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

Due to Level 4 Lockdown, ATEPS 2021 has been postponed. It will now take place from 8-9 December 2021. If we are at Level 1, it will be held in person. If at Level 2 or above, it will be an online event.

Date: TBC

Resetting trade rules and norms in the context of Covid19  

In the past year there have been multiple calls from international organisations and political leaders for a resetting of trade arrangements and increased cooperation. Geopolitical tensions globally and regionally present challenges for these aspirations as do the realities of ongoing border closures and the variable effects of other domestic policy settings.  

Nevertheless, the advent and persistence of COVID19 has created a space for new conversations and action around international trade rules, the connections between trade and health, digital trade regulations and, perhaps most significantly, the ongoing importance of advancing a greener trading system. How realistic is this idea of a reset, what might a refreshed WTO look like? Will old trade wars continue to loom large for the Asia Pacific region, and what needs to be part of a sustainable trade agenda for the future? 

The 2021 Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School (ATEPS) features a range of local and international experts who will address these questions over two days in the Fale Pasifika at the University of Auckland (9-10 September). 

Below you can find a draft programme, list of speakers, and a link to the registration page. We look forward to welcoming you and if you have any questions, please don’t hestitate to contact us on 

Speakers include:

  • Hon Damien O'Connor (Minister for Trade and Export Growth) 
  • His Excellency Peter Ryan (Irish Ambassador to New Zealand) 
  • His Excellency Ignacio Llanas (Chilean Ambassador to New Zealand) 
  • Her Excellency Laura Clarke, OBE (British High Commissioner) Caroline Lambert (Head of Trade and Economic Section, Delegation of the EU to New Zealand) 
  • Associate Professor Shiro Armstrong (Australian National University) 
  • Arihia Bennett (CEO, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu) 
  • Associate Professor Maureen Benson-Rea (University of Auckland) 
  • Professor Claire Charters (University of Auckland) Dave Christie (Tainui) 
  • Professor Sara Davies (Griffith University) 
  • Professor Peter Drysdale (Australian National University) 
  • Professor Natasha Hamilton-Hart (University of Auckland) 
  • Stephanie Honey (Honey Consulting) 
  • Professor Jane Kelsey (University of Auckland) 
  • Alex Larson (Air New Zealand) 
  • Yvonne Lucas (NZPECC) 
  • Brian Lynch (NZPECC) 
  • Graeme Muller (NZTech)
  • Dr Stephen Noakes (University of Auckland) 
  • Professor Robert Patman (University of Otago) 
  • Professor Michael Plummer (Johns Hopkins University) 
  • Associate Professor Rob Scollay (APEC Studies Centre, University of Auckland) 
  • Harriet Shelton (Ministry of Transport, Head of Supply Chains) 
  • Carrie Stoddart-Smith (OpinioNative) 
  • Professor Anna Strutt (University of Waikato) 
  • Vangelis Vitalis (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) 

With more information and the full programme coming soon.

Draft Programme


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