Yup, that’s right. They have got to know about International Trade to be effective Members of Parliament.
This is why, parliamentarians from Asia-Pacific countries, including Singapore, attended the Parliamentarian Workshop on International Trade which was co-hosted by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) this morning.
Here’s 3 things you should know about the workshop:
1. The workshop started in 2009
When the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis hit, the Southeast Asian economies were hit badly.
But fortunately, the region’s participation in global value chains enable a quick rebound.
This led to the start of the workshop to enable attendees to have a deeper understanding of the WTO, current and future negotiating issues in international trade and a sustained focus on the concerns of developing states in the process.
2. Parliamentarians are the bridge
With the knowledge and information gained from the workshop, parliamentarians have the important role to serve as a bridge between domestic audiences like business or consumer interests and international trade groups like the WTO.
Speaker of Parliament Madam Halimah Yacob who spoke at the event, put it appropriately:
“As an MP myself, in conversations with my constituents, few would understand the meaning and significance of WTO, ASEAN or FTAs, therefore it is our role to explain how these organizations and how the government’s participation in these partnerships brings food to the table, shelter over our heads, schools for our children and good healthcare system for our people.“
3. It’s all about the trade and the people
The 3-day programme is tailored around the topic of international trade. This is important as parliamentarians also have an important role to play in facilitating trade.
The Director-General of the WTO Roberto Azevêdo said at the same workshop in 2015:
“As parliamentarians, your involvement is crucial in all of our work — because it is through you that we hear the voices of the people that we are here to serve. And nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important than that.”