Trade and Industry

Monday, 01 December 2003

Trade Policy Development in a Coherent Macroeconomic Framework

  • Year: 2003
  • Organisation: TIPS
  • Author(s): Xavier Carim
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

The overriding objectives of the Nepad programme are economic growth and sustainable development. If it is accepted that trade contributes positively to these objectives, the next question that arises is how to improve African countries' export performance. The ability to improve export performance requires a broader discussion of trade, industrial and agricultural policies, and in particular how to enhance African economies' supply capacity and competitiveness by increasing production and investment. To understand the determinants of investment, it is vital that the appropriate regulatory environment and reform programme, along with a macroeconomic framework and policy, are determined. In this light, trade policy must be understood as only one element of a wider development strategy to promote sustainable economic development.
The key foci of trade policy are to advance the reform and restructuring of the economy, to enhance economic competitiveness, and to increase the capacity of firms to compete in an increasingly integrated world economy, thereby creating sustainable economic growth and employment opportunities.
Sustainable trade policy reform requires a political and institutional framework to ensure that key constituencies and stakeholders bearing the burden of adjustment actively participate in the evolution of economic policy so there is ownership around its vision and objective. As the outcome of adjustments invariably produces winners and losers, a sustainable development strategy must include measures that provide for safety nets and the ability to re-skill labour appropriately to shift into sectors of the economy that are growing. In this sense, trade policy reform is a political process that needs to be managed carefully. Such a complex set of factors requires appropriate expertise, training and institutional development. At the same time, it is important to that we take into account changed and changing global economic dynamics, such as globalisation, liberalisation and regionalism that underlie growing competitive pressures in the world economy and the changed basis for competing in the global market.
This paper focuses mainly on globalisation's economic policy dimensions to identify:

  1. The key features of globalisation; and
  2. Some aspects of a strategic policy response for development in the globalising world economy.