Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised a Public Lecture on “Knowledge to Share, Planet to Care” on 6 January 2018 in Dhaka. Mr Pascal Lamy, former director general of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Special Envoy of the French Government, delivered the lecture.
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Published in The Daily Star on Sunday, 7 January 2018
Better domestic policies to boost trade
Says former WTO director general Pascal Lamy
Better domestic policies are important for a country to benefit from trade, former WTO director general Pascal Lamy said yesterday.
“I do believe trade opening brings benefit on the number of conditions that has to be made,” Lamy said.
“Some of these solutions are international. There is an issue of the fairness of the global trade regime and it is only partially been addressed in the recent decades.”
There remain flaws in international role, not all by developed countries, he told a public lecture on “Knowledge to Share, Planet to Care” organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a local think-tank, at Khazana Gardenia Banquet Hall in Dhaka.
But most of the solutions lie with domestic policies, said Lamy, who is now the special envoy of the French government.
He also stressed the need for policies such as competition policy, industrial policy, welfare policy and social security polices to reap benefits from trade.
Lamy is now visiting Dhaka to win support from Bangladesh for France’s candidature to host World Expo-2025 which bears the theme of sharing knowledge and caring for the planet.
He said there was consensus that economic development leads to more welfare and brings less social and political conflict.
People have been living and acting together in the planet for a long time. “This positive relationship is somehow broken,” he said.
He said the world economy faces two major challenges – rise in inequality and environmental degradation.
“We should acknowledge we have not addressed these in recent decades,” he said, adding that a rise in inequalities was leading to an increase in social and political tension in many places.
Degradation of the environment also creates anxiety, he said.
Inequality is mostly a domestic issue, he said and suggested for addressing it through policies focusing on education, health, housing and taxation.
There are local problems and solutions should also come locally, he said.
On environmental degradation and climate change, he said it has to be addressed at the national level. But doing it alone will not work, he said, citing issues on protecting the oceans from pollutions which necessitate global action.
Migration now is also a cause for global concern, said Lamy, emphasising on sharing knowledge.
“Knowledge is easier to share,” he said. “We, the French, like Europeans, have a concept that knowledge of science has to be open.”
CPD Chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan said there was an enormous amount of knowledge to be shared.
He also stressed ensuring a just global trading system, citing that a shirt sold at $5 by manufacturers here is priced at $25 at retails in the west.
Sobhan suggested increasing the share of producers in the value of products.
Published in The Financial Express on Sunday, 7 January 2018
Inequalities, environment at centre of tensions worldwide
Pascal Lamy draws global battle lines
Rising inequalities and degradation of the environment are the two rogues at the root of tensions and conflicts in the present-day world, according to global-trade expert Pascal Lamy.
“Two biggest issues of today’s world that are yet to be addressed is the rise in inequalities and degradation of environment,” the former head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said at a function in Dhaka Saturday.
Mr Lamy, now in Bangladesh as Special Envoy of the French Government, drew the battle lines for the nations at a public lecture arranged by Bangladesh’s leading think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
“While the issue of inequality can be addressed locally or at the national level, the issue of environment cannot be addressed without collective global effort,” he said about the strategies of the common fight to achieve a secure planet for humankind.
He is here to spearhead a campaign for the French bid to host the World Expo 2025, the theme for which Paris has proposed as ‘Sharing our Knowledge, Caring for Our Planet’.
“Issues related to protection of environment, oceans or biodiversity are such that they cannot be done on a single-nation basis,” Mr Lamy told his Dhaka audience while explaining the proposed theme for the world exposition.
Asked about possible implications of the recent US move to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, the French special emissary observed that although the gesture is a bit worrying, it should not jeopardize the whole initiative.
“This is because addressing climate change is no more in the hands of the governments alone. Now, we operate with a diverse set of actors.”
Pascal Lamy, who had overseen the global trade regime as Director-General of the WTO for two terms, also observed that the major concern for the world-trade body in the near future should be the protection of consumers.
“While a few decades ago, the main focus of WTO was centered on the producers, the focus would be shifted to the protection of consumers in the near future,” he said-thereby underlining the concept of welfare economy with a human face.
The former WTO chief also observed that domestic policies can play a big part in ensuring that open trade benefits all.
“The benefits of open trade depend on a number of conditions- some of which deal with global trade regime. But most of the issues related to ensuring open-trade benefits lies with domestic policies,” he added.
Chairman of the Centre for Policy Dialogue Professor Rehman Sobhan, Distinguished Fellow Professor Mustafizur Rahman and Executive Director Fahmida Khatun also spoke on the occasion.
Published in Dhaka Tribune on Sunday, 7 January 2018
Pascal Lamy: Inequality causing frustration among the new generation
Ibrahim Hossain Ovi
The former WTO chief has come to Bangladesh to seek vote in favour of his country (France)
World Trade Organization (WTO) former director general (DG) Pascal Lamy has said the rise of inequality has been creating tension and frustration, especially among the new generation, and this problem needs to be addressed through policies at the local level.
The special envoy for the French government came up with the remarks at a public lecture titled “Knowledge to Share, Planet to Care” hosted by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Dhaka on Saturday.
The former WTO chief has come to Bangladesh to seek vote in favour of his country (France), one of the four countries that are vying to host the World Expo 2025. The three other countries are Japan, Russia and Azerbaijan.
He said there had been a positive relation between economic development and political stability in the past, but the relation has somehow broken in today’s world.
The former WTO DG also said we should acknowledge that we could not address the major challenges properly in the recent decades.
He pointed that the rise of inequality and environmental degradation are the two key factors which have been causing frustration and anxiety among the new generation.
The envoy suggested that inequality should be addressed in a place where community solidarity is present.
“I am not saying that there is nothing to be done at the global level in order to combat inequality, but policies and instruments need to be implemented in the sectors like education, trade policy, housing, and taxation; and such policies are undertaken at the national level.”
Rehman Sobhan, chairman of CPD said a $5 shirt made in Bangladesh is sold in the United States at $25 or $30.
The CPD chairman asked the former WTO chief if there is any scope to distribute the profit share among the workers who take part in the production process.
Lamy replied: “This is the reality of a competitive market. But manufacturers have to be careful about any sort of market manipulation by global retailers and should take necessary steps to tackle it.”