Pakistan Trade & Entrepreneurship Development Organisation

PTEDO is the leading trade and Entrepreneurship Organization of Pakistan, making it the most trusted and complete business council of the region. Learned scholars, visionary traders, dynamic and innovative youth is the key asset of the Organization. We use all innovative ways to connect the global community of entrepreneurs around the world to bring good change in Pakistan.

International Trade and Development

Capitalist economic theory holds that a completely liberalized global market is the most efficient way to foster growth, because each country specializes in producing the goods and services in which it has a comparative advantage. Yet, in practice, cutting trade barriers and opening markets do not necessarily generate development. Rich countries and large corporations dominate the global marketplace and create very unequal relations of power and information. As a result, trade is inherently unequal and poor countries seldom experience rising well-being but increasing unemployment, poverty, and income inequality.

An additional problem is that free trade is not equally free. Agricultural subsidies and other trade barriers in the US and the EU prevent poor countries from gaining access to the most important markets. Meanwhile, poor countries open up their own markets to US and EU exports. Critics of free trade point out that many of the world’s richest countries sheltered their economies by protection when they were at the start of their own growth. Further, trade is so dominated by transnational corporations that new trade rules mainly benefit those companies. A number of NGOs have started to promote “fair trade,” arguing that trade can promote development if it is environmentally sustainable and includes respect for human and labor rights. This page provides information on trade issues, including how to make trade contribute to development.

The World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization was founded in 1995 to replace the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This multilateral organization aims to lower tariffs and non-tariff barriers to increase international trade. The 146 member states meet in ministerial sessions at least once every two years. NGOs and poor countries fear that further liberalization of trade will only benefit rich countries. WTO negotiations favor the interests of corporate investors and neglect agricultural protectionism and trade subsidies by rich countries. Critics often charge that the WTO functions undemocratically and that it has opaque negotiation procedures that harm the interest of the poor. In the summer of 2006, five years of Doha Round negotiations ended without any agreement, leading many observers to question whether the WTO continues to be relevant in the absence of rich country trade concessions.

NGOs and the WTO

NGOs have led the citizens around the world to challenge the economic policies of the World Trade Organization as well as the Organization’s closed meetings and lack of accountability. This page follows NGO activity on the WTO.

NGO Involvement in the WTO: A Comparative Perspective (October 2008)

Peter Van den Bossche discusses the arguments for and against giving NGOs a larger role in WTO decision making. A more open dialogue with NGOs could possibly increase the legitimacy of the WTO, giving the organization a more democratic and transparent function. However, at the same time some NGOs lack legitimacy because they often advocate on single issues and may therefore not represent all of society’s interests. (Journal of International Economic Law).

Environment and Regional Trade Agreements

Regional Trade agreements (RTAs), which comprises of bilateral and plurilateral trade agreements, free trade agreements, economic partnerships and other arrangements aiming at trade liberalization between countries, have grown substantially over the last decade. Countries increasingly use these trade agreements to co-operate on environmental matters by including environmental provisions in RTAs.

Since 2005, the Joint Working Party on Trade and Environment (JWPTE) carries out work on RTAs and the environment. In 2007, a flagship publication on “Environment and Regional Trade Agreements” was released describing the “state of the art” for environmental provisions, side agreements and co-operation agreements linked to RTAs as of 2007. A number of annual updates were developed from 2007 to 2013 to track the development of environmental provisions in RTAs. In a parallel effort, a series of analytical reports are released which includes “a checklist for negotiators”, “framework for evaluation” and “trends and policy drivers” on environmental provisions in RTAs. This work is also accompanied by periodic workshops by several workshops for government officials and other experts on RTAs and the environment.