Experts Brainstorm On Global Trade Relations At WTD Celebration

Experts on trade and other stakeholders have advocated the adoption of Global Value Chain as an emerging global trend to enhance Nigeria's competitive advantage in the era of trade wars amongst major trading partners. This was the outcome of the 2019 World Trade Day celebration which held under the auspices of the Institute of International Trade and Development, University of Port Harcourt.

The event was organised in concert with the Rivers and Bayelsa State Branch of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium, University Park on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Delivering the keynote address on this year's theme, Global Trends: Opportunities and Strategies, renowned economist, Professor Michael Kwanashie of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, described the intensity of global value chains as a key indicator of global economic integration. “The past decades have witnessed a strong trend towards the international dispersion of value chain activities such as design, production, marketing and distribution,” he said. He added that increased third world participation in global trade would enhance sustainable development and growth amongst emerging economies.

Professor Kwanashie listed promotion of human capital development, facilitating the penetration of modern technology that would accelerate technological processes, improvement of business environment and delivery of infrastructure, removal of domestic capacity constraints and restrictive trade, including investment regimes, as some forward-looking strategies that the Nigerian government could adopt to boost participation in global trade.

Chairman of Rivers and Bayelsa State Branch of MAN, Senator Adawari Pepple, described the theme as very timely, especially against the backdrop of ongoing trade wars. “This theme will help us understand the true position and how we can best harness the opportunities presented by emerging global trends,” Senator Pepple added. He noted that managing risks associated with emerging trends in global trade, geopolitical instability and market volatility in emerging markets would be key to free flow of goods and services across national boundaries.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Professor Regina Ogali who stood in for the Vice Chancellor, noted that WTD offered stakeholders an opportunity to participate in trade-related discussions affecting consumers around the world. “International trade is an important instrument for wealth creation.  The theme is appropriate in the context of global imbalance in trade patterns. There is therefore a need to diversify trade engagements for purposes of raising living standards,” the Vice-Chancellor's address read in part. The event featured a panel discussion and goodwill message from stakeholders.

In his contribution, IITD Director, Professor Sylva Kalu, described global trade as an ever-changing landscape. “Considering the diversity of global markets, understanding each region may be a formidable task. Many a times, local companies think of other markets as an extension of the home market and hence fail to make major inroads into other territories,” he said.

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