The WTO issued the latest editions of its annual statistical publications: World Trade Statistical Review, Trade Profiles and World Tariff Profiles on 30 July 2018. World Trade Statistical Review looks into the latest trends in global trade, as well as at the performance of developing economies and the latest developments in regional trade agreements, among other issues.
Digital government, measuring the digital economy and Economy 4.0 were some of the items on the agenda at the G20’s Second Meeting of the Digital Economy Task Force, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 31 July and 1 August. Representatives from G20 member and guest countries, as well as from international organisations spoke about digital transformation and prepared recommendations on inclusive development.
The 10th BRICS Summit was hailed as a huge success by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who said it was proof that BRICS was not merely a talk shop but a forum that took clear, decisive decisions to better their nations as a collective. Leaders signed the Johannesburg Declaration, as well as an agreement on environmental co-operation and a memorandum of understanding on a regional aviation partnership.
In the Joburg Declaration coming out of the tenth BRICS Summit this week, the leaders of the BRICS countries, which account for more than a third of the world’s population, recommitted their support for multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in international affairs and upholding fair, just and equitable international order.
The communiqué issued at the close of the Third G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Buenos Aires on 22 July 2018 shows support from the world’s main economies of international trade and investment as “important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development”.
The surge in innovation brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution “had the potential to solve many of the social problems we face by better equipping us to combat disease, hunger and environmental degradation”, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on day two of the tenth BRICS Summit. Openness, breaking down trade barriers, education and addressing the imbalance of available skills were championed as the keys to ensure that BRICS nations did not get left behind.
The New Development Bank, established in 2014 by BRICS, had made tremendous progress, bank president Kundapur Kamath told a sitting of the bloc’s heads of state during the tenth summit. “The bank is now fully operational and is in a rapid, though prudent, growth phase.” To date, it had approved 23 projects worth about $5.7-billion in its member countries.
South Africa set its targets for the BRICS Summit it is hosting at a roundtable discussion held at the Invest SA One Stop Shop in Johannesburg on 19 July. “BRICS must deliver to the people. It must speak to our national priorities, our domestic interest of addressing unemployment, poverty and inequity in our societies,” said BRICS ambassador Anil Sooklal, tabling peacekeeping, the establishment and launch of a BRICS Women’s Forum, a key focus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the development of the needed skills as top of the country’s agenda.
Chinese experts said the BRICS summit would focus more on uniting members and deepening their industrial co-operation amid the common threats of protectionism and unilateralism, Global Times reported. Chen Fengying, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the news group that “this year’s summit comes at a crucial time when many emerging economies are facing pressure and challenges from US unilateralism and protectionism”.
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