G20 meet in Jaipur: Focus on sustainable, inclusive trade
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G20 meet in Jaipur: Focus on sustainable, inclusive trade

Olivier Becht, France's Minister for Foreign Trade, Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad on Thursday said that France believes that sustainable and inclusive trade plays a key role in global economic development and poverty reduction.

During the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers’ Meeting held in Jaipur on August 24, Becht said that it is essential to ensure a good distribution of trade gains and facilitate the integration of less developed countries into sustainable value chains.

France's Foreign Trade Minister further emphasized, "To ensure trade inclusiveness, we have to support less developed countries to build up capacity, trade-related infrastructure and to comply with international trade rules through assistance programs, including trade facilitation."

He further said that it is the role of G20 members to support the development of value creation in low-income and least-developed economies as necessary for them to fully reap the benefits of global trade.

Adding to this, Becht said, "We have to help MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) gain access to global trade. This is a priority of the French government. Indeed, MSMEs have to tackle large challenges to integrate global trade, such as access to information, financing and markets."

Digitalization can definitely help MSMEs get access to easier export besides various tools and potential approaches. "This is exactly why I welcome the Jaipur Call for Action for fostering access to information for MSMEs," he said.

Becht said, "In France, we set up the so-called 'Team-France Export' digital platform five years ago. It is the result of collective work from public and private bodies accompanying SMEs, in order to respond more efficiently to their concrete needs. It means for instance informing them on financing or market opportunities."

In the last few years, the number of French SME exporters has increased and is currently approaching a record of 150,000.

He added, "I believe the rising trend of protectionist measures and the deterioration of our multilateral trading system based on rules are particularly harmful to global prosperity."

This has a direct impact on developing economies and their integration into global trade. "This is why G20 members must continue to commit to ensure that trade remains open and non-discriminatory," he said.

Highlighting trade resilience, Becht said, "If we consider that the global integration of value chains over the years has brought economic prosperity, the vulnerability of our supply chains has recently been revealed, in particular with the Covid crisis."

He added that we also observe that more and more companies are integrating value chains' security into their strategic planning.

"We, governments, also bear the responsibility to raise awareness on these issues and to understand vulnerabilities. This is why I welcome the G20 generic framework on global value chains’ mapping," Becht said.

Moreover, he said that sustainable development and climate issues are key components of resilient trade.

"Trade and sustainability therefore have to go hand in hand. That’s why we also hope that the ongoing plurilateral initiatives on sustainable development issues will yield concrete and ambitious work programmes at the 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference," he added.


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