unctad.org | Parliaments can make trade a force for good, says UNCTAD Secretary-General
Parliaments can make trade a force for good, says UNCTAD Secretary-General
27 September 2017
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Parliaments can help reverse growing mistrust in the global trading system that is fueling populism by ensuring trade agreements are in line with citizens’ economic and social needs and aspirations, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi has told a public session at the World Trade Organization.

Recent votes -- from the 2016 Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom to last weekend's German federal election -- have shown that more people now blame trade for economic and social woes and fears for the future.

But as representatives of the people, Dr. Kituyi told the WTO Public Forum, parliamentarians can help restore faith in the positive effects of trade because they have the power to amend – or reject if necessary – trade agreements whose benefits might not be fairly shared.

“Our understanding at UNCTAD is that under certain circumstances trade can be a force for good. And I address parliamentarians here today and their potential to grow what is good in trade,” Dr. Kituyi said, adding that too often trade agreements get fast-tracked through parliament without enough debate on the potential negative effects certain provisions could have on different segments of the population.

Mukhisa Kituyi
Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD
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“For too long, we’ve reduced trade to market access. But this must be balanced with a pursuit of collective prosperity,” he said.

Dr. Kituyi was speaking at an opening-day session of the WTO Public Forum focused on how parliamentarians could help ensure the benefits from trade are more fairly shared both within and between countries.

The forum is an annual event held at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s edition runs from Tuesday to Thursday. The theme is “Trade: Behind the Headlines”.


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