Forum Confirms Commitment to Export-Led Growth
The 11th World Export Development Forum (WEDF) wound up here today with the more than 300 delegates from 60 countries expressing optimism about trade growth in the post-crisis era and reaffirming their commitment to the export-led growth model.
Two days of intensive discussion covered topics including the current state of world trade; boosting competitiveness through innovative financial mechanisms; the new realities of the global supply chain; the importance of strategic partnerships for business success; emerging private standards and their impact on trade; the need to empower women in business to power trade; and thinking ahead and planning for the short and long-term future.
In the closing plenary session, Mr. Long Yongtu, Secretary-General of China’s Centre for the Study of the G20, said that despite some criticism from developed countries, China’s reliance on exports would continue. “China needs to rely on exports as the engine of economic growth and poverty reduction,” Mr. Long told the Forum.
However he also said: “It is our intention to gradually turn China from an export-led growth pattern to a domestic consumption growth pattern. That is the intention, but it will take time.”
ITC Executive Director Patricia R. Francis, in her closing statement, said the mood of the meeting was optimistic: “It helps that we are seeing positive signs of recovery. It also helps that you are all adopting the outstanding Chinese characteristic of pragmatism, which helps us to see and realize the opportunities in this crisis,” she said.
She described a number of conclusions reached during the meeting:
That the world was still perhaps not as globalized as some people thought, and this meant there were opportunities for business to exploit;
That the large emerging economies will need to balance growth of domestic demand with boosting exports;
That companies and countries should focus on increasing the value rather than the volume of exports;
That regional integration was vital, particularly in Africa and small island regions such as the Caribbean and the Pacific;
That South-South trade between developing countries and emerging markets will become one of the most important drivers for trade and growth;
That companies and countries need to think long-term and incentives should be devised to encourage this;
That the trade in services will expand, and tourism represents an easy entry for many least developed countries.
Ms. Francis announced that while the Forum was going on, agreement had been reached on a four party collaboration between ITC, the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM), the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), and the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission (COFTEC).
A comprehensive 10-point work plan would be implemented in the coming years covering areas including market analysis, sector development programmes and business match-making.
A second important initiative had resulted from a roundtable meeting for senior executives on gender-specific procurement. This was the establishment of the Chongqing Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors. This aimed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practice on sourcing from women vendors and increase women’s share of corporate, government and institutional procurement.
After the announcements, Mr Li Jian Chun, the Director of COFTEC, said of the four party collaboration: “This must be a prototype and success story of Chongqing in export development.” His deputy, Professor Li Shirong, said of the Platform of Action: “Knowing each other is the beginning; coming together is progress; working together is success.”
Chongqing is China’s 4th municipality and one of the country’s fastest growing cities. Tomorrow participants at the Forum will have the opportunity to visit a number of businesses in the city before departing.