Be innovative in inculcating innovation culture: MTDC chief

  • Question isn’t so much whether trade fostered innovation or innovation fostered trade
  • Critical mass of focused, able and driven entrepreneurs needed to bring R&D fruits to market

Be innovative in inculcating innovation culture: MTDC chiefIN drawing up innovation policies, politicians and policy-makers themselves should be innovative and take into consideration the internal strength of the country as well as the size of existing gaps, said Norhalim Yunus (pic), chief executive officer of Malaysian Technology Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (MTDC).
 
Speaking at the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Public Forum held from Oct 1-3 in Geneva, Switzerland, he also stressed the importance of establishing a culture that encourages and celebrates entrepreneurship.
 
“The critical mass of focused, able and driven entrepreneurs should be available to take up technologies from research and development bodies and bring them to market,” he said during a the session that discussed Promoting technological capacity-building and enhancing trade competitiveness in Asian economies.
 
At the session, Norhalim shared the experiences of views of MTDC, an agency tasked to promote technology via commercialisation and technology acquisition.
 
Others in the session were Jason Munyan from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Arancha Gonzalez, executive director of the International Trade Centre; and Jayant Dasgupta, ambassador and India’s permanent representative to WTO.
 
The session was moderated by Vijay Kalantri, the vice chairman of World Trade Centre Mumbai and president of the All India Association of Industries.
 
Norhalim also advised countries to benchmark against peers rather than against countries that top the list as far as the global index is concerned, and argued that trade and innovations are symbiotically linked.
 
“If you have a good entrepreneur in trade, it will foster innovation; and if you have an entrepreneur who is innovative, it will foster trade,” he said.
 
He said the key question was not so much on whether trade fostered innovation or innovation fostered trade; but whether there are high-quality entrepreneurs who have the drive and vision to develop trade and innovation.
 
The WTO Public Forum is an annual event that provides a platform for public debate across a wide range of WTO issues and trade topics. It is also the avenue for WTO to exchange views with NGOs (non-governmental organisations), academia, the private sector and people interested to participate in shaping the world’s economic and political environment.
 
The 2013 Public Forum looked at the future of trade in an era of innovation and digitalisation. It focused on the Asian perspective and addressed key topics that included technology policy and strategies adopted in Asia, the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) and the impact of technology imports in Asian manufacturing.
 
The forum, attended by 600 delegates, also discussed the enhancement of industrial competitiveness through research and development; technology parks; technology and industrial infrastructure; as well as developing countries' needs and access to new technologies.
 
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