Sherry M. Stephenson

Senior Fellow

Dr. Sherry M. Stephenson is  a Senior Fellow with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).  Her internationally recognized expertise lies particularly in the area of services trade.  Until end 2012 she was Senior Advisor for Services Trade in the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington DC.

While at the OAS, Dr. Stephenson held various positions, including Director of the Trade Department, Deputy Trade Advisor and Head of Institutional Relations.  She guided the OAS in its support of several negotiating groups during the decade-long Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) negotiations (1995-2004) and was responsible for providing direct assistance to the FTAA Negotiating Group on Services. 

Dr. Stephenson was an Advisor to the Ministry of Trade in Jakarta for three years where she also trained government officials in the content and implementation of the WTO Agreements.  As a member of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), she has provided analytical support to the APEC process.  Previous positions have been with the GATT and UNCTAD Secretariats and with the Trade Directorate of the OECD.  

She has done consulting work for many organizations including The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Commonwealth Secretariat, Forum Island Secretariat, U.S. Agency for International Development and several national governments.  She has lectured in conferences and workshops around the world, educating government officials and members of the trade and development community on topics such as the WTO, regional trade agreements, services trade and global value chains, and has published two books on services and numerous articles.






13 August 2015
The 21 members of the most dynamic regional grouping in the world are on the verge of taking a major step towards raising the prominence of services through their imminent adoption of an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF). The move is particularly notable...

Bridges news

7 March 2017
Neste artigo, a autora discute como o TiSA pode afetar os países em desenvolvimento e identifica possíveis estratégias para que tais países evitem um potencial aumento da segregação nos mercados de serviços como decorrência da implementação do referido Acordo.
29 July 2016
À l’heure des chaînes de valeur mondiales, quels cadres de gouvernance pour les échanges commerciaux ? Nous vivons aujourd’hui dans une économie mondialisée interconnectée, propulsée et tirée par les flux d’investissement. Les chaînes de valeur mondiales (CVM) font intervenir un large éventail d’...
19 July 2016
In today’s globalised economy, understanding global value chains (GVCs) is essential for the development of trade and investment. This article presents a number of options on how the global trade system can promote the effective integration and upgrading of countries in these GVCs Today, we live in...
12 April 2016
Las cadenas globales de valor (CGV) involucran una amplia variedad de actores e instituciones que abarcan un gran número de disciplinas comerciales y de inversión. Esta complejidad ha implicado un reto para los tomadores de decisiones, en tanto se ha vuelto una tarea crítica impulsar un mejor...
10 June 2015
Являются ли глобальные цепочки создания стоимости действительно глобальными? Что они собой представляют и каковы способы их эффективной популяризации? В данной статье рассматриваются эти и другие вопросы. За последние 25 лет модель международной торговли изменилась. Сегодня компании распределяют...
27 March 2015
Que fatores explicam a formação das cadeias globais de valor e quais as suas características? As cadeias globais de valor são realmente globais? Que desafios tais arranjos produtivos colocam às políticas públicas e à OMC? Estas são algumas das perguntas trabalhadas neste artigo.
24 February 2015
El patrón del comercio internacional ha cambiado notablemente durante los últimos 25 años. Actualmente, las empresas distribuyen su operación en todo el mundo, desde el diseño del producto hasta la fabricación de las piezas, su ensamblaje y mercadeo. Esto ha dado lugar a cadenas internacionales de...
3 February 2015
This article considers the various factors that drive competitiveness in services, a critical but often overlooked part of global value chains. In value-added terms, services now account for nearly half of world trade, yet too few African developing countries are taking advantage of the new...
15 November 2013
Two years after the waiver, allowing WTO Members to grant trade preferences in favour of services and service suppliers from least-developed countries (LDCs), no request for such preferences has been put on the table and the waiver still needs to be operationalised. What is preventing countries...
12 November 2013
Los requisitos de contenido nacional o local (RCN) son medidas políticas que normalmente requieren que un cierto porcentaje de los bienes intermedios utilizados en los procesos de producción procedan de fabricantes locales. Los requisitos de contenido nacional en políticas de energía renovable...
25 July 2013
Local content requirements (LCRs) are policy measures that typically require a certain percentage of intermediate goods used in the production processes to be sourced from domestic manufacturers.4 Local content requirements in renewable energy policy serve as either a precondition to receive...
13 August 2012
The emergence of Global Value Chains (GVCs) has produced remarkable changes in the pattern of world trade over the past 25 years. Rather than trade in goods that are produced solely at one location and exported to the consumer in another location, production of goods and, increasingly, services...


 Edited by Sherry Stephenson and Christopher C. Findlay, Asia Pacific Press,2002

Chapters in books, articles, working papers and contributions

Services in the Manufacture of a Car in the Philippines, in “Services in Global Value Chains: Manufacturing-Related Services”, edited by Patrick Low and Gloria O. Pasadilla, APEC#215-SE-01.15, 2015, chapter 9, pp.183-208  

Publication from the World Economic Forum, Chapter on: Regional and Country Perspectives (with Peter Draper, Salim Ismael, Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Wan Meng and Beatriz Leycegui), July 2014

In 2014 the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum celebrates its 25th anniversary in a vastly changed region and world. In Bogor, Indonesia, twenty years earlier, APEC committed to achieve free trade and investment in the region by 2020. In Beijing in 2014, China will again make regional economic integration an APEC priority. These papers draw on two conferences organized by the China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation and are published jointly with the US Asia Pacific Council.
As one contributor put it, APEC earns an “A” for its vision of regional economic integration, but its grade on execution remains “incomplete.” Yet pathways to the Bogor Goals are coming into focus. This book examines the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations from various perspectives, and considers possibilities for their consolidation into a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). It also explores regional connectivity and the proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Experts from nearly every APEC economy explore the benefits and challenges of regional economic integration. Their perspectives differ, but also reveal striking common ground. They offer practical recommendations for the Asian and Trans-Pacific pathways, for ensuring their compatibility, and for promoting their convergence into FTAAP.
This book will be an invaluable reference for readers interested in the prospects for Asia-Pacific economic integration. It testifies to a little-celebrated, but invaluable achievement of APEC: the rise of a sophisticated, international community of experts who understand the region and collaboratively promote its long-term interests.

The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Global Trade and FDI concentrated its work in 2012-2013 on Foreign Direct Investment as a Key Driver for Trade, Growth andProsperity: The Case for a Multilateral Agreement on Investment. The Council built on prior work to identify ways to encourage more foreign direct investment (FDI) in both developed and developing countries as a means of enhancing prosperity worldwide.

The Council reached two main conclusions during its discussions: 1/ different barriers and distortions are preventing the realization of the full potential of FDI and 2/ the current fragmented governance of FDI contributes to the confusing landscape faced by investors and governments.

Council Members hence make a strong case for negotiating a multilateral agreement on investment (MAI).


Sherry Stephenson focuses on the services dimension of global value chains. She demonstrates that services are the “enablers” and provide the link at each point of the manufacturing value chain without which they could not function. These commercial services have been the fastest growing component of services trade; they are collectively constituted by a variety of critical activities including communications services, insurance and financial services,computer and information services and business services, among others. More open services markets allow for more efficient or higher quality distribution and logistics services, thus enabling greater participation in global value chains and world trade. Similarly,better functioning infrastructure services, such as transport, reduce the average times needed to import and export thereby reducing costs while promoting efficiency and reliability. Furthermore, a key objective for MNCs is to shift from manufacture and assembly into design, innovation, R&D, logistics, marketing and branding. Hence intangible things are becoming increasingly important in global value chains.

Key Publications

Collective reports