WTO: World Trade Organization

Topic A: Integrating Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in International Trade

In the ever-evolving system of the international economy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are coming to the forefront as large potential roleplayers in enhancing global economic growth and development as both significant exporters and as employers. Despite the title of small or medium-sized, SMEs account for the vast majority of businesses in all countries. SMEs are involved in international trade as both importers and exporters, but at levels significantly disproportionate to their importance in domestic economies. Barriers to trade include high trade costs and lack of available capital to finance trade; furthermore, difficulty accessing information and higher-skilled workers make SMEs inherently disadvantaged when compared to larger multinational companies. However, SMEs carry with them significant economic potential on the global stage in increasing national development, employment levels, and the growth of diverse sectors in national economies. WTO research indicates that one potential avenue for growth is an increased emphasis on public-private cooperation, through a reduction in governmental regulations on procurement and other processes. Delegates will need to consider the desires of SMEs and which factors will encourage their expansion into international trade, as well as barriers that SMEs face in attempting to access international markets.

Topic B: Breaking Down Barriers to Humanitarian Aid

When a natural disaster strikes a state, one of the most immediate effects is a surge in imports. Along with this surge comes a variety of procedures that range from sanitary controls to cargo inspections, adding hundreds of additional hours to the aid process. Additionally, certain goods necessary for disaster relief, such as blankets, have significantly higher tariffs than most other imports. This topic concerns itself with addressing trade barriers to humanitarian aid such as those described above, as said barriers both slow down aid delivery and render critical goods more expensive to import. However, some countries, such as Sri Lanka, maintain deliberately high trade barriers to protect local industry in the face of international pressure. A comprehensive discussion of the trade barriers to humanitarian aid will not only touch on tariffs, but also on more nuanced issues such as digital payments for supplies as a means to circumvent barriers, as well as the relative obligations of governments to their local economies and their citizenry in times of disaster. In preparing for this topic, delegates will theorize about potential threats that their countries face and how trade barriers and regulations might impede a humanitarian relief process.