Good trade in a nutshell
That cooperative solutions to global problems are necessary to prevent conflict — central to the vision behind the Paris Peace Forum — bears repeating in our fractious times.
Among our most pressing global problems is the risk of an economic downturn that could result from a deterioration in cooperation between economic powers. Unilateralism, as a method of addressing our increasing interconnectedness, has shown its limitations. Even worse, it has generated uncertainty, which has translated into pessimism, which in turn, risks ending in another recession. We must redouble efforts to come up with collaborative solutions to ease current tensions, especially in trade. We should always remember the wise words of Frederic Bastiat, the 19th Century French economist, when he reportedly said, “If goods don’t cross borders, soldiers
The Paris Peace Forum maintains a specific focus on governance solutions in six areas: peace and security; development; environment; new technologies; an inclusive economy; and culture and education. What is striking is how interlinked by overlapping circles these issues have become. Multilateralism is what can help these circles deliver virtuous results rather than repeat vicious cycles of poverty, degradation and conflict.
Underlying this is the need to support inclusive growth and economic transformation, which respects the environment and yet is resilient enough to cope with the ecological, social and economic changes at play. That is surely how we should define “good trade”. We need trade “with adjectives”: one that is more inclusive, more sustainable and more responsible.
In a dynamic and interconnected global economy, effective trade mechanisms also require local ownership, long-term sustainability and scale to impact the livelihoods of those most in need. The means of implementing this new agenda must be anchored in revitalized global partnerships with robust governance mechanisms that rally all public and private actors to achieve these goals. Change will only come from the interplay of appropriate policies, ecosystems and investment finance mechanisms.
Multilateralism is what can help these circles deliver virtuous results rather than repeat vicious cycles of poverty, degradation and conflict.
Nowhere is this more apparent and urgent than in small island states in the Pacific, Caribbean and Africa. Mostly dependent on smallholder farming and already marginalized in the global economy, they sit on the frontlines of the climate emergency. Or in small, landlocked economies and fragile and post-conflict states, where the ongoing digital revolution runs the risk of leaving millions behind.
We need Alliances for Action. By bringing together private and public actors, this methodology can support all actors across the value chain — from farmers, to processors, manufacturers, investors and buyers — bridge the knowledge, sustainability and inclusiveness gaps in a participatory manner while ensuring collective action for problem-solving, market and product diversification and inclusive participation in trade.
A collaborative solution takes time and needs to be grown at home. Alliances for Action tackles these challenges at the root, with tailor-made solutions for each country and farming community. This principle means seeking sustainable, long-term and inclusive solutions over simple, short-term
quick wins. It also means prioritizing collective interest over individual interest, minimizing the trade-offs, and working towards a common goal based on trust.
Change will only come from the interplay of appropriate policies, ecosystems and investment finance mechanisms.
Alliances have supported Caribbean coconut farmers move into more lucrative exports of coconut water, turn coconut husks — a significant source of pollution — into renewable energy, and build climate-smart resilience by “intercropping”. Alliances have helped Afghan almond producers join
forces with West African cocoa farmers to produce delicious chocolate. Alliances have helped Liberian women cocoa farmers contribute to the first-ever single origin chocolate bar originating in Liberia. Alliances have supported Ghanaian farmers to reduce their carbon footprint and increase
their living incomes.
Alliances are driven by commerce, place the producer at the centre of the initiative and prioritize systems-based solutions that incorporate all participants across the value chain. This includes consumers who want quality — a quality product, but also quality in the lives of those who made
them. We are proud that the Paris Peace Forum has selected Alliances for Action as one of the governance solutions to be showcased at its 2019 edition.
Multilateralism is the method to address our interconnectedness. Alliances for Action can build a progressive, inclusive economy. That’s good trade in a nutshell.
Views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paris Peace Forum.
Arancha González, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre
Arancha González, an expert in international trade issues with 20 years of experience, has served as Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint development agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, since September 2013. Ms. González, a Spanish
national, has extensive knowledge about international trade and economics, coupled with broad experience in trade and development matters in the public and private sectors, as well as in management at multilateral organizations. Before joining ITC, she served as Chief of Staff to World
Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy from 2005 to 2013. During her tenure at the WTO, she played an active role in launching the Aid for Trade initiative.
Prior to working at the WTO, Ms. González held several positions at the European Commission, conducting negotiations of trade agreements and assisting developing countries in trade- development efforts. Between 2002 and 2004, she was the European Commission spokeswoman for trade and adviser to the European Union Trade Commissioner.