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The UN must use all powers that it has in its command to ensure that the developed world does not shut the doors on global trade and does not start to close their borders for people to move around, prominent Indian industrialist Sunil Bharti Mittal said.
"We know the globalisation and liberalisation in trade has lifted at least a billion people out of poverty across the globe. There is so much potential that global trade allows the developing world to achieve which no other measure can truly realise," Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said in his address to a high-level meeting on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Financing Lab hereyesterday.
Mittal, 59, speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the world's largest business organisation International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), said it is a matter of concern that parts of the developed world are now embracing a protectionist attitude.
He emphasised that the UN must use "all powers that it has in its command" to ensure that the developed world "does not shut the doors on global trade and does not start to close their borders for people to move around".
"Then, ICC notices the voice coming out of the developed world, parts of Europe, right here in the US, which are sounding protectionist in nature, sounding moving towards nationalist politics in nature," he told the gathering in the UN, which included President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson and UN Permanent Representatives.
"It is a matter of deep concern for some of us in ICC because we believe there is no other recourse to uplifting the world out of poverty than to have global trade at the heart of the agenda of the world political leaders," Mittal said.
He asserted that inclusive trade must be the "central priority" if nations have to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
"Business is already taking action, we need the right policies and partnerships in place to achieve the SDGs," he said.
The Chairman of Bharti Airtel, one of India's leading conglomerates, said the emerging markets, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and other nations greatly benefit from the opening of global trade.
Over the last 10 to 20 years, business leaders have been "knocking very hard on the doors of our own countries" to open up to global trade.
He told the gathering that India today is one of the most open countries in terms of global trade and investments and invites FDI in India in almost all major industries.