QATAR. The Director General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, outlined the necessary steps to facilitate greater inter-Arab region trade, during a panel discussion at the thirteenth quadrennial session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII).
The event brought together leading economists and prominent members of the region’s business community to consider what lessons had been learned from the Arab Spring.
The Director General acknowledged the “timeliness” and “critical nature” of the discussion. He said: “The Arab Spring reminds us of one fundamental economic viable – unemployment remains a major social, economic and political challenge”.
Noting that Arab states have “lagged behind” the rest of the world in employment levels for the last two decades, he said the lack of capacity to export locally produced goods and materials is an imperative concern that needs to be addressed.
In his conclusion, Pascal Lamy called for private sector driven processes to shape trade policies, the reduction of bureaucracy as an obstacle to free-trade, and the efficient administration of trade through national development policies.
He said: “If this has worked elsewhere in the world, my conclusion is that it will work here too.”
Also speaking at the event was Hassan Khalifa Al Mansouri, Executive Director of Qatar Export Development Agency, who stressed on the need to “further the reach of Qatari exports”.
About UNCTAD XIII
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will hold its thirteenth session (UNCTAD XIII) at the ‘Qatar National Convention Centre’ in Doha from 21 to 26 April, 2012. It represents the first time that UNCTAD has been held in the Arab region. UNCTAD XIII will provide an opportunity for wide-ranging debate and reflection on the state of the global economy and the major economic challenges facing developing countries, particularly in light of recent economic and social crises.
A series of events will precede and run in parallel with UNCTAD XIII. These include the Civil Society Forum (17 to 25 April) that will gather some 400 representatives of non-governmental organizations from around the world; the first Global Services Forum (19 April), which will unite actors from the economic sector as well as government officials; and the third World Investment Forum (20 to 22 April), which will be attended by political decision makers and high-level officials of global corporations, including Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board of Nestlé.