Governments around the world must invest in re-skilling their populations as the digital revolution transforms the global economy, Arancha González, Under-Secretary General, United Nations, said at Asia House’s major trade forum in Singapore.
González, who also serves as Executive Director, International Trade Centre, was in conversation with Asia House Chairman Lord Green at the Asia House Global Trade Dialogue, where she urged policymakers to recognise the tech-driven changes taking place.
“A country like Denmark, where there is big support for international trade, spends two per cent of GDP on active labour market policies, meaning those who lose their jobs because of the digital revolution get support to go back into the labour market,” she said.
“Germany spends 1.2 per cent of GDP on active labour market policies. In the US it’s 0.1 per cent.”
González stressed that such domestic issues must be addressed if the global trade system is to endure. If they aren’t, “political support for open markets will gradually erode.”
In a wide-ranging conversation, González also revealed ongoing debates within the World Trade Organization (WTO) around data and its implications.
“Where will the data sit? Who will own it? How will we protect it?” are all being asked by member states, González said, as data issues disrupt global trade and policymaking.
The ongoing question of WTO reform also arose, with Lord Green identifying “work that needs to be done” to bolster the organisation.
“We want a WTO which has strong arbitration, makes strong dispute resolutions, and is authoritative, so that counties around world respect its decisions and abide by them,” he said.
WATCH Arancha González in conversation with Lord Green at Asia House TV