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Public Lecture #6 Prof Robert Lawrence on Path to Prosperity : Protectionism or Free Trade?

  • Lighthouse @LKI 24 Horton Place Colombo, WP, 00700 Sri Lanka (map)

"Path to Prosperity :  Protectionism or Free Trade?"

With the election of Donald Trump as the President of the US, the topic of trade protection has dominated the economic and business pages of the international press.
Long before the topic came into vogue, Sri Lanka was practising what Trump preached. For over a decade the Government intervened heavily to promote import substitution and local industry. Most Sri Lankans will be surprised to learn that the effective rate of protection is now at a similar level it was in the 1980’s,  reversing almost two decades of liberalisation.
The Fraser Institute which measures and ranks openness of trade amongst countries rank Sri Lanka 135 out of 159 countries mainly owing to complex procedures and high 'para tariffs'.

Is protecting local businesses from foreign competition the way forward for Sri Lanka ? Or should the country embrace globalisation and free trade?  In this lecture Prof Robert Lawrence from Harvard University's Kennedy School of government explores the topic.  

Who is Prof Lawrence? 

Robert Z. Lawrence is Albert L. Williams Professor of International Trade and Investment, a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

He currently serves as Faculty Chair of The Practice of Trade Policy executive program at Harvard Kennedy School. He served as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1998 to 2000. Lawrence has also been a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has taught at Yale University, where he received his PhD in economics. His research focuses on trade policy. He is the author of Crimes and Punishments? Retaliation under the WTO; Regionalism, Multilateralism and Deeper Integration; Single World, Divided Nations?;andCan America Compete? He is coauthor of Has Globalization Gone Far Enough? The Costs of Fragmentation in OECD Markets (with Scott Bradford); A Prism on Globalization; Globaphobia: Confronting Fears About Open Trade; A Vision for the World Economy; and Saving Free Trade: A Pragmatic Approach. Lawrence has served on the advisory boards of the Congressional Budget Office, the Overseas Development Council, and the Presidential Commission on United States-Pacific Trade and Investment Policy.


5.45 PM -  Registrations and Refreshments
6.00 PM -  Introduction
6.10 PM -   Lecture by Prof Lawrence
6.45 PM -  Facts and Figures on Tariffs by Murtaza Jafferjee
7.00 PM -  Q&A with Prof Lawrenece moderated by Murtaza Jafferjee