Magazine article International Trade Forum

New WTO Director-General Speaks Out: WTO's New Director-General Addresses ITC's Executive Forum on National Export Strategies

Magazine article International Trade Forum

New WTO Director-General Speaks Out: WTO's New Director-General Addresses ITC's Executive Forum on National Export Strategies

Article excerpt

We are in the midst of an unprecedented global trade negotiation, the Doha Development Agenda. But while it's nice to have trade agreements, they must be usable and pragmatic. Countries have to involve the public and the private sectors, which have to be prepared to use the trade agreements. This cooperation will be needed even more in the future because of the complexity of the agreements.

Countries need all kinds of technical assistance to make trade agreements "usable". ITC has been working to integrate the private sector into the full realm of trade activities, to help governments create symbiosis between the private and public sectors. Good public-private sector cooperation is key to successful trade strategy and it will be ever more necessary in the future. I fully support ITC and have high regard for the quality and practicality of its programmes.

A major aim of the Executive Forum is to arm you with the capacity to develop your own strategies. There are four reasons why I think this Executive Forum is really needed.

Uncertainty

The first is the global economic condition. The conclusion of the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook is that we will be confronted by a world full of uncertainties. Stock markets are not going to perform as they did in the 1990s. We are seeing anaemic growth in some of the key economies around the world and structural changes that will take some time to produce sustainable growth. And we have to brace ourselves for some surprises, for geo-political risks.

We must push back any effort to backslide into more protectionism. We have to reconcile our differences and resolve our disagreements in the most peaceful manner so that trade can flourish.

Doha Development Agenda

The second area is the Doha Development Agenda. It is going to be full of old and new issues, some less and some more controversial. …

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