G20 Information Centre
Scenario of the G20 Trade Ministers' Meeting:
Opening Remarks by Nihat Zeybekci,
Minister of the Economy, Republic of Turkey
Conrad Hotel, Istanbul, October 6, 2015
I would like to welcome You in Istanbul, a city full of different heritages, where history, culture, nature, commerce and people meet. As Napoleon once said "if the earth had been a single country, Istanbul would have been its capital."
The 20th century was a difficult one with two world wars and numerous regional wars. All these taught us the vital role of trade to secure peace and welfare in the world.
Although you may have an environment of welfare and peace, it may not besustainable, if you do exclude others and if you do not share with others.
The major lesson for the mankind, learned both from the reasons and devastating results of the historical conflicts and the first and second world wars is to share existing resources in a fair manner. Thus, instead of creating a world where states fight for resources, our target should be establishing peace and prosperity, for all.
Unfortunately, today, still we witness internal conflicts and terrorism, although states have an option to focus on inclusive growth. Taking this opportunity, as a Minister responsible from trade, I would like to openly express that all nations should act in collaboration against terror, which is the enemy of mankind.
In our belief, it is not virtuous "to sleep with full stomach while your neighbors are hungry." In fact, all belief systems and the common sense of the mankind refer to the virtue of sharing. Trade is the easiest and most practical way of doing this. Peace and trade will boost reciprocal welfare and will make all parties better off.
Realizing that it is necessary to increase the prosperity of the bloc they are a part of, the countries started to collaborate regionally. Now, we have to think about ways of making the whole world a single bloc and reaching collective welfare.
If we look around us and define the real problems without covering them up, then we will realize how easily we can create solutions. The solution might well be establishing simple institutional standards together with humanitarian, rules based, democratic and commercial inclusiveness and ensuring that across the board institutions and rules govern the world.
At this point, before proceeding to our agenda items, let me share a story which I like a lot. I am sure some of you already know the tale of wise farmer.
A farmer won the gold medal for growing the best corn in the village. He became famous when the newspapers wrote about him. One day, a reporter was amazed to find him distributing his seeds to other farmers in the village. The reporter asked the farmer: "If you distribute your seeds, how will you win the competition for growing the best corn next year?"
His answer was quite striking: "Sir," replied the farmer, "the wind picks up pollen from crops and flowers and spreads it everywhere. So if my neighbours do not grow good corps, my field will suffer too. If I need to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours too."
The lesson is simple: If we would like to win, we should let others win too.
Indeed, as the G20 countries, we have to lead the way in reaching collective welfare through helping our neighbors to cultivate good corn. The fastest way for this is to develop strong trade relations that boost growth, innovation and investment. Therefore, as the term president of the G20, we attach great importance on trade to support global growth and sustainable development.
Today, here at this room, we will handle, discuss and evaluate various issues related with global economy, trade and business environment. The views and opinions shared throughout this meeting have at most importance.
As a politician coming from the business community, I would like to note with pleasure that Turkey lately supported a growth and employment trend led by the real economy. One should know that if we are talking about growth in global economy now, and if we desire a balanced, strong and sustainable growth, this can only be possible through further investment, trade and job creation by the real economy.
Unproductive economic structures, which are not able to create jobs, and growth are not sustainable. Even worse, they can trigger unbearable results for the economy. Our economies should be supported by real sector (production, growth and job creation) instead of fictional factors with inflated values, mostly based on consumption. Otherwise, the result will be the crises we experienced.
No matter how many decisions and structural reforms we make as the politicians, if these do not have their reflection in the business world, it is not possible to achieve neither economic growth nor high employment rates. That is why we attach great importance to B20. We will start our discussions today by hearing the views and recommendations of them.
As you very well know, the pace of theglobal trade growth could still not reach its pre-crisis level. In the last four decades, for the first time global trade grew less than global economy.
Trade will both be nourished from global growth and feed it. That is why we continuously stresson "implementation".
With this in mind, the second session of our meeting will focus on the reasons behind the global trade slowdown, as well as possible means to overcome it.
We know that both cyclical and structural factors play a role there. Cyclical factors like weak demand especially in advanced economies can explain some parts of the picture, while structural factors like changes in the relationship between world trade and income complete the scene. Only through deeper and wider trade reforms this trend could be reversed and trade growth could be revived. Thus, it is up to us to reverse this trend through implementing policies that fit the needs of the system.
Another issue we have to concentrate on is the Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are major generators of employment.
We will also be discussing thoroughly at the G20 platform, the problems of the non-G20 countries, especially the Low Income Developing Countries (LIDCs).
In the third session of our meeting, we will be discussing opportunities and challenges for SMEs and LIDCs, in terms their participation into the Global Value Chains (GVCs).
Finally, the fourth session of the meeting will focus on assessing the ways to strengthen the multilateral trading system.
Nowadays, we are in an era in which the political, economic and commercial landscapes, like TTIP, TPP, Shanghai Five, and Eurasian Customs Union, in the world are redrawn. The way to increase global trade passes through establishing cooperative relations between regional integrations and creating institutional structures throughout the world that have common commercial, economic and legal features. Regional integrations have to establish a continuously working mechanism that enables the inclusion of the parties that remained outside. At the same time, if we are sincerely talking about increasing global trade, we have to lift all the barriers, including the invisible ones, that stand before trade.
Importance of the WTO and the multilateral trading system is indisputable.
What can be achieved by the upcoming WTO Ministerial in Nairobi will bring up significant implications for the future of multilateral trading negotiations. Bringing together countries representing almost 80% of international trade, G20 has an important role to play there. I invite you all to engage in an open and frank discussion on what kind of leadership can be played by the G20 at Nairobi under the heading of "strengthening multilateral trading system".
During the relevant session in the afternoon, Director General Azevedo of the WTO will share with us his invaluable views on the issue, through the discussion paper titled"Advancing the Multilateral Trading System". I am sure he will also comment on the current state of play in the multilateral trade negotiations. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister of Kenya, Madame Amina Mohamed, will also be joining us in the same session and enrich our discussions through her observations.
Compatibility of regional trade agreements (RTAs) with the multilateral trading system will be handled together with the discussions on strengthening the system.
Before concluding my remarks, I would like to take this opportunity to thank wholeheartedly to all the International Organizations (IO's) that we have worked closely throughout the year. They all have made an excellent work. Comprehensive and insightful analysis they have made, provided us with concrete policy options to further our trade agenda.
With these introductory remarks, I would now like to move to the first item of our agenda.
We thank the media for their interest. We will continue with the ministerial session.
Source: Ministry of the Economy, Republic of Turkey
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