From WTO DG Pascal Lamy's opening statement at the Ministerial Conference:
... We also need to look at the real drivers of today’s and tomorrow’s world trade, at today’s and tomorrow’s obstacles to trade, at today’s and tomorrow’s trade patterns, at how to keep transforming trade into development, growth, jobs and poverty alleviation. In sum, we must equip the WTO with XXI century software.
In order to facilitate this discussion, in 2012 I will be convening a “panel of multi-stakeholders of the WTO” to analyse all these elements and report to the entire Membership by the end of next year. I believe this can provide a useful contribution to your own reflections in what is, and should remain, a Member-driven Organization.
Not that they are taking requests, and the panel has not even been convened yet, but I'm curious what this panel might come up with on the following question: What is the purpose of international trade agreements? To bring that question into focus a bit, let me get specific about one of the terms used in the opening statement: What's the definition of an "obstacle" to trade?