Dubai-UAE: 13 February, 2018 – The final Global Policy Platform on day two of the World Government Summit discussed multilateral, bilateral and regional approaches to trade at a high-level panel that also explored ways to encourage better cooperation.
Titled ‘The Future of Trade and Globalization’, the panel headed by Roberto Carvalho de Azevędo, Director General of the WTO, and His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, drew the participation of Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of the International Trade Center; Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development); and Amina Mohamed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for Kenya.
Discussing the recent political environment with countries trading less freely, Roberto Azevędo said: “We see a lot of reports about shifts in groups of voters – who are going against anything that is foreign, including trade. This permeates from the political environment. I think the wrong answer is to go against trade.”
Concurring with the viewpoint, His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said: “Leaders should not be going against open free trade for their own political gain – and hence trade should not be politicized. In the United Arab Emirates, there are a lot of challenges arising. Going forward, to ensure the best possible movement of trade, we need to focus on building superior infrastructure and framework. We also have the responsibility as a nation to help less developed countries.”
During the session, His Excellency Al Mansouri also reiterated the need for stronger focus on improving regulation and promoting inclusion. Discussing who benefits the most from free trade, Amina Mohamed said: “Trade improves competitiveness, salaries, wealth, among other aspects. It has a crucial role to play in global economics, political and legal issues arising in international business.”
For his part, Roberto Azevędo said that a lot of movements and market trends in economies are not due to trade. He mentioned how most market reactions are responses to new technologies and innovation - such as AI and machine learning – with trade becoming a scapegoat.
The panelists discussed platforms that could heavily impact the future of trade, such as e-commerce.
Roberto Azevędo said: “We have had more than 80 delegations sign up to have discussions about e-commerce, women empowerment, facilitation of investments and support for small and medium enterprises. Platforms such as e-commerce can promote inclusiveness. However, we have to ensure that small and medium businesses are also a part of the discussion.”
Mukhisa Kituyi added: “The digital economy presents numerous opportunities for networking, and represents a large potential which can fix some of the problems of globalization. It can encourage greater collaboration amongst countries – which is significant since international co-operation will pave the way forward.”
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the World Government Summit 2018 runs from February 11 to 13 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event convenes more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 16 international organizations.
Hosting more than 130 speakers across 120 interactive sessions, WGS 2018 features six distinct forums that examine the challenges of vital sectors for the future with a view to finding the best resolutions for the greater global good. Furthermore, over 20 specialized global reports spanning key sectors and topics of the summit will be launched throughout the duration of the event.