meeting could not be more timely. It gives me an opportunity to pay my respects to our
sister organizations, to report to Finance and Development Ministers, share our ambitions
and seek Ministerial assistance in capitals.
months from now, in Seattle, the United States Government will host the Third Ministerial
Conference of the WTO. Trade Ministers will launch new multilateral trade negotiations,
and set the WTO's work programme and priorities for the next few years. Development must
be and will be - at the very centre of this agenda: we must use it to bring
developing countries into the mainstream of the world economy so they can share more
fairly in its benefits. In this we will need the active support of finance and development
ministers, and of the World Bank and the IMF, as well as UNCTAD and UNDP not only to make
Seattle a success, but to help keep trade on the agenda in the months ahead and to ensure
nations can engage throughout the round.
have an opportunity at Seattle to put practical substance to the instructions of our
leaders and ministers who want us to act in a more coherent manner and who have told us
development cant wait.
will be judged at the launch of the new round, not by what we say, but by what we do.
After years of analysis, the very poor and indebted nations want more than reports. We
have suffered from a paralysis of analysis.
would be the real cost to the wealthiest nations if all barriers to exports from the
poorest nations were lifted? That would represent just 0.5 per cent of world trade. For
example, Africa has seen major declines in its share of trade since the launch of the
Uruguay Round. This is not entirely the fault of the trading system. Sovereign governments
have responsibilities here, but when they develop export potential based on the advice and
exhortations of people like us, the door is slammed firmly shut.
market access gives the gift of opportunity. Reductions in tariffs in sectors such as
textiles, clothing, and agricultural products are of primary interest to developing
countries, and a key to achieving a balanced outcome in Seattle. Put this alongside action
on debt relief, extending the benefits of E-commerce, more on good governance including
win-win agreements on transparency in government procurement and trade
facilitation - then we see the makings of a coherent package that means something. We
could do this at Seattle then move to wider needs.
countries need better access to modern technology and services, such as
telecommunications, financial services, information technologies, and electronic commerce.
Some have portrayed these as developed country trade issues. Nothing could be further from
the truth. Liberalization in these sectors is about access to the building blocks of
modern economies. Instead of seeing technology as a barrier between North and South, we
should see it as a bridge and we must work together, not only in the name of social
justice, but because we are all, in the end, each others customers.
countries, and particularly the poorest among them, need access to the trading system
itself, and to the WTO's institutional machinery. We dont have a world trade system
until the 30 developing countries and transition economies seeking accession are inside
need to make the system work for them. We need to improve participation in the WTO,
particularly for the least developed countries who currently feel marginalized and lack a
sense of ownership of the system. They need assistance in implementing existing
commitments, dispute settlement, and developing trade policy expertise, the better to
promote their legitimate self-interest. A Seattle achievable will be to enhance and
improve the delivery of technical assistance, especially through the Integrated Framework
for Trade-Related Technical Assistance for Least-Developed Countries.
need to make explicit the link between demand and supply between access to markets
and the capacity to benefit from this access. I believe Jim Wolfensohn's Comprehensive
Development Framework is an ideal vehicle for integrating trade-related capacity building
more closely into development, and helping to make trade work for human development and
poverty alleviation. We need to see the WTO's technical assistance and World Bank capacity
building as two sides of the same coin - an integrated strategy to give developing
countries the productive resources they need to be full partners in the global economy.
work with the Bank on a new coordinated programme of trade support and capacity building
for developing countries is advancing well, and I am in a position to report in Seattle
that developing countries have the full backing of the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF as
they engage in new trade negotiations. I thank the Bank and the Fund for renewing that
pledge at recent meetings. We know this requires new resources. No-one wants the trade
agenda competing for funds with other development priorities, but we cannot advance in
Seattle with an unfunded mandate for development assistance.
will be asking Trade Ministers in Seattle to find the funds we need to support more
effective trade-related technical assistance for developing countries, particularly to
help them meet their resource needs for financing implementation of their WTO obligations.
It is in the interests of all that agreements are better understood, and therefore more
new round is an opportunity to encourage developing countries themselves to
continue using openness and liberalization as tools for their own economic growth. This
means engaging confidently and readily in further liberalization of their own trade
regimes, correcting structural weaknesses and market distortions in their own economies,
and locking in their reforms under WTO rules. Good governance, which can be improved
through trade facilitation and transparency in government procurement, can also play an
important role in securing the right environment for growth by reassuring investors and
task in the WTO this year is to secure a successful Seattle Conference and to launch a
balanced new round of trade negotiations. But our goal is not freer trade for trade's
sake. It is about better living standards for all countries developing and
developed alike. Because only with higher living standards can we achieve better health
care and education, the eradication of hunger, a cleaner environment, a more peaceful and
just world. This is our common objective. Im looking forward to working with you.
You will have my total co-operation.