Impact Publications : AirCargo-260
AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • JUNE, 2019 • Page 3 Time of opportunity for world trade system despite issues with USA-China and UK- EU REFORM of the World Trade Organ- ization www.wto.org – called for by leaders of the G20 (Australia among them) and many others – is vital to the well-being of global trade and thus to the freight and logistics sector. Without such an overhaul, the ageing system will fail to meet current and future requirements. Speaking recently to the AIG Global Forum in Rotterdam, WTO deputy director-general Alan Wolff referred to the current situation as a time of ‘stress’ for the trading system, providing the oppor- tunity to adapt to current realities and prepare for future challenges. Reform would require perseverance and leadership, he said, not just from the largest trading coun- tries but from all WTO members. AIG www.aig.com is a major global insurance organisation serving more than 70 million clients. With a far-reaching intelligence service and contacts at high economic and government levels, AIG is renowned for its ability to generate useful international discussions, including the AIG Global Forum. “Were it not for the multilateral trading system, it is highly unlikely that the record of growth in trade and the global economy would be anything like the astoundingly positive numbers that have been achieved to date,” said Wolff. “Tariffs would be a lot higher, import quotas would be common, discrimination would be rampant , product standards would choke trade and every dispute could risk retaliation and counter-retaliation. “Without the multilateral trad- ing system, bilateral and regional arrangements could have created a miasma of regional content re- quirements that could make goods crossing a border a nightmare.” What has been created since the WTO was formed in 1995 (a 1947 attempt at forming such an inter- national trade organisation failed) was of enormous value, Wolff observed. “Nevertheless, there is an increas- ingly negative feeling about trade in many quarters. Few know how important the multilateral trading system is to them, and many who are aware of the WTO’s existence tend to focus on its defi- ciencies, not on its accomplishments. “That can be useful, to an extent, because complacency would be more of a danger to the world trading system than well-founded criticism. But there is one major caution: Pro- gress is not likely to be born out of ennui or despair. The times call for both increased leadership and strenuous co-operative efforts.” There have been a series of dan- ger signals that should have served as wake-up calls, Wolff claimed. These included the pre-emptive US withdrawal from the TPPA and the current exchange of tariff salvos between the US and China. “On top of all of these concerns, it is still unclear what the width of the English Channel is going to be after Brexit and the degree of openness of what is now largely an invisible Irish border is still unset- tled.” Among the other major factors at play, he noted, was the possibility that the two-year moratorium on lev- ying Customs duties on electronic transmissions might not be renewed. “In the modern world of e-com- merce, the levying of Customs du- ties on the content of cross border data flows could be catastrophic. “Policy space for national gov- ernments means the absence of coverage by international agree- ment , which while healthy in many respects, can in certain instances be deadly for the world economy.” Alan Wolff, WTO DHL opens in Brisbane DHL Express has opened a new state- of-the-art customer support centre on George Street in Brisbane’s cen- tral business district. The 3,200 square metre office will house more than 320 employees from the customer service, custom- er account management and cus- tomer-facing IT functions. Gary Edstein, ceo and senior vice president at DHL Express Oceania said: “DHL Express Australia’s new national customer support cen- tre demonstrates our continuing commitment to providing Australian businesses and consumers with reli- able and customer-centric onshore support, seven days a week.” Designed with employee wellbe- ing as its focus, the centre’s office space includes dedicated relaxation and entertainment areas. DHL’s employee learning and development program, Certified International Specialist (CIS), will also be based at the new centre.