WTO official warns against protectionism
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
DAILY NEWS photoThe World Trade Organization (WTO) is doing everything in its power to combat the growing tendency toward protectionism, according to Harsha Sing, the deputy general director of the international trade regulator.
“It is very important to increase the opportunities to keep the markets open at a time while more and more restrictions are [being put in] place,” Sing told the Daily News. “Countries now realize the value of keeping markets open as much as possible.”
The World Trade Organization (WTO) Deputy General Director Harsha Sing was visiting Turkey to attend a conference on new-generation free trade agreements organized by the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV).
Sing told the Daily News on the sidelines of the event that WTO members were focused on keeping the trade market as open as possible. “Normally, people tend to look at trade as exports. But trade linked to imports is enhancing efficiency as well.”
Sing said it was crucial for Turkey to be an active player in the economic system because that would preserve stability and predictability for its trade and investment relations.
“Turkey is a vibrant economy which has immense potential. Turkey is putting a lot of focus on its trade with the EU, but there are multiple opportunities for Turkey, such as linking up … with other parts of the world, supplying chains and different parts of the services to different partners,” Sing said.
Sing said Turkey had 19 trade agreements that have already been reported to the WTO and is currently working on 20 more.
At the same time, however, Sing said it was occasionally difficult to harmonize the agreements with the system, adding that new regional trade agreements needed special attention.
Sing said the importance of developing countries was increasing in the global political and economical order.
“The rising economies want more right to speak in the international decision-making processes. And the developed countries want the developing countries to take more responsibility. The developing countries say they have an obligation [to develop], and they don’t want to take too much responsibility. This is why we are having difficulties in trade negotiations,” the official said.