                                                                     8:15

            Leave Worner for drive to CC Cabin                                      8:20


I. Morning Plenary Session:


A. Welcome –  Chairman                                            9:30-9:35


            Conference host’s brief visionary statement; rules of order.

B. Country Delegations Positions                              9:35-10:25


Each country delegation head presents her/his delegation’s position.  In Mexico’s case, it should be the delegate, not the foreign minister. (5 min. each)

II. Closed Committee Meetings                                               10:30-11:30

The committees meet separately.  Choose a committee head. Begin negotiating countries’ positions towards a draft committee agreement on the particular issues on the table.  Draft a brief preliminary statement of the committee position for the afternoon plenary meeting.  Use Mexican delegation to communicate with other committees in attempt to design broader cross issue bargains and coalitions

III. Lunch                                                                                11:30-12:30

Lunch by country delegations. Use this time to review the morning’s developments. Reevaluate priorities and potential compromises. Devise strategies for afternoon sessions. 


IV. Closed Committee meetings                                              12:30-12:45


            Revisit morning statement


IV. Afternoon Plenary Session                                                12:50-1:40 

The committee heads present their committee positions (or lack thereof). (5 min. each)

Bargaining, discussion and debate; Mexico moderates          (30 minutes)


V. Committee Vote                                                                  1:40-2:10

The committees reconvene to seek agreement, or agreement to disagree, or prepare rival positions.

VI. Final Plenary Session and Vote                                        2:10-3:00

At the final plenary session, the committee heads will present their final decisions. (5 min. each)

The heads of the delegations will then vote on whether to adopt the committee recommendations.  This will represent the ‘outcome’ of our conference.










Organizational meetings in country groups







Individual papers due by 5 p.m. Exec. Summaries due by 7 p.m.

Mock Conference