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Indian Ocean Rim Association Stands Against Anti-Globalisation Initiatives

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By Ashok Ramsarup :: South Africa have been vocal in urging 22 countries which are members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to use the IORA conference to make their voices heard over the anti-globalisation initiatives that are emerging from around the world.

Speaking at the official launch of the Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation at the Trade and Industry Department in the port city of Durban, South Africa, Sipho Zikode said developing countries should use the IORA conference to react to anti-globalisation initiatives.

Zikode said:  “This crucial conference comes at a time when we see new global developments affecting countries all over the world. Take for example, we find ourselves in a situation where countries are using tariffs to develop their own economies and other countries reacting  to the new developments.”

He said the trade war between the United States and China was affecting many countries,  raising eyebrows, particularly small developing countries like South Africa, whose export products as aluminium have already been negatively affected.

Zikode said the conference hoped to provide  IORA members with an opportunity and a platform to sit down and discuss how to effectively respond to these anti-globalisation initiatives that were emerging from some of the powerful countries of the world.

He made it clear that  IORA originated from the vision expressed by South Africa’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela during his visit to India in 1995, for an economic co-operation between the countries bordering the Indian Ocean.

“The conference brings to live the words of the Nobel Laureate for the creation of IORA to focus on those areas of economic co-operation that provide maximum opportunities for development, shared interest and mutual benefits. The objectives include promoting liberalisation, removing impediments and lowering barriers towards a freer and enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the Indian Ocean Rim,”  Zikode added.

He made it abundantly clear that the two-way trade in goods and services of the region amounted to $4.8 trillion last year.   Zikode said: “The Intra-IORA trade represents only 2.5 per cent of world trade. There is a need to improve the Intra-IORA trade through various initiatives including trade facilitation, trade policy coordination options, harmonisation and simplification of procedures, and dissemination of information through appropriate arrangements such as trade fairs, business-to-business meetings and capacity-building workshops.”

IORA  Secretary-General  Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe said IORA’s share of world exports were 12% and share of world Gross Domestic Product was 10%, even though the block was home to 30% of the world’s population.

“Today we will be privileged to hear from world-class experts and business leaders from around our region on recent trade developments and emerging investment opportunities.

I sincerely hope that this conference will certainly come up with some practical and implementable recommendations for trade modernising in IORA including custom harmonisation, intellectual property rights, standardisation and women’s empowerment through trade by strengthening SMEs,” said Nokwe.

Ashok Ramsarup is award-winning senior journalist of South Africa 🇿🇦 

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