So much content to share from today. I will capture the highlights below. If anyone would like more information from today’s sessions, please get in touch – I would be delighted to share!

The Launch of the WTO World Trade Report 2019 discussed how trade in services has evolved since WTO established in 1995 – now vital to international trade. Services trade matters to create welfare gains for society through efficient allocation of resources, economies of scale, boost competitiveness, employment & inclusiveness.  The report reviewed 4 major trends impacting the future of services; digital technologies, demographic changes, rising incomes & climate change. “Knowledge is the base & education is the key”. Link to report

Think small first: How to make the WTO & International Trade fit for MSMEs. When MSMEs enter international markets, benefits are reinvested within the society. Less than 10% SMEs export. Thus desire to support informal working group, placing all MSMEs at heart of international trade. Think small first when developing trade policies – Mike Cherry (FSB) .“MSMEs need the right environment & the right support system”. Reduce costs for small firms with overhaul approach to customs, currently favouring those who ship in large volumes. Equip small firms with the tools they need to succeed to go global. Those who export are more innovative. He advocates WTO members work together to update modern WTO trade book with MSMEs to address barriers to trade to design the right policy.  Link to report.

Building on the timeless principles of International Trade to be relevant in the future. Governments need to get behind businesses to focus on what will increase trade, prosperity and jobs. Without this you will get stuck. Liberalisation of trade is required, removing barriers to trade, have a rules based trade providing certainty for businesses how they can trade. WTO allows developing countries to engage & connect in global market chains so small countries are not rule takers, but involved in rule making. WTO must make a greater contribution to the challenges of our times – sustainable development.

Next Chapter of WTO; WTO Reform good for redevelopment. The debate has been complicated by US attacking principle of infringement. Incomplete work of the past to be the first thing to be addressed to deliver transparency. Rule of power cannot replace rule of law.

Multilateralism 2.0 – A new social contract & a global green new deal. Multilateralism is in crisis. A multilateral system to deal with global green new deal is required. Advanced economies have responsibility & resource to address climate change & support developing countries. Trade agreements to action global social issues, with open trade requiring increased carbon emissions, change in production methods are crucial. Further reading


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