Using Data to Combat Prejudice Against Immigrants
– What are the contributions of migrants to trade, to the economy of their countries of destination and origin? This is an angle that is generally ignored in the international debate on the subject, which usually focuses more on issues such as the incidence of foreigners in crime or unemployment.
In order to discuss these and other questions, international experts met in Buenos Aires on on Thursday, Dec. 14, at the first Forum on Migration, Trade and the Global Economy.
Not coincidentally, but to highlight the links between both topics, the event was held a day after the end of the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), also held in the Argentine capital.
“Migration is treated today in the world almost as a police matter. We stress the need to address the issue a different way, analysing the favourable economic outlook, especially in international trade,” said Aníbal Jozami, president of the Foro del Sur Foundation.
There are some 244 million migrants in the world today – around three percent of the total population – according to figures provided by Diego Beltrand, the IOM regional director for South America.
The number of migrants grew by an estimated 300 percent over the last 50 years. Different kinds of evidence of their economic contribution, something that is usually ignored, were presented at the forum.
This lack of knowledge about the positive impact of migration is the reason why, Beltrand said, “freedom of trade has been widely recognised around the world, but not freedom of movement for people.”