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New multilateralism will balance linkages between trade & development: CUTS International

NEW DELHI: International trade should not be looked in isolation and not just in terms of their volume and value but in respect to its linkages with developmental concerns, particularly in regard to access to basic needs, according to Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International.

He was moderating a webinar on Wednesday titled “What would happen to a world without the WTO?” with speakers representing various regions of Africa.

“It is time to take a closer and a more holistic look at the linkages between trade and sustainable development by putting equal emphasis on their economy, equity and environmental dimensions. It should not be a sanctions-based approach but should emphasise on arriving at a positive, forward-looking agenda with social safety nets as its central theme,” Mehta underlined.

According to Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, Executive Director of Dakar-based African Center for Trade, Integration and Development, “We should recognise that the challenges faced by the multilateral trading system are not new. While they may not be in the same form from the beginning, they have evolved over time with changing geo-economic and geo-strategic developments.”

“In order to find solutions to present challenges, we have to manage various perceptions and see how close or far they are from realities. The cotton subsidy issue, which is yet to be resolved is a manifestation of this difference. Going forward, it is important to recognise the needs of the least developed countries by focusing on their capacity to utilise the available policy space,” he added.

Chenai Mukumba, Director of the Southern Africa Regional Centre of CUTS argued that what the Covid pandemic has shown is a kind of a glimpse of a world without a rules-based system. As a result of stoppage of trade, commodity-dependent countries are facing huge difficulties and that is started getting reflected in other important areas such as food security.

This was the third of a series of webinars on this subject being organised by CUTS International, a global public policy think- and action-tank promoting consumer welfare through trade, regulations and governance.

Source : https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/new-multilateralism-will-balance-linkages-between-trade-development-cuts-international/articleshow/76616227.cms