‘South-south coop booming’
Sunday, 27 April 2008

South-South trade had surpassed 2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2006, with the volume of exports showing a three-fold increase in 1996-2006, according to statistics released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at its quadrennial meeting being held here from April 20 to 25, reports Xinhua.

“The rapid growth of China, India, Brazil and others and the rising fortunes of the new South, meant that the old adage ‘when the United States catches a cold, the rest of us get double pneumonia’ was no longer true,” said Robert Davies, deputy minister for trade and industry of South Africa, at a roundtable about South-South trade held during the Accra meeting of the UNCTAD.

He urged strengthening of regional commodity markets, trade facilitation, inter- and-intra-regional connections. Davies said developing countries need to carry on with their reforms and other efforts to boost trade capacities and diversify markets.

“They must continue strengthening interregional integration, and the more rapidly industrializing countries must look to expand development-cooperation initiatives with their less- developed neighbors,” he said. “Such cooperation was a ‘strategic imperative’ in the current globalized economic environment.”

UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, describing the near-future era, with growing power of developing countries and the trade between them, as the “second wave of globalization,” said there must be “more hubs and more spokes” outside the industrialized world.

Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, deputy foreign minister for economic affairs of Egypt, said foreign direct investment was no longer confined to the North, as large countries of the South were now investing in their own regions or other emerging economies.

Furthermore, industrial growth in several fast-growing developing countries, coupled with the information explosion of the past two decades, was also spurring South-South trade, he said.

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said South-south cooperation was about common security and prosperity, adding that Thailand had participated in a number of trade schemes throughout the South Asian region, with the assistance of international financial institutions, in areas such as tourism, energy and the environment, and transportation and communications networks.

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