WTO praises role of services in trade

WTO praises role of services in trade

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
WTO praises role of services in trade

The obstacles should be removed in the international service industry, which plays a great role in global trade, says WTO Director Pascal Lamy.

Politicians and traders must attach more importance to “invisible items of trade” and find ways to remove obstacles in the international service industry, Pascal Lamy, the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said in Istanbul on March 14. 

Speaking at the Economic Development Foundation’s (IKV) Global Value Chains Conference, Lamy said that new statistics showed that services play a greater role in international trade than previously thought.

‘Remove trade barriers’

“According to latest statistics, the service industry accounts for 45 percent of trade,” he said. “The first lesson to take from this is that traders and politicians must attach more importance to service trade. They must work to remove barriers hindering the service trade if needed. The second big lesson is that by limiting your imports you might be killing your exports as well. Export and import are like two sides of a coin.”

Lamy also said that the old-fashioned mercantilist, protectionist mentality still remained in the business sector. “We need to change this mentality,” he said.

Customs problems 

After delivering a speech at Bilgi University, the WTO head, whose tenure ends at the end of August this year, met with Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan and Director of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) Mehmet Büyükekşi, in a meeting closed to the press.

IKV Chairman Professor Haluk Kabaalioğlu, who delivered the opening speech of the conference, said Turkey was experiencing problems because of customs union agreements with the European Union.
Kabaalioğlu said that if the EU signed an agreement with a third country, it also forced Turkey to sign an agreement in addition to this one. 

“The EU acts like it has no agreement with Turkey when it deals with other countries’ trade agreements. The EU does not provide conveniences for Turkey like it does for other countries,” Kabaalioğlu said.