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Trade war, a bump in the road of global sustainable trade (II)

2018-09-14China WTO Tribuneadmin0010

IntervieweeMr. Christian Ewert, Director General of amfori
Facing the turbulent global trade situation, Mr. Christian Ewert, Director General of amfori (formerly known as Foreign Trade Association) is optimistic.
“It (the trade conflict) is a bump in the road. If the world supports sustainable development, I’m optimistic.”Mr. Christian Ewert said in the interview, free trade has been the global consensus and the mission of amfori is to promote the parallel trade, free and global trade in a sustainable fashion. 
For the free and open trade
China WTO Tribune: Did this trade conflict impact amfori's member companies? Has amfori taken some countermeasures?
Mr. Ewert: So far as I said, we cannot see a direct negative impact on our members. I believe it's clear the longer the trade conflict continues, the more significant the negative impact will be. 
The plan we have already started is that we engage in the European Commission directly. We reach out to our national governments in order to ensure that the loss is constrained as much as possible. So this is one side where we welcome sort of agreement. But this can only be the beginning. We need to do more. And we need to ensure that the WTO, as the world trade organization, is also empowered to fulfill its role. And again, this is where I fear that the United States is rather destructive instead of positively providing support.
China WTO Tribune: Does amfori has some new values after renaming in 2018?
Mr. Ewert: We implemented a very ambitious Vision 2030, effective on 1 January. I mean, free trade with purpose, taking a very holistic approach of supporting free and open trade happening in a sustainable fashion.
International trade is not only about investments and the exchange of goods, it's also much about values. In this context, there's kind of a reference to our mission. Our mission is in a certain way to inspire action around the world that enables businesses to enhance human prosperity, use natural resources responsibly and drive open trade globally. Those three in concert, really have a positive impact in terms of global prosperity, which is also an important element. When we look at SDGs, every of these takes some countermeasures to support the tasks.
China WTO Tribune: What has been brought to amfori members by these new values?
Mr. Ewert: When I look at the three core values that we have identified, and Vision 2030 with leadership collaboration and excellence in what we are doing, I believe this is a contribution to open and sustainable trade going forward. It's not only just money, it's also much about the sort of relationships that we as a society, globally. And this much depends on shared values of our members in this context.
China WTO Tribune: amfori Annual Report 2017-2018 shows that the number of amfori members has increased by 238 and the turnover exceeds 1.6 trillion euros. What are the factors behind these achievements?
Mr. Ewert:  It is certainly very encouraging to see what we have got. We have been doing this now for forty years old. For the past four years, ten percent of that journey, I can see how we have gained momentum, how we have accelerated, how we have improved our tools, how we are engaging deeper and a more participatory approach with our members, and especially how we are also engaging internationally with relevant stakeholders. I think it's a very important if I maybe just refer to No. 17 of SDGs in this context, collaboration.
And again, I really like one statement that Confucius made alone, “You can walk fast together”. We can walk much further with our members who are positively contributing towards the SDGs. Today our membership cover 21 industry sectors in the food and nonfood area. We are in a position due to our going membership and due to our growing base that we have the opportunity to influence many industry sectors.
Since 2008, amfori and China WTO Tribune have established partnership and also co-hosted series of Sino-European CSR Roundtable Forums to promote the sustainable supply chain(for more information:csr-china.net and amfori.org).
China WTO Tribune: What is the significance of amfori's Vision 2030 strategy for the new trade situation?  Is there any remarkable result of this strategy in current stage?
Mr. Ewert: The deep sort of ongoing and continued turbulence is what we can see in the trade context and may have had an impact on more and more stakeholders. But it also reinforces the importance of free global trade in a sustainable fashion.   
On one side, amfori’s Vision 2030 facilitates free trade and on the other side, it ensures sustainability and supports all enterprises who are devoted to realizing SDGs, especially showing its strategic significance in gigantic projects in infrastructure context and manufacturing.
Expanding amfori’s global network is a part of our Vision 2030. We were very pleased to be selected as one of the very few organizations in the Europe. In China, last year we were invited as the first international business association to join Belt & Road Industrial and Commercial Alliance, a multilateral cooperation mechanism envisioned and initiated by China Federation of Industrial Economics to unite leading industrial and commercial organizations worldwide for the common prosperity along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
For an organization like amfori, we will and have to drive these two important topics forward in parallel trade, free and global trade in a sustainable fashion. 
(Mr. Christian Ewert was interviewed by Li Sichu from China WTO Tribune on August 2, 2018.)
Source: China WTO Tribune
Edited by GoldenBee
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