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IATA promises 'relentless' anti-protectionist campaign

Posted 14 March 2017 · Add Comment

ABU DHABI: IATA has committed to relentlessly “speaking, informing, educating, proposing and lobbying” governments against protectionist stances and has already raised its concerns with authorities in European and in a meeting with the new US administration, reports Barbara Saunders.

The authority’s stance against protectionism was spelt out today at the World Cargo Symposium in Abu Dhabi where IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “Proposal or measures planned by some governments raise barriers for trade.”

In its meeting with the Trump administration, de Juniac said IATA “provided advocacy for open border for trade and people because it fuels growth and prosperity and allows people to live better lives.”

In his Symposium keynote address, de Juniac said all in the air cargo industry should “all be concerned about the protectionist rhetoric that is spreading. Aviation is the business of freedom. The industry is premised on borders that are open to people and trade. That is at the heart of the important role that we play in globalization. Some hold the view that globalization has not benefitted all equally. But the important role that globalization—with the help of aviation—has played in lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty is undeniable. By value, a third of the goods traded internationally are delivered by air cargo. We can be proud of the role global supply chains play to connect developed and developing markets. And we must join forces to remind governments of the benefits of globalization.”

Meeting journalists on the side lines of the Symposium, the IATA CEO said the organisation predicted a dip in growth for Middle East carriers below their 2016 and 2015 performance. “This is because there are some negative headwinds (pressure on capacity and yields) and among them is the protectionist rhetoric.”

However, de Juniac said the industry overall was “meeting at a time of cautious optimism—which is far too rare in the air cargo industry. After several years of virtually no growth, we are starting to see demand pick up. Freight volumes began to grow in the second half of 2016. And the momentum is carrying over into this year with January demand rising nearly 7% over the previous year.”

Among positive forces supporting growth, the IATA CEO cited strong export orders, double-digit growth in e-commerce and the huge potential within the high-value specialised cargo sector.

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