Summit puts focus on multilateral trading issues
Manama, April 9, 2014
The "changing balance of power in the multilateral trading system" was the theme of high-level discussions that concluded in Bahrain yesterday.
Organised by Bahrain-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the two-day conference titled "Trade and Flag: The Changing Balance of Power in the Multilateral Trading System" featured two former directors-general of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy and Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, who joined thought leaders in debates on issues including the challenge of regionalism to multilateral trading systems.
Other topics covered were, the emergence of new 'regional' trading blocs, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as well as the consequences of regionalism for global companies that are dependent on global supply chains.
Lamy reviewed what power means in the realm of world trade and said "power, on balance, lies with the importer rather than the exporter".
Dr Panitchpakdi, who's also a former secretary-general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development said "market access doesn't necessarily translate into development."
Tamkeen's chairman and acting chief executive Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa participated in the discussions along with Transportation Minister and Economic Development Board acting chief executive Kamal Ahmed.
"In order to understand the true potential for economic growth, both nationally and regionally, we need to understand some of the key issues that are affecting global and regional markets," Ahmed said.
"It is through discussions such as the ones hosted by the IISS that we are able to bring various issues to the table, as well as discuss them with industry leaders, allowing us to paint a clear picture of the economic situation today.
"We look forward to continued high level forums and conferences hosted by the IISS," he added.
The conference, organised by the IISS Geo-economics and Strategy Research Programme, which studies shifting economic power and geopolitics, is the sixth in a series which have brought world-class experts, statesmen and business leaders to Bahrain.-TradeArabia News Service