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The Global Trade and Financial Architecture (GTFA) project is an initiative sponsored by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) that was designed to build on the findings of the report of UN Millennium Taskforce on Trade, Trade for Development.

The GTFA objective is to identify and promote concrete policy options for reinvigorating and strengthening the multilateral economic systems and institutions that have supported the process of globalization since the Second World War. It is also about making this globalization process more sustainable and inclusive, and the project focuses on issues pertaining to the protection of “global economic commons” (e.g. trade or environment) and development.

The GTFA has two main lines of action: it officiates as a forum for exchanging ideas and pulling together or instigating research in areas of relevance to the global trade and finance agenda; it also aims to translate the results of this process into concrete policy recommendations and actions that contribute to shape the international dialogue and reform agenda in the areas of global trade and finance.

The GTFA research program is primarily dedicated to help formulate evidence-based policy and identify areas for international cooperation. It has two components: first, it takes stock and builds upon existing research programs, distilling key policy options and recommendations; second, it sponsors original research in areas where knowledge and policy formulation gaps have been identified. Outputs include policy papers that can be produced in a relatively short time-frame and full-fledged research programs that have a longer gestation period - up to several years. A number of publications testify to the high-quality standards of the GTFA-sponsored outputs.

The GTFA contributes to the international dialogue on global trade and financial architecture by offering concrete policy advice that can be translated into political action and reform. In its early phase, the GTFA laid the basis of the Aid for Trade initiative, providing, from the outset, the intellectual underpinnings and helping to mobilize broad-based international support for the initiative. The flexibility of the GTFA makes it a perfect tool for responding rapidly to policy advice needs prompted by economic shocks (e.g. energy and commodity prices, financial crisis) and/or the international economic/political agenda (e.g. G8 or G20 meetings). The GTFA reaches out to the public, experts, and policy makers through a number of channels, which include the sponsorship of a number of international events, and advocacy work in the media.

A more complete description of the GTFA program and strategy, including background documents provided by and to the Steering Committee, are available here.


The Steering Committee (SC) is in charge of discussing and identifying the strategic themes as well as the outputs of the GTFA research and policy agenda. It usually meets three times a year. It is co-chaired by Ernesto Zedillo, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and Patrick Messerlin, Groupe d’Economie Mondiale de SciencesPo, and consists of leading researchers and policy makers with particular expertise in the fields of relevance to the GTFA. The SC members participate to the project in their personal capacity and not as representatives of their present or former employers.


The Global Trade and Financial Architecture (GTFA) project is supported financially by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Last updated on Mar 12, 2009

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