Thank you for
your kind welcome. It is particularly appropriate for me to be delivering my last public
speech as WTO Director-General to this prestigious institution - an institution which has
not only been a good neighbour, but a very good friend and collaborator for many years.
Four years ago I was
asked to head the newly created World Trade Organization the first new
international institution of the post-Cold War era. It was a great privilege, and I can
truthfully say this has been the most challenging and rewarding chapter of my career. As I
approach the end of my term, I want to take the opportunity to reflect on the WTO's
relevance to the emerging international system. What are its larger implications? And what
role can we play, along with other international institutions, in developing a coherent
approach to globalization?
Not too long
ago the idea of a global system of governance would have seemed utopian no less
utopian than the fall of the Berlin Wall without a war or the creation of single European
currency. Cold-War rivalries, ideological conflicts, North-South differences all
created an international system that was defined by its divisions, not by its shared
The trend in
today's international system is very different. All around us, and across many issues, we
feel more and more the need for global cooperation, multilateral agreements, and the
international rule of law. The WTO's emergence as a leading rule-maker in the global
economy is a powerful example of this trend but it is not alone. From human rights,
to climate change, to capital flows our globalizing world demands global solutions.
And these solutions must increasingly be based on shared agreements and rules.
If the Cold
War system was shaped by the clash of ideology, this new system is being shaped by the
convergence of trade, capital, technology, information, ideas. If the challenge of the old
order was to manage a divided world, the challenge of the new order is to manage an
conflicts, destructive nationalisms, violations of basic human rights these
tragedies have certainly not disappeared from our world, as Kosovo, Sierra Leone, or
Rwanda brutally remind us. But they are even more unacceptable today because they clash so
starkly with the underlying spirit and assumptions of our global age. In 1999 we find
ourselves between two realities: Between the logic of global cooperation the need
for a global system - and the counter-pressures of nationalism, isolationism, separatism.
Between the divisions and horrors of the 20th century, and the global promise
of the century that lies ahead.
I will argue
today that our progress in resolving these new tensions will hinge on our ability not just
to build a coherent global architecture, but to build a new political constituency for
globalization, backed by a new vision of internationalism.
global system is very new, but the vision behind it dates back 50 years. The postwar
architects were guided by a central idea - that a durable international peace could only
be built on the foundations of interdependence. In their vision, economic freedom
free markets, free trade, the free movement of goods, capital and ideas was a
prerequisite for political and social freedoms around the world. Trade would lead to
shared prosperity, a shared commitment to stability, and help to prevent the resurgence of
economic nationalism and protectionism which had done so much to fuel conflict.
Underpinning all this was a belief that the rule of law - not the rule of power was
the only rational basis for civilised discourse among nations.
on, our globalizing world of falling barriers, rising trade, borderless technologies, and
widening circles of interdependence is in many ways fulfilling that postwar vision. Trade
has expanded fourteen-fold since 1950 while production has grown six-fold. A quarter of
the world's output is now traded compared to just seven per cent in 1950. Over
a trillion dollars moves around the planet every day.
But this new
world is about much more that trade or capital flows. We are increasingly linked together
by travel, communications, culture, and ideas, as well as by trade, services and
investment. Television, mobile phones, and the Internet are erasing the barriers, not just
between economies, but between people - allowing us to see and understand how
interconnected we are. Globalization is transforming international relations, not just our
economies. And this new system requires us all to adapt.
The WTO was
created in 1995 to be a pillar of this globalizing world. Our goal was an ambitious one
to build a universal trading system bringing together all economies under one
institutional roof and one set of rules, while preserving special and differential
treatment for developing countries. So far the WTO has moved substantially towards these
ambitions. We now have 134 members, four-fifths of which are developing or transition
economies. An additional 32 candidates are negotiating to join, including the former cold
warriors Russia and China. The goal of having China - and a good number of other accession
candidates as full members of our organization this year remains a vital one for
the future of our system.
