OCT 10, 2017
Qatar Chamber (QC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) participated in this year’s WTO Public Forum, ‘Trade: Behind the Headlines’, held in Geneva at the end of last month.
The forum provided a platform for engagement and deliberation on how trade and WTO can contribute to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, how the benefits of trade can be shared more widely among countries, businesses and individuals and how best to tackle the challenges of the changing trade landscape, a press release by Qatar Chamber said.
The session entitled ‘Building for success: a world trade Agenda for the Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference,’ was organised on the third and last day of the forum under the World Trade Agenda (WTA), a joint initiative by ICC and Qatar Chamber, which mobilises global business to help governments set key multilateral trade negotiation priorities to ease trade facilitation and contribute to economic growth and job creation.
The session presented the newly launched WTA report under the same name which discusses the urgent needs for more liberalisation and better rules in global trade, including what WTO members should focus on in the period before and after the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in December 2017.
Sheikha Tamader al Thani, Director of International Relations and Chambers Affairs at QC, said,”Qatar Chamber is keen to participate in the WTO Public Forum through the World Trade Agenda Initiative due to the importance of this conference in charting the needed directions to facilitate world trade.”
She said that Qatar Chamber has already launched in cooperation with the International Chamber of Commerce the World Trade Agenda initiative, which seeks to assist governments in identifying priority fields in trade and it also launched the WTA ‘Building for Success’ report last March, which included several key proposals that can contribute to strengthening trade around the world’.
Sheikha Tamader added that since the Doha Negotiation Round in 2001, the Qatar Chamber has been exerting great efforts to facilitate international trade.
Sheikha Tamader also praised the close cooperation between Qatar Chamber and the ICC, which has resulted in several initiatives, including the World Trade Agenda initiative, whose recommendations contributed to the conclusion of a historic treaty to facilitate global trade at Bali, Indonesia, in 2013.
Sheikha Tamader pointed that Doha will host the World Trade Agenda Day the next year to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing business leaders and evaluate the role of the private sector in suggesting concrete proposals to that end.
The ‘Building for Success’ session argued that the WTO members should respond to current challenges with renewed action, deploying better defences against protectionism and crafting actions that would have a meaningful impact on trade and economic growth, especially in the area of digital trade policy.
Panellists focused on five important issues highlighted in the report for the WTO and WTO members: trade in non-agricultural goods, trade in services, e-commerce, improved rules on new competition distortions regarding state-owned enterprises, local content requirements and export restrictions and investment.
The SDGs were also a key focus of the discussions in many sessions throughout the three day public forum. The speakers argued that only by enabling a framework of rules for trade and investment, they could hope to achieve the UN SDGs. The SDGs put significant emphasis on the role that trade can play in promoting sustainable development.