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The Global Services Forum Convenes in Doha Next Thursday, Launch of the Arab Coalition of Service Industries

16-Apr-2012 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 8668
Special to ag-IP-news Agency

DOHA - The Global Services Forum will be held on April 19, 2012 at Qatar National Convention Center in conjunction with the 13th conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Forum is jointly organized by the UNCTAD, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The opening session will be chaired by the President of UNCTAD XIII, HE Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar. Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) and HE Ambassador Ransford Smith, Deputy Secretary-General of Commonwealth Secretariat will deliver speeches at the opening session.

The event is also strongly supported by Arab NGO Network for Development, China Association of Trade in Services, Caribbean Network of Services Coalitions, the Australian Services Round Table, the European Services Forum (ESF) and other associations of services industries.

A concrete outcome of the Forum will be the launch of the Arab Coalition of Service Industries (ASCI).

For the first time on a global scale the Forum will host ministers and high-level policy-makers, trade negotiators, business leaders, coalitions and associations of services industries, international and regional organizations, services regulators, researchers, civil societies and other stakeholders to address the growth and employment potential of services sectors. They will discuss new strategies for building services productive and export capacity, and removing barriers to services trade in a manner conducive to inclusive and sustainable economic and social development, thus effectively integrating the services sector into the post-crisis growth strategies. National, regional and international experiences and lessons learned will be shared to identify successful and innovative best-fit policies.

HE Dr. W. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Lead Head of government responsible for services in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet will address the high level segment on the issue of services, productivity and competitiveness. Participating ministers include HE Mr. Ghulam Muhammed Quader, Minister of Commerce, Bangladesh, HE Mr. A. J Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica, HE Ms. Amelia Anne Kyambadde, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Uganda, HE Mr. Lekh Raj Bhatta, Minister of Commerce and Supplies, Nepal, HE Mr. Stephen Cadiz, Minister of Trade and Industry, Trinidad and Tobago, and HE Mr. Cemalettin Damlaci, Deputy Undersecretary of Ministry of Economy, Turkey. More ministers are expected to be present at the high level segment.

The Forum will then tackle several key issues through panel discussions including: Trade in services - New growth opportunities, Services liberalization: Multilateral or regional, the 21st Century services issues and the way forward – Partnerships and coalitions to strengthen the services development and trade with a view to contributing to the strengthening and creation of new services partnerships (South-South, North-South, Triangular, public private partnership) and coalitions of services industries. A concrete outcome of the forum will be the launch of the Arab Coalition of Service Industries (ASCI).

The services sector has gained increasing importance over the last decade, contributing a growing share to gross domestic product (GDP) and employment. The services sector, particularly infrastructure services, is not only important in its own right but can help improve efficiency and competitiveness in all sectors of the economy, as services constitute essential inputs to many other products and services. The sector generates opportunities for greater income, productivity, employment and investment, trade, and also contributes to the achievement of the MDGs by providing essential services, including health, education, energy, transport and telecommunication. They also play a major catalytic role in the expansion of global supply chains.

While the services sector has matured in developed countries where it currently accounts for over 70 percent of GDP and employment, it is the new frontier for developing countries where the shares of services in their GDP and employment still remain at 50 percent and 35 percent respectively. Positively integrating developing countries, especially LDCs and small economies, into the global services economy and increasing their participation in services production and trade is essential.
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