July Trade Events, Publications Look at SMEs, E-commerce, Services
UN Photo/Kibae Park
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A book by the Asian Development Bank Institute examines the risks and opportunities of trade opening, showcasing Asia as an example of the potential positive force that trade can have on development.

An OECD-WTO publication reflects on the changes brought by digital trade.

UNCTAD hosted an event that considered the role of service trade in fostering inclusive and sustainable development.

July 2017: Several events and publications released in July consider the role of trade in fostering inclusive and sustainable development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Institute published a book that provides guidance for policymakers on how to leverage the benefits of trade to achieve the SDGs. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Review of Aid-for-Trade examined both digital trade and Aid-for Trade’s contribution to the SDGs. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Multi-year Expert Meeting on Trade, Services and Development focused on the development of the services sector.

The ADB book, titled ‘Win-Win: How International Trade Can Help Meet the SDGs’, represents the ADB Institute’s first major contribution to the debate on the SDGs. The book examines the risks and opportunities of trade opening, and highlights Asia as example of the potential positive force that trade can have in development.

The publication describes how, starting in the 1990s, many Asian countries adopted an export-oriented growth strategy, which helped them to attract foreign direct investment and integrate into regional and global value chains. The book explains that the economic growth that followed lifted millions out of poverty and enabled major improvements in other areas of human development, including health and education. The authors conclude that, to date, the benefits of trade opening have outweighed the costs in Asia.

The publication also underscores the need for additional investment in infrastructure to improve access to international markets, including for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are starting to enjoy the benefits of improved connectivity. The authors note that Asian countries are beginning to find new solutions to bridge the finance gap that SMEs face, in order to help them expand more quickly, further boost trade and increase growth in the region.

The Sixth Global Review of Aid for Trade reflected on ways in which Aid-for-Trade contributes to achieving the SDGs.

Also on trade, the OECD held its sixth Global Review of Aid for Trade, from 11-13 July 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland. The session focused on digital connectivity, especially on ways in which e-commerce and digital trade are transforming possibilities for connecting countries to international markets. Participants also reflected on ways in which Aid-for-Trade contributes to achieving the SDGs.

During the Global Review, the OECD and the World Trade Organization (WTO) launched their joint publication, titled ‘Aid for Trade at a Glance 2017,’ which provides an analysis of trade costs and extends it into the digital domain, reflecting the changing nature of trade. The publication identifies ways to support developing countries, especially least developed countries (LDCs), in developing and using the potential provided by trade. It also examines actions taken by governments, development partners and the private sector to promote connectivity for sustainable development, including e-commerce.

From 18-20 July 2017, UNCTAD held the fifth session of its Multi-year Expert Meeting on Trade, Services and Development, which provided a platform for an exchange of views and lessons learned among policymakers, trade negotiators and regulators. The session focused on the policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks for the development of the services sector, including infrastructure services.

Participants discussed ways in which these services lead to structural transformation by enhancing competitiveness, diversification and value chain participation, while contributing to inclusive and sustainable development. For example, services trade promotes higher education and wages, favors greater participation of women and youth, and expands the productivity and export capacity of SMEs. [Publication: Win-Win: How International Trade Can Help Meet the SDGs] [OECD Webpage on Aid for Trade] [Publication: Aid for Trade at a Glance 2017] [UNCTAD Website]

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