Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School

The University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute hosts an annual Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School (ATEPS). The School was launched in 2019 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

ATEPS 2021

Save the Date: 9-10 September 2021


Due to the disruptions of Covid-19, the Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School happened later than usual, and was run as a blended event, with both in-person and online participation options.


Theme: Advancing Inclusivity and Sustainability through Trade in the 21st Century

Date: Friday 4 - Saturday 5 December 2020 

With keynote speeches by Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister for Trade and Export Growth) and James Shaw (Minister for Climate Change)

Over the past thirty years, we have witnessed significant reduction in tariffs, an increase in APEC’s share of world trade, and a considerable growth in the number of trade agreements. New and increased market access coupled with enhanced enforceability of global trade rules has contributed to increased international openness and economic integration. 

Yet, despite these achievements, we are living in a world where 'uncertainty is the new normal'.Political and trade tensions remain, the reform of the WTO’s dispute settlement process is still unresolved and, as APEC’s economy has grown, so has its environmental footprint.2 Now 2020 has brought with it a new uncertainty. Coronavirus Covid-19 arguably represents the greatest challenge to the global and domestic economies since the financial crisis of 2008, bringing with it increased restrictions on the movement of people, goods and services, falls in business and consumer confidence, and slowing production.

Simultaneously, we are witnessing the EU and some national governments’ attempts to implement a more inclusive and sustainable approach to the process and substance of trade agreements.Driven in part by commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, these initiatives are also a result of public pressure for trade policy to rebuild social licence by responding more effectively to these challenges. As such, Indigenous and social rights, gender equality, climate change mitigation and carbon tariffs, and sharing prosperity are critical issues for “future fit” trade policies. 

Given the Asia-Pacific region's growing economic weight, APEC can play an important role contributing to the global response to these challenges. Looking ahead to New Zealand’s hosting of APEC 2021, the 2020 University of Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School (#ATEPS2020) brings together leading national and international experts on trade policy to discuss what is required to advance inclusive and sustainable trade in today’s highly volatile economic environment. 

ATEPS 2020 features a number of international speakers, including:

  • Rt Honourable Greg Hands (UK Minister of State for Trade Policy)
  • Wendy Cutler (Asia Society Policy Institute)
  • Dr Marion Jansen (OECD)
  • Georgina Wainwright-Kemdirim (Global Affairs Canada)
  • Karsten Steinfatt (World Trade Organisation)
  • Alice Tipping (International Institute for Sustainable Development)

We also hear from a wide range of trade experts from Aotearoa New Zealand, including:

  • Rachel Tauleilei (Kono, APEC)
  • Carrie Stoddart-Smith (Opino Native)
  • Afamasaga Jackie Curry (Spacific Consultancy)
  • Natasha Hamilton-Hart (University of Auckland)
  • Anna Strutt (Waikato University)
  • Collin Tukuitonga (University of Auckland)
  • Fran O'Sullivan (NZME)
  • Mitchell Pham (NZ Digital Council)
  • Maria Bargh (Victoria University Wellington)
  • Amokura Kawharu (NZ Law Commission)
  • Hōne McGregor (Trade for All)
  • Stephanie Honey (NZ International Business Forum)
  • Chris Karamea Insley (Te Taumata)
  • Vangelis Vitalis (MFAT)
  • Rob Scollay (APEC Studies Centre)
  • Rodney Jones (Wigram Capital)
  • Frank Scrimgeour (University of Waikato)
  • Maureen Benson-Rea (University of Auckland)
  • Asha Sundaram (University of Auckland)


1 Dato’ Sri Norazman Ayob, Deputy Secretary General of Industry of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

2 APEC Regional Trends Analysis: APEC at 30: A Region in Constant Change, APEC Policy Support Unit May 2019.

3 (2019); Trade for all - Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy, European Union (2015).





In September 2019, the University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute hosted its inaugural Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School (ATEPS). The School was launched with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and in partnership with the Ministry’s Deputy Secretary Trade and Economic, Vangelis Vitalis.

ATEPS is positioned to be an annual event on the New Zealand trade and economic calendar, attracting internationally recognised leaders and thinkers on trade and economic policy. It brings together trade experts, exporters, business leaders, diplomats, economists, academics, officials, and local and central government politicians – all with an interest in New Zealand’s trade and economic wellbeing.

It is significant that the School takes places in Auckland – the country’s economic powerhouse, contributing 38% of the nation’s GDP and home to many of the service industries that support the country’s exporters and importers.

Hosted by the University’s Public Policy Institute at the Fale Pasifika, ATEPS offers a unique opportunity for attendees to focus on trade and economic policy, hear from contemporary thinkers and leaders, listen to diverse panel discussions, and question and debate the trade outlook for New Zealand, the Asia Pacific, and the world.

ATEPS 2019 began on Friday 6 September with a panel discussion featuring a mix of international and local experts, and an opening address from Trade and Export Growth Minister, the Hon David Parker. The day concluded with a reception for all attendees, and an invitation-only dinner with speakers and supporters. On Saturday 7 September, attendees heard from six international speakers, and had the benefit of a second panel discussion.

ATEPS has attracted high-quality international speakers, including:


2019 Programme

2019 Presentations

Watch the videos from the #ATEPS2019 presentations