GENEVA, March 28 (KUNA) -- New ideas are needed to fit the changing
circumstances of world trade and to ensure that the economic growth spurred by
these international exchanges results in benefits that are spread widely,
speakers said on Wednesday at the start of a two-day meeting on redefining the
role of the government in tomorrow's international trade.
"Innovative, forward-looking approaches and ideas" are needed, said Anabel
Gonzalez, Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, who served as Chair of the
The gathering, described as a policy dialogue, is an official
pre-conference event of the UNCTAD XIII quadrennial conference that will take
place from 21 to 26 April in Doha Qatar.
Experts addressing the meeting repeatedly tied their comments to the UNCTAD
XIII theme, "development-centred globalization."
Gonzalez noted that major shifts have occurred in trade patterns in recent
years, led by burgeoning "South-South" commerce - that is, trade between
developing countries - which she said "is expanding with such speed that it
will soon become the mainstream of international trade flows." Liberalized
trade rules, more sophisticated and widespread information and communication
technology, advances in transport, and "fluid capital mobility" are also
influencing the way trade is carried out, she said.
In addition, she said, trade is being affected by "challenges on a global
scale, ranging from climate change to the energy resource crunch and food
security concerns, that require a paradigm shift in industrial and
agricultural production processes." UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Petko
Draganov, who gave the opening address, said the "rapidly altering landscape
of the international economy" requires a re-assessment of the character and
role of trade as a source of economic growth.
The past assumption that improved market access and intensified links
between developing countries and the global economy are sufficient to broadly
raise living standards often has not been borne out, he said.
Rising income inequality even during periods of strong growth in trade has
indicated that "a more inclusive future" requires an approach that links
strategies for trade to goals for social and economic equity, he said.
Draganov told the meeting that attention is needed not just to recent
trends in world trade but to the process by which trade strategies are set
"that is, how best the interests and the needs of different sectors of society
are brought into the formulation of forward-looking trade policy at the
national and international levels."
Panel debates will cover such topics as mapping the challenges for
governments, export diversification in the twenty-first century, the
government and the business sector in trade policymaking, an inclusive process
for trade policymaking and a twenty-first century trade agenda. (end)
KUNA 281511 Mar 12NNNN