Rethink necessary on trade strategies and goals
Trade strategies in the wake of the financial crisis need to focus on long-term sustainable growth, rather than short-term fixes. That is according to Ms. Patricia Francis, Executive Director of ITC, as she opened the proceedings of the first full day of the World Export Development Forum 2010 (WEDF) in Chongqing, China.
Ms. Francis warned the audience of 300 business experts that short-term thinking could lead to protectionism and loss of trust and confidence because of a focus on avoiding risk rather than on making things happen.
Keynote speaker Professor Pankaj Ghemawat told participants that in order for countries to make progress in trade, they must address three key issues: the real extent of globalization; the extent of barriers constraining trade; and understanding the broad gains that trade can deliver.
Professor Ghemawat also identified five features that are needed to facilitate trade not only in the current financial climate, but in times of global economic stability, as well. The five items are: a common language; membership of a regional trading bloc; a relationship between former colony and colonizer; a common currency and a land border.
“Countries that share all five elements,” said Professor Ghemawat, “will trade significantly more than countries which do not share them.”
During the plenary session “The State of World Trade”, experts including the Minister of Trade from Indonesia, Dr. Mari E. Pengestu, and the Minister of Trade and Industry from South Africa, Dr. Rob Davies, were agreed that dynamic growth could be expected in the emerging markets in the developing world, with a particular emphasis in South-South trade which is expanding at twice the rate of global trade.
The remaining two days of the WEDF will continue to focus on the state of world trade in the post-crisis era. ITC is the joint agency of World Trade Organization and the United Nations and is devoted to helping SMEs in developing countries become more competitive in global markets.