NEWSLETTER ISSUE #3/2017       

TRADE at the WTO

The TRADE research entity was well represented at the 16th annual WTO Public Forum held in Geneva Switzerland in September 2016. One of the WTO’s flagship events, the Public Forum had as its theme ‘Inclusive Trade’, which is widely viewed as a global imperative as countries become increasingly divided and marginalised groups vent their anger over what they perceive to be the harmful effects that globalisation has had on their lives.

Prof Wilma Viviers (WTO Chair holder) and Prof Sonja Grater participated in a session on SMEs, services and sustainable development, which they had organised together with the ICTSD (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development). In her presentation, Prof Viviers spoke about the paradigm shift that has been taking place in global production, noting that value chains are increasingly driving trade and investment decisions. Prof Grater highlighted the challenges experienced by small businesses in the regional and global trading environments, but stressed that the services sector was proving to be a source of much untapped opportunity – particularly for SMEs in poor countries – provided there was a supportive policy environment.

At a session organised by the WTO Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) for delegates from WTO Chair host organisations, Prof Derick Blaauw delivered a paper (co-authored with Dr Anmar Pretorius and a colleague from the University of the Western Cape) on the impact of the recycling industry on poverty levels in South Africa’s informal sector. Specific reference was made to waste pickers who operate on the fringes of the economy but are in fact integral to the recycling value chain.

In November 2016, Prof Wilma Viviers was back in Geneva, this time to attend the annual WTO Chairs Conference and to attend the launch of a WTO book, Trade costs and inclusive growth: Case studies presented by WTO Chair holders. Proffs Ermie Steenkamp, Sonja Grater and Wilma Viviers contributed a chapter to the book titled ‘Streamlining South Africa’s export development efforts in sub-Saharan Africa: A Decision Support Model approach’, which looks at how the Decision Support Model (DSM) simplifies the market selection process by eliminating those markets that are too difficult to penetrate in the face of excessive barriers to trade. In this way, the DSM is an ideal accompaniment to countries’ trade facilitation efforts.

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Issue #3/2017

Issue #2/2016

Issue #1/2015