Trade plays an important role in driving economic productivity, investment and growth, and has the potential to create better jobs, increase wages, and improve working conditions. And yet, 2014 marked the third consecutive year in which global trade volumes grew less than 3%. Trade and investment, the twin and complementary engines for reviving the world economy, are lagging behind.
This new OECD inventory puts the spotlight on almost 800 spending programmes and tax breaks that governments use to encourage the production or use of fossil fuels. These policies are found in both our member countries and in key emerging economies at national, state and provincial levels.
The scope and ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals offer a unique opportunity for ending poverty, protecting our environment, and realising sustainable development for all. What brings us together today is the belief that trade will play a critical role in making this happen. It is, therefore, my great pleasure to present the joint OECD/WTO Aid for Trade at a Glance publication, which focuses on reducing trade costs.
Today’s seminar provides us with an opportunity to take a deeper dive into the analysis and the policy lessons that are emerging from our collective work on GVCs – especially as relates to the challenges and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, and low income countries. Our discussions today will inform a report to G20 Trade Ministers in Istanbul this October.
After several false starts, recovery from the global financial crisis seems to be finally, if tentatively, taking hold. Helped by the fall in oil prices, the outlook has brightened in recent months. While there is still a long distance to travel, the Japanese economy is responding to bold, coordinated policy action. The three arrows of Abenomics are starting to bear fruit.
The G20 needs to go structural, social, and green! With fiscal and monetary policy room nearly exhausted, structural reforms are the best choices, sometimes the only choice. The OECD battle cry in this regard has been unchanged since 2008: “go structural!”.
Trade policies need to be embodied in effective structural policies to turn potential opportunities into real gains. This is why the OECD so strongly supports the Australian G20 Presidency efforts to better reflect trade and investment as essential elements of a strong, balanced and sustainable framework for growth, jobs, and development, said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
A good produced in the European Union and exported to the United States may include raw materials from China, Australia, and Malaysia, and it may use services from Japan, Canada, and India. Goods and services are no longer produced in one country and sold to consumers in a second country; production is fragmented around the world and components are traded across borders multiple times.
Mr Gurría said the trade facilitation agreement at the core of the new package would cut red tape and speed border crossings worldwide, offering an important boost to world trade and the global economy. "As OECD work has highlighted, the benefits of lowering costs for traders are significant, and are particularly welcome today, given the slow growth seen in so many countries," Mr Gurría said.
Trade and investment are a key source of growth and an area where the G20 can be credited with important achievements, such as the standstill and the rejection of protectionism. Further trade liberalisation can be a powerful, timely, non-debt stimulus to the world economy, said OECD Secretary-General.