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Patel Calls for Development-Oriented Trade Agreements

June 11, 2019

Department of Trade and Industry

11 June 2019

The trade and industry minister, Ebrahim Patel, has told a meeting of G20 trade ministers in Japan that a greater commitment to development-oriented trade agreements was needed.

In a statement, the trade and industry department announced that Patel and communications minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, led a South African delegation to a joint meeting of the Trade and Digital Economy Ministers that discussed the interface between trade and the digital economy.

According to the trade and industry minister, the discussion on the digital economy must be “development-oriented, promote inclusivity, innovation and the emergence of new technologies”.

He added that the rules-based multilateral system had to remain in force and not be replaced with unilateralism.

“The use of the rules-based multilateral system, coupled with necessary reform of the WTO should ensure that the promise of increased trade does indeed and in reality benefit all countries and people. We need a greater commitment to development-oriented trade agreements,” he said.

The minister also called for a multilateral trading system that supports inclusive growth and allows nation states to undertake measures to boost developmental outcomes.

Meanwhile, in another statement on the digital economy meeting, the department reported that the minister highlighted the need for an inclusive multilateral discussion on digital trade and e-commerce.

The minister pointed out that South Africa was developing a national policy on the digital economy “with a view to advance its development objectives and is looking forward to cooperate with all G20 Members to ensure that the digital economy works for all, with a particular focus on African development”.