The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2014 is being held October 1 – 3 under the theme — Why Trade Matters to Everyone. The WTO Public Forum is an annual event that convenes in Geneva, providing a platform for interested persons to discuss the latest developments in world trade and to propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system.

This year’s theme, Why Trade Matters to Everyone, aims to tell “the human story behind trade”. It will demonstrate how trade impacts the daily lives of citizens through a focus on three sub-themes:

  1. Trade and Jobs will explore the debate around whether trade creates or destroys jobs.
  2. Trade and Consumers explores such issues as whether trade provides consumers increased access to goods from around the world while lowering the barriers put in place to ensure their health and safety. Is there a need for rules to govern the movement of services and technology around the world?
  3. Trade and Africa explores how trade can be more effectively used for development and poverty reduction.

Why Trade Matters to Everyone

Most countries today derive a large share of their income (Gross Domestic Product or GDP) from activities linked to international trade, rather than purely domestic activities. Today’s consumers can select from a wide variety of goods from around the world in search of the product that best meets their budget.

Businesses grow by finding new clients for their products and services in international markets. A competitor can be located anywhere around the world. Even local and national companies must now compete on their home turf whether or not they themselves export their goods or services. The replacement for a key ingredient, previously sourced domestically that has become unavailable, too expensive, or obsolete, may be located halfway around the world. So could the next business opportunity. Today’s businesses have to learn how to compete in this globalized environment.

Business Opportunities in the World

The three T’s – Trade Agreements, Trade Financing, and Technology – help to make trade happen, providing the means by which small businesses can take advantage of international business opportunities.

Countries sign trade agreements to reduce the costs to their companies of doing business in other countries. Lowered import taxes, quotas and other trade barriers lower the costs to businesses of importing and exporting goods, allowing them to offer cheaper products and services to consumers.

Businesses can access trade financing  which provides a form of insurance that minimizes the risk of either not being paid or not receiving the goods on which payment has been made.

Buyers, using today’s technology, can use a cell phone to locate and purchase a desired product or service located on the other side of the globe. Any company with a website is opening itself up to become the next player in international trade.

Trade matters to everyone because this is the means by which businesses and governments generate revenue and consumers obtain the goods that they seek.

To Learn More

If you think that your business is ready to take the next step or to learn more about how you can use the three T’s — Trade Agreements, Trade Financing, and Technology — to expand your business globally, contact us!

DevelopTradeLaw, LLC provides business-oriented advice to the legal challenges that face companies doing business internationally. Contact us for more information or advice on the topic of this article.