Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan has urged the developed nations to pursue more inclusive policies so that the prosperity gap between the developing and developed nations may be bridged in the foreseeable future. He was delivering the Asia-Pacific Group statement at the Group of 77 & China Ministerial Meeting on the sidelines of the 14th session of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Enumerating the issues resulting in the rising inequality among countries, the Minister said that unequal participation of developing countries in international economic and financial decision making, commodity dependence, debt overhangs, lack of access to required technologies and unilateral coercive measures are some of the long standing challenges which continue to impede developing countries’ efforts to embark on a sustained growth trajectory.
Commenting on the introduction of more complex technologies in the production methods such as 3-D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence, the Minister said that the implications of such technologies for manufacturing, trade and employment patterns are quite uncertain and could have a profoundly negative impact on the organization of global value chains, trade flows and employment prospects in many developing countries.
The Minister said that UNCTAD should focus to reaffirm certain key principles which should underpin principles of policy space, special and differential treatment, and common but differentiated responsibilities.
He was of the view that UNCTAD should ensure to continue its work in all three areas of its mandate, which are consensus building, policy advice and technical assistance.
He also urged the participants to establish new and specialized Working Groups of UNCTAD to, agree on the initiate work on certain emerging issues which could benefit the cause of developing countries.
The Minister in his speech emphasized the importance for the G-77 and China to jointly strive for a balanced, action-oriented outcome from the meeting and bring out collective initiatives that may be taken by the Group to strengthen the capacity of developing counties to negotiate more effectively on trade and economic issues.
He proposed that the Group members may consider taking measures to enhance UNCTAD’s analytical output by establishing a Trust Fund which would be earmarked for research and analysis on issues of urgent concern to developing countries.
He emphasized that the participants of the conference should also recognize the fundamental role of SDGs-focused investment policy, corresponding private-sector investment and a need for international investment reform in achieving SDGs.
He urged the G-77 to redouble its efforts to empower UNCTAD to effectively carry out its broad mandate on economic and trade issues.