WTO suggests adjustment of society to trade, technological advance

Updated 2017-09-28 16:30:50 Xinhua

The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday noted in its latest World Trade Report that continued economic progress hinges on the ability of societies to remain open to trade and technological advance, while also being able to adjust, adapt and promote greater inclusiveness.

The report found that although trade and technology are vital sources of economic growth, certain types of workers or regions may sometimes be adversely affected.

It also finds that although the two are interrelated, it is technology and not trade that bears the greatest responsibility for the decreasing share of manufacturing jobs and for the declining number of middle-skill jobs relative to low- and high-skill jobs in developed economies.

Looking ahead, the prospects for increased automation suggest that technology may have an even greater impact on the future of jobs.

"We can be sure that technological progress is likely to have an increasingly disruptive impact, rendering some skills obsolete but enhancing others and leading to the development of new skills and new jobs", warned WTO economists in the report.

The report underlined that through a mix of adjustment, competitiveness and compensation policies, governments can help workers to manage the cost of adjusting to technological change and trade, while making sure that the economy captures as much as possible the benefits from these changes.

The WTO suggested while today's labour market problems are largely traceable to domestic policy shortcomings, a failure to find answers could have global ramifications. It called on governments to attain cooperative "win- win" approaches to the challenges of ongoing global economic change.

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