WEDF 2012 puts focus on the rise of growth economies

15 October 2012
ITC News
WEDF 2012: Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today opened the annual World Export Development Forum, which this year is held in Jakarta under the theme ‘Linking Growth Markets: New dynamics in global trade.’

Opening this year’s WEDF at the Shangri-La hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for the revival of the WTO-led Doha Development Round, and for the need to bring back growth through increased trade and economic development.

Pointing out that in only ten years, developing and emerging economies had increased their share of global trade from 33% to 46%, the President underlined that the drivers of economic growth are increasingly found in the Southern hemisphere. But he also stressed the importance if tackling barriers to trade, in particular non-tariff measures, and that these tended to be higher in South-south trade than in trade between developing and developed countries.

The president also argued that more needs to be done to improve both hard and soft infrastructure, and that small and medium-sized businesses had to be better integrated into the global value chain.

ITC Executive Director Ms Patricia Francis said that, despite the on-going global economic crisis, there are bright spots of growing markets and that these are found in South-South trade. She pointed to a research paper published by ITC last week, which suggests that trade from sub-Sahara Africa to Asia will grow by 14% each year in the coming decade.

Ms Francis nevertheless warned that for South-South trade to be sustainable, investments are needed in new capabilities, trade facilitation, infrastructure, and trade finance. She also called on the South to become a real partner rather than a bystander in the process. “We know that trade benefits everyone, and now we have an opportunity to create a new model, one that breaks the cycle of dependency, is inclusive of women and the poor, and creates real and long-lasting partnerships,” she said.

Indonesia’s Minister of Trade Mr Gita Irawan Wirjawan pointed out that by 2030, emerging economies will contribute to 60% of global GDP and that Indonesia would play major part in this shift. He said that countries needed to overcome obstacles to trade, and through increased efficiency and inclusive growth, the spill-over effects would be felt beyond national borders.

Read the full report from the WEDF opening session.