As we prepare for World Trade Symposium 2019, taking place this year in New York City in November, it’s imperative to consider the existential threat to
freer, open and rules-based trade that stems from short-sighted political exploitation. More importantly, what we can do to change the nature of the
dialogue and to better tell the story of international trade.
There is no doubt that the recent rise of protectionism and economic nationalism is damaging global trade, and by extension, economic growth, development
and inclusion. The current situation is being driven by a number of factors, including the fact that the benefits of international trade have not been
distributed widely enough.
Lisa McAuley, the CEO of the Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA) was delighted to be part of an Inquiry Committee
of distinguished experts that has today published its Final Report examining the potential of the Commonwealth family of 53 nations to help its poorest
countries and citizens to trade out of poverty, in line with the values of the Commonwealth Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Inquiry Committee –– co-chaired by Lord Jeremy Purvis of the UK and Hon. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment of Nigeria
–– was established by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty and the UK Overseas Development Institute in September last year.
Developments in international trade over the last year and beyond, including those related to NAFTA and the TPP, implications of Brexit on trade, and more
recently, the risk of triggering trade wars through unjustified tariffs, combine to drive a call for informed, fact-based and thoughtful dialogue.
Trumped-up justifications based on alleged national security concerns set a dangerous precedent, putting at risk the progress achieved over decades
in advancing rules-based trade to which most of the globe adheres today.
The benefits of international trade are currently the subject of debate in various contexts, however, it has long been demonstrated that, even with
its systemic imperfections which must be acknowledged, trade has been a powerful driver for economic value creation, inclusion and poverty reduction,
as well as peace and security.
Trade has, until the peak of the global crisis, grown at rates that exceed the pace of global GDP growth, and thus has also been referenced as a driver
of growth of the global economy.
Open, transparent and rules-based international trade are critical to economic prosperity. The Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA) applauds the
70 government’s leading efforts in establishing a work program to set rules for digital trade at the 11th World Trade Organisation’s (WTO)
Ministerial Conference (MC11) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This initiative will put in place a framework to shape the rules of international e-commerce
in the years to come. It includes 70 of the WTO’s 164 members that collectively account for over 75% of global trade, including the United States,
Japan and the European Union.
Government and international institution bureaucrats don’t understand the realities of business.
Businesspeople and entrepreneurs don’t have the first clue about the nuances and intricacies of policy, trade negotiations and geopolitics, or even
the complexities of trade promotion.
These are common perceptions, often cited, from both sides of the “table” in international engagement and trade. Entrepreneurs and business leaders
may have a view that policy specialists and others in the government and international institution side are a bit academic, worrying a great deal
about technical issues that have little to do with the practical realities of competing and succeeding in international markets.
The benefits of international trade are currently the subject of debate in various contexts, however, it has long been demonstrated that, even with its
systemic imperfections which must be acknowledged, trade has been a powerful driver for economic value creation, inclusion and poverty reduction, as
well as peace and security.