By Meerim Shakirova from Kyrgyzstan
Many of us want global trade to be more environmentally friendly, fairer to workers in developing countries and committed to preserving our cultural differences. Environmental activists point out that shipping increases carbon dioxide, something that globalization`s proponents ignore. Others point to the ways in which developed countries have benefited more so than their counterparts in the developing world and argue that global trade is fixed in order to further enrich wealthy countries and further impoverish poor ones.
How can we capitalize the power of trade to end hunger and poverty? Is there any way to make the global trade system towork for the very poor as well as for the very rich? These and other questions were raised during the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' Global Food Security Symposium 2013, which took place on Tuesday in Washington D.C.
During the Panel discussion on new trade ppportunities, it was pointed out that trade is a popular topic of discussion and a great number of proposals were raised regarding the issue. However, we cannot talk about trade without mentioning the WTO (World Trade Organization). The first question that comes to mind is: “Can the WTO provide appropriate trade facilitation?”
Since 1996 the WTO continues to play a vital global role. But this organization cannot force governments to take action. It merely helps the members (currently 159 countries) to identify options that can promote growth in ways that don`t undermine the trading system.
I believe that the WTO needs to be more active and engaged with the business community and regulators in order to ensure that its work on trade issues addresses priorities that will have a significant global impact.
New actions are needed in order to increase integration of global economies.
Can we shift free trade into fair trade? Can we change the systems that we have used for the past sixty years? If so, what do we turn to?
Meerim Shakirova is currently a PhD candidate of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), focusing on Energy Economics. She is a Founder of "SAVE ENERGY" NGO, which is based in Kyrgyzstan.