Trade Minister Minister Tim Groser is playing down expectations that he will have a tilt at the top job in global trade.
But it is inevitable that the potential for a Groser run at the role of director-general of the World Trade Organisation will be discussed around the edges of the World Export Development Forum (WDEF) in Jakarta this coming week.
The Trade Minister will discuss New Zealand’s experience in meeting the demands of new consumer markets, particularly in emerging and developing economies at a session on “Growing Value: Meeting the demands of new consumer markets while strengthening local value addition.”
Fellow speakers include Indonesian President H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (known simply as ‘SBY’) , current WTO Director General Pascal Lamy who stands down next year, and, Trade and Industry Ministers from Indonesia, Jamaica and South Africa.
The WEDF says emerging markets are showing considerable resilience in face of the global economic downturn — private companies and investors are actively seeking new opportunities in Asia, Africa and Latin America as growth continues to be sluggish in more mature markets. Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey are already leading the way in building new trade links between the three regions, and are actively seeking out new partners to tap into the enormous potential for growth in South-South trade.
• The growth markets’ potential: What their emergence means for the future
• Trade facilitation: Enhancing regional interregional and intra-regional trade
• Improving commodity supply chains for greater regional and global food security
Groser will later go onto to Seoul for a ministerial meeting in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha in December. Groser will lead discussion on a session on shaping the future of the international climate regime.
“We’re in the first phase of negotiations for a global climate change deal that will, for the first time, include all developed and developing countries. We need to learn from experience, look at what’s worked and what hasn’t, so that the new agreement can make a real difference to climate change,” said Groser.
While in Seoul, Groser will also meet Trade Minister Bark Tae-ho, and key business contacts to promote closer trade and economic linkages between New Zealand and South Korea. 2012 is a “Year of friendship” marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
NZINC Comment: A free trade deal would cement that friendship further but Korean diplomatic sources have said nothing is likely to move until after the upcoming presidential elections in South Korea. It is a pity that South Korean president Lee Myung-bak has not front-footed this earlier.