Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said on Tuesday that global trade needed to be more internationalized so that all links could play their full role. 

She made the remarks via video at the opening ceremony of the first China International Supply Chain Expo and the Global Supply Chain Innovation and Development Forum.

Noting that some industries and regions are repatriating supply chains, she said such acts could deprive supply chains of specialization, scale and the productivity gains from trade, and weaken their resilience to incidents such as earthquakes, droughts and high temperatures.

She said that global supply chains should be deepened, diversified and decentralized towards Latin America, Africa and elsewhere. Only by establishing a suitable business and investment environment can the countries and regions concerned not be marginalized in the global division of labor, she added.

In order to green global value chains and the global economy as a whole, trade policy needed to work hand in hand at both the domestic and multilateral levels, said Iweala.

Recent research had shown that trade could be a powerful enabler of environmental policy action and that environmental gains from trade could be amplified if countries acted together to internalize the costs of greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

(Cover: Guests at the opening ceremony of the China International Supply Chain Expo and the Global Supply Chain Innovation and Development Forum in Beijing, China, November 28, 2023. /CFP)

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