The Global Trade Professionals Alliance enjoyed a successful and memorable launch at the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium hosted by our friends at the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development. The launch took place on the periphery of the 11th Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization – a perfect setting at this moment in history, to initiate a global alliance committed to advancing the professional practice of all aspects of international trade.
Equally importantly, the network development and advocacy elements of our mission and mandate have been given visibility, including through a submission to the UK Parliament “Trade out of Poverty” inquiry, where we link professionalization and technical competency to trade-related inclusiveness. This is only the beginning of the advocacy work we will support, enable and engage in, at a time when the benefits of trade must be highlighted, articulated and vigorously defended.
Trade, and the global architecture for trade, investment and international business, are imperfect. The benefits of trade have helped hundreds of millions of people improve their standard and quality of life, yet it is clear that the benefits should have been more widely and equitably distributed. That acknowledgement will help set a path for the evolution of trade for the next century, and such a transformational moment is perfect for the launch of the GTPA.
We are a start-up, and yet, the proposition represented by the GTPA has been so compelling that we have attracted support and interest from world-class professionals, top-tier associations and senior business and political leaders from around the world, as we set a foundation for the Alliance. Our call for Working Committee members to help develop competencies across a range of trade activities has brought together an unparalleled group of specialists prepared to invest their time and energy with us to advance the practice of trade around the world.
The Working Committees will report to the Executive Director and the International and Technical Advisory Committee, with the ITAC likewise composed of executive leadership from around the globe. The ITAC will oversee the development of competency frameworks for a range of specialist areas including trade management, trade finance, regulation and compliance, trade policy and numerous others, and will actively work to develop the international footprint of the GTPA and our proposition.
The GTPA will selectively invite luminary leaders around trade and international business to join us as Honourary GTPs, a designation granted for life based on outstanding and exemplary contributions to the advancement of global commerce.
Our first honouree is Dr. Harsha Vardhana Singh, founder of the Institute for Trade and Institutional Policy in Delhi, whose contributions have included leading Brookings India, serving as Senior Fellow at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and former Deputy Director General at the WTO among others. The honour has also been conferred upon Mr. John Denton, AO, Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Australia’s leading independent law firm. John is Chair of the Business Council of Australia’s Global Engagement Taskforce, a Board member of Asialink and The Australian Ballet; Chairman Emeritus of the Experts Group on Trade and Investment in Indonesia and a founding member of the Australia China CEO Roundtable meetings. John serves as First Vice-Chairman of the Paris based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and is a member of the ICC G20 CEO Advisory Group, among numerous other activities and commitments.
Our launch in Buenos Aires has been a success, and the setting, both in the context of the MC-11 and in a market – Argentina – seeking enthusiastically to re-engage in the international community, was perfectly suited, reflecting the potential of a new global body with the energy of a nation reconnecting with the world.
The preparations for the launch of the GTPA have been intense, the launch itself worthy of the vision and its potential.
That, however, was 2017.
This is the New Year, and now the real work begins – to deliver on an audacious global vision that will support the advancement of fair, inclusive rules-based and multilateral trade, that will drive tens of trillions in economic value, and that will underpin a new level of inclusion around the world, both through traditional frameworks for trade, and through fast-growing technology-enabled, platform-based international commerce.
2018 will be a fantastic year. Join us on the journey.