Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ransford Smith on 24 April will moderate a high-level panel on inclusive development and the international trading system, which takes place in Doha, Qatar, on the fourth day of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Eminent panellists include Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, and Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ministers from India, South Africa and Nepal will also participate in discussions around the contribution of trade to sustained and inclusive growth and development.
The panel will consider fresh approaches to trade liberalisation and rule-making, in the context of shifting global economic patterns over the past decade which has seen emerging economies of the South experience substantial growth at a time of massive slowdown in the industrialised North.
Regulation has been one of the key obstacles preventing poorer economies benefiting from growth in countries such as India, South Africa, Brazil and China. The panel will discuss what development agendas and policies – such as productive capacity and labour market policies – are needed to ensure that least developed countries can best gain from trade liberalisation.
The second session will focus on the international trading system and how to address challenges to enable inclusive and sustainable development. Importantly, panellists will look at how to move towards achieving a new multilateral consensus following the stalled Doha Development Round - the trade negotiation round of the WTO - which commenced in 2001.
Mr Smith said: “The international trading system has become considerably more complex, polarised and regionalised. New trade issues have emerged, while development challenges persist.
“The task we have is to consider how to achieve coherence, and at the same time, ensure that the smallest, poorest and most vulnerable countries are not left behind. The potential for South-South co-operation is integral to this.”