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.





Bridges news

7 Março 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.
27 Março 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.


 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