New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) International trade should not be looked only in terms of volume and value, but in respect to its linkages with developmental concerns and access to basic needs, research firm CUTS International said on Wednesday.

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It stressed on taking a closer and more holistic look at the linkages between trade and sustainable development by putting equal emphasis on economy, and environmental dimensions.

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"It should not be a sanctions-based approach but should emphasise on arriving at a positive, forward-looking agenda with social safety nets as its central theme. International trade should not be looked in isolation and not just in terms of their volume and value but in respect to its linkages with developmental concerns, particularly in regard to access to basic needs," said Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International.

He was speaking at a webinar on 'what would happen to a world without the WTO'. More than 100 stakeholders representing trade officials, experts, academia, civil society organisations, and think-tanks from different parts of Africa participated in the discussion.

According to Erastus Mwencha, Chairman, TradeMark East Africa the member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) really need to interrogate the whole process of the functioning of the organisation.

"That will help us having a better understanding of why there are so much of systemic challenges. We need to reinvent the WTO through structural transformation so as to derive better values out of it through a more balanced but faster decision-making process. This is an imperative in the post-Covid world. We need a better global leadership,” he said.

According to Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, Executive Director of Dakar-based African Center for Trade, Integration and Development, going forward, it is important to recognise the needs of the least developed countries by focusing on their capacity to utilise the available policy space.

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