World Trade Center Mumbai conducted a session on “Fostering Skills and Jobs through Trade Liberalization in Developing Economies’’ on 3rd October 2014 at WTO Public Forum 2014 which was held at the WTO headquarters in Geneva from October 1-3, 2014

The eminent panelist discussed various issues related to skills development for employment.

Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, WTC Mumbai and Director, WTCA Board, New York in his opening remarks said, all nations acknowledge the role of skills development through their own national policies. There is consensus that prioritizing education, lifelong learning, job training and skills development strategies are linked to growth strategies. According to Mr. Kalantri policies related to skills need to be tailored to suit the specific demands of the region and there should be continuous scaling up of skills among workers. Further, technological shifts across economic sectors need to be closely monitored in order to align jobs with specific skills.

Ms. Azita Berar Awad, Director, Employment Policy Department, ILO said in this era of accelerating technological and organizational change in the world of work in the global economy, it surely has to be a priority to strengthen systems to provide the type of skills and qualifications which in the end bridge the gap that exist between the world of education and training, on the one hand, and the world of work, on the other. Trade liberalization can widen the gap but also can be an important agent in making the needs for skills development more obvious. “Aid for Trade” has to broaden focus and to include investment in human resource development and labour market policies than only on physical infrastructure.

Mr. Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, CEO, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) said a McKinsey Report suggests that by 2020, the shortage of college educated workers will be 40 million, and for workers with secondary education with qualifications to work in labour intensive manufacturing or services the shortage will be 45 million.

Mr. Rajesh Aggarwal, Director of the Division of Business & Institutional Support and Chief, Business & Trade Facilitation Section International Trade Centre (ITC) said SMEs play a key role in creating the majority of the estimated 500 million new jobs needed by 2030. Therefore, ITC’s efforts are directed at creating conditions in which SMEs can survive and thrive.

ITC focuses all its technical interventions on supporting the international competitiveness of SMEs in developing countries, so that SMEs can rise up to the challenge and act as catalyst for job creation and growth.

Mr. Ken Ash, Director for Trade and Agriculture, OECD said, Trade openness can contribute to income and job growth but complementary policies are also needed. Global Value Chains magnify the costs of protection through Tariffs, Customs procedures, Goods standards and Services regulations. Countries and firms need to improve supply capacity to increase participation and obtain widespread benefits.

Prof. Joseph Francois, Managing Director (incoming), World Trade Institute, University of Bern said for emerging markets to achieve competency in exports there is a pressing need to develop supply chains which will reduce transaction costs. Trade liberalisation assists in developing competitive products. However, multiple regulatory systems pose barrier in growth which needs to be addressed.