News Brief - Issue 01 - 2013
International business consortium makes trade recommendations to G20
On the second day of the Second G20 Sherpas’ Meeting, held in Moscow on 3 and 4 March as part of Russia’s G20 presidency, Alexey Mordashov, Co-Chair of the Business 20 (B20) Trade Taskforce, told delegates that 'Promoting international trade and ensuring that supply chains can continue to evolve efficiently are of the issues of greatest importance and should remain one of the core items of the G20 agenda.
'Myths that trade has a negative impact on local jobs are counterproductive and hinder the development of the world economy,' he continued. 'Experience of recent decades has shown that those countries in which trade barriers are lower and which are actively engaged in the international trade processes have higher growth rate.'
At the same event, the B20 consortium – which represents the views of the international business community – urged the G20 to encourage governments and international organizations to pay particular attention to three particular areas:
- Fighting protectionism by extending the deadline standstill and monitoring protectionism after 2014;
- Trade facilitation by finalizing the wording of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement by September 2013 in order to conclude the final agreement at the Bali WTO Ministerial in December;
- Ensuring compatibility of preferential trade agreements between borders by analysing and preparing a compilation of the existing best practices in this field.
WTO members extend deadline to protect intellectual property
World Trade Organization (WTO) members recently accepted that the deadline for the world’s least developed countries to protect intellectual property could be extended beyond the current deadline of 1 July 2013. The agreement was made by the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), during which WTO members focused on small- and medium-sized enterprises, looking at the links between intellectual property and innovation.
Although there was disagreement on whether the TRIPS agreement should be amended to require inventors to disclose the source of genetic resources they have used when applying for patent protection, members called for an accord to be reached before the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in December 2013. As such, members agreed not to bring ‘non-violation’ complaints against each other on intellectual property until the Bali conference.
WTO members also completed their reviews of the intellectual property laws of the Maldives, which graduated from least developed country status on 1 January 2011, and also Cuba. In addition, they agreed to review the legislation for Russia in June 2013 and Montenegro in October on the basis that these countries have become WTO members.
International Labour Organization report reveals global unemployment rise
On 7 March 2013, the International Labour Organization (ILO) published its annual report Global Employment Trends 2013, which details the latest global and regional information and projections on several indicators of the international labour market. The 2013 report reveals that in 2012 the number of unemployed people worldwide rose by 4.2 million to more than 197 million, a global unemployment rate of 5.9%. Moreover, 39 million workers had dropped out of the labour market. The report also reveals that the number of jobseekers is expected to rise to more than 210 million over the next five years.
Regarding youth population, the ILO figures estimate that almost 74 million people in the 15 to 24 age group are unemployed globally, and that the youth unemployment rate in 2012 was some 12.6%. The report concludes that around 870 million workers worldwide lived with their families on a daily income of less than US$ 2 in 2011, and that a further 660 million workers lived just above the poverty line, on between US$ 2 and US$ 4 a day in the same year.
Australia donates $A 3 million to ITC to increase opportunities for Pacific women
On 11 March, 2013, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) signed a funding agreement worth $A 3 million that will benefit women entrepreneurs in the Pacific region. AusAID will provide the funds to ITC to help support the economic development of women in the Pacific region through increased export and income opportunities.
Providing training, counsel and networking opportunities, the funding will be channelled through ITC’s Women and Trade Programme in order to assist women entrepreneurs from Pacific countries as they seek to break into regional and international markets. ITC will work in partnership with national and regional institutions from the Pacific region in order to ensure participants are best placed to develop the right products, maximize demand, and access markets in the correct manner.
The contribution is part of Australia’s 10-year, $A 320 million initiative to improve the political, economic and social opportunities for women in the Pacific region. The project forms the second phase of ITC’s Women and Trade Programme, which in terms of technical assistance has an overall projected value of US$ 15 million between 2013 and 2016.