PRETORIA– Changes brought on by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the inclusive global value chains will be at the centre of discussions when trade ministers of the Group of 20 (G-20) leading developed and emerging economies meet this week in Argentina.

South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is set to attend the meeting which begins Friday at the resort city of Mar del Plata, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said in a statement here Tuesday. The meeting will focus on key factors for G20 policy-making to support participation and upgrading in inclusive Global Value Chains (GVCs) in the agricultural sector at regional and global levels.

The meeting will also provide a platform for an exchange of experiences on how G20 countries can address the challenges associated with disruptive changes presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and leverage the opportunities in order to advance inclusive growth.

Davies said Tuesday that GVCs had led to a reconfiguration of trade and investment flows. “Location in the value chain is a critical determinant to how benefits are shared.” he stressed.

“African countries participate in GVCs mainly as suppliers of primary products. What is required is to preserve policy space to move-up the value chain into production of high-value products in order to promote meaningful participation in GVCs.”

He added that the Fourth Industrial Revolution was leading to unprecedented disruptions in trade and production. “The G20 offers an opportunity for the exchange of views on global developments, regulatory framework and policy responses that facilitate leveraging the NIR and managing the challenges to promote inclusive growth,” said Davies.

For South Africa, the G20 engagements provide a platform to discuss, assess, and advance economic and policy issues, and for knowledge transfer on policy practices to foster the country’s development objectives.
It also provides a platform for the exchange of views on the current developments in global trade.

“The G20 Trade Ministers Meeting is taking place at a time when the multilateral trading system is facing unprecedented challenges. Of concern is the rise of trade measures that are not compatible with the World Trade Organization. The G20 Trade Ministers meeting will provide an opportunity for a dialogue on current developments in international trade and its implications for the global economy,” Davies said.

Davies further emphasized that South Africa’s participation at the ministerial meeting is to contribute to and shape global trade and investment policy debates by providing views from a developing country standpoint.

South Africa’s core objective in engaging in the G20 is to advance a development oriented perspective on all the issues under discussion that preserves policy space to advance South Africa and Africa’s development integration, promote inclusive growth and structural transformation.


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