The Trade Committee provides a unique forum for senior trade policy officials to build mutual understanding of important policy issues and developments in trade relations. Proceeding through dialogue and peer review, which involves sharing information and exchanging views, among Members, non-Members and other International Organisations, the Committee undertakes policy co-ordination and consultation on topics of mutual interest.
Compared with debates on trade in other international organisations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), debates in the Trade Committee are less formal and legalistic, focusing more on the collective analysis of problems than on the negotiation of final agreements. As in other OECD bodies, convergence toward consensus is the primary objective.
The Committee's views on the evolution of international trade and trade policy are transmitted to the annual meeting of the OECD Council at Ministerial Level. It is common for these ideas to be reflected on the Communiqué issued on that occasion.
Delegates to the Trade Committee are senior trade policy experts of the OECD Member countries. In addition, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong-China, Singapore, the European Free Trade Association, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WTO are observers at the non-confidential parts of the meetings. The Trade Committee generally meets three times per year.