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Public Forum opens with call for focus on inclusive trade

An agenda for inclusive trade focusing on the needs of small business owners and more vulnerable sectors of society will be essential for ensuring continued public support for open markets, speakers at the opening plenary session of the WTO’s 2016 Public Forum emphasized earlier today.

At a time of slowing growth in world trade and an increasing public backlash against trade and globalization, speakers emphasized the need to facilitate a greater role for micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) in global trade by addressing barriers such as the digital divide and lack of trade finance. They also underlined the need to promote greater participation by women in trade and to ensure that effective policies are put into place to help the poor and those who may suffer job losses resulting from trade.

The annual Public Forum is the WTO’s flagship event, with more than 2,000 participants registering for this year’s gathering. The Forum provides a unique platform for heads of state and leading global business-people, academics and non-governmental organisations to come together and discuss some of the major trade and development issues of the day.

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