The session was chaired by Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah.
Derick Blaauw, Professor in the School of Economics at the North-West University of South Africa, presented a case study on “the impact of recycling in South Africa's urban informal economy on poverty levels”. The presentation traced the link between exports of recycled paper/plastic and poverty in the informal sector – i.e. the community collecting street waste (informal recycling). The case study provided valuable insights into how trade can help the poor in the informal sector and identified policy actions needed to help the waste-collecting community move up the development ladder.
Lucas Ferraz, Professor of Economics at the São Paulo School of Economics (EESP) from Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in Brazil, made a presentation on “trade facilitation, global value chains and income inequality”. Through the use of computable general equilibrium (CGE) modelling, the presentation analysed the impact of trade facilitation, particularly in terms of reducing delays at customs, global value chains and income inequality for 180 countries.
Pinar Artiran, Assistant Professor in Private International Law and WTO Chair Holder in Turkey, presented research into the “impact of regional integration on inclusive trade liberalization, competitiveness and welfare: the case of the Turkey-EU customs union”. The presentation provided an overview of the customs union and an analysis of how to enhance the customs union to make it more inclusive and welfare-enriching for both parties.
The session was well attended, with many questions and comments from the audience. The WTO Secretariat provided further explanations on the work of the Chairs Programme and on the various projects under way, including a study presently being undertaken jointly with the World Bank on trade and poverty. Also, attention was drawn to the forthcoming publication on trade costs and inclusive growth, which will be launched by Director-General Roberto Azevêdo at the Annual Conference of the Chairs Programme in November.