On July 6, 2020 OWIT- Lake Geneva participated in a virtual conference in recognition of the International Gender Champions 5th anniversary celebrations, under the topic COVID-19 and its Impact on Women in International Trade
The panelists included Andrea Ewart (International Trade Attorney, USA) Angela Muli (UN Women, Nigeria), Pamela Coke-Hamilton (UNCTA, Switzerland) and Dr. Amrita Bahri (Co-Chair WTO, ITAM Mexico). H.E. Ambassador Chad Blackman and H.E. Ambassador Socorro Flores Liera kicked off the discussion on the important application of a trade and gender methodology to ensure inclusive trade.
“We know that the pandemic, like any crisis situation, has created challenges as well as opportunities. Many sectors are struggling to survive, and companies are facing the task of re-engineering their supply chains. I understand the essence of the challenge as this – Do those persons with the vision, drive, knowledge and skills to become the next innovators in whatever sphere, have what they need to attain their goals/vision, to allow them to seize the moment? How can they be supported? One of the tragedies of contemporary societies is the unmet or underserved potential. So, consider the most basic scenario of re-engineering supply chain. A company tries to find alternate suppliers in a new country. The media is rife with stories about companies’ inability to find alternatives to their Chinese suppliers. But what if the problem is that they’re looking for an exact replacement? What if the solution can be found in an innovative approach, application, process, product developed by an SME or woman entrepreneur? So, I would challenge the entities working with women entrepreneurs to position themselves to serve as a point of contact for companies looking to find new suppliers. They should be prepared to educate companies on the advantages of working with newer companies that may be more agile, more thirsty, and yes cheaper if that’s what it takes. They need to help their clients to estimate and talk about the bottom line, which is always going to be key – to explain “how will my innovation help the company to meet or exceed its financial goals?” The trade war with China isn’t going anywhere and the need for these discussions will continue beyond the pandemic. Start building the relationships!”