brought some of the most advanced sectors of the world economy into the system, with
sweeping agreements in information technologies, telecommunications and financial services
underlining the reality that multilateralism, rather than regionalism, offers the
most viable answer to globalized trade. We have improved our relations with other
international institutions, in particular with UNCTAD, the IMF, the World Bank, and the
United Nations. We have opened up many of our own procedures to make this system more
transparent. Most important, we have established a binding dispute settlement mechanism
which is not only used by a growing numbers of countries large and small but
is respected by them as well.
our two successful Ministerial Conferences; the 50th anniversary celebration
involving world leaders from all regions and backgrounds; a High Level Meeting to help
integrate the least-developed countries into the trading system; a new Internet link
between these countries and WTO headquarters in Geneva; our recent High-Level Symposia on
Trade and the Environment and Trade and Development to build a new relationship with civil
society these and other initiatives underline how far the trading system has
adapted to the reality of globalization.
But while the
new WTO is an essential part of the answer to globalization, it is not sufficient. More
and more, we are facing issues and concerns which go beyond the parameters of trade. More
and more, globalization is raising a whole new set of questions about how to manage
interdependence. Can we have an open world economy without a stable financial system? How
to protect endangered species and promote sustainable development? Should trade be linked
to labour standards and human rights? Can we preserve cultural identities in age of
borderless communications? And what about poverty eradication, reducing inequalities, and
promoting the rights of women?
other questions underline how integration is blurring the lines between domestic and
global concerns. All appear inter-linked many facets of a single issue to
our publics. Each one will get louder and more insistent in an age when the images of
ethnic cleansing, starving children, or burning rainforests come into our homes every
evening via television. They will rightly demand answers.
My point is
that we are moving into a very different world from the one which existed before the fall
of the Berlin Wall. In fact we already find ourselves in the 3rd millennium. It
is a world shaped by globalism, technology and cyberspace, and where we can no longer rely
on our old policy tools and our old approaches. Events are passing us by. Today we need to
respond to the challenges before us with the same vision and imagination that inspired the
post-war architects 50 years ago. I would like to suggest what I believe are some of the
must move towards a more collective leadership one that reflects the reality of a
multipolar world, and especially the emergence of new developing-country powers. This does
not mean that the G-7/G-8 is suddenly any less important. It means simply that the
advanced economies alone are no longer enough to provide international leadership. The new
G-22 even if it is only at the level of finance ministers is already
indicative of the kind of broader international leadership we need.
leadership also means that the nature of leadership must change: In an interdependent
world, leadership is the art of cooperation and consensus. It is about defining common
goals and interests, rather than a common enemy.
need to look at the policy challenges we face as pieces of an interconnected puzzle. We
can no longer treat human rights, the environment, development, trade, health, or finance
as separate sectoral issues, to be addressed through separate policies and institutions.
Both nationally and internationally, we need to give more thought to how we coordinate our
policy goals, harmonize an expanding web of international agreements, and commit ourselves
to agreed common actions. As we enter a new century, we need a new vision of security
human security which reflects the reality that financial crises or
environmental degradation are equally threatening to the global peace and demand an
equally collective response.
need a new forum for the management of these complex issues: One that is truly
representative of the new global realities. One which brings world leaders together to
tackle an expanded policy agenda and the new challenges of globalization. I believe the
time has come at the end of the second millennium and the beginning of the third -
to promote this initiative at future meetings of world leaders. The Millennium Summit,
recently decided upon by the General Assembly of the United Nations, could be the
appropriate occasion to improve the global architecture we need for managing
Last but not
least, we need a clear mandate from the world's leaders to promote a common global
strategy and common global actions. A common strategy among international
institutions, national administrations, civil society for strengthening the
international rule of law, eradicating poverty and reducing world-wide inequalities within
a set period of time. A common strategy to achieve a sustainable environment in
developing and developed countries alike. A common strategy to eliminate the greatest part
of global trade barriers at least reflecting on a multilateral level, what
governments have already agreed in regional arrangements. This strategy must be focused on
people and values - more than governments - harnessing interdependence and globalization
to address today's challenges. An annual report to the world's leaders should indicate the
progress we have made towards meeting these common goals.
The choice we
face is certainly not between this new global system and national sovereignty. On the
contrary, greater global cooperation, strong international organizations, and
consensus-based multilateral rules only extend sovereignty beyond borders. In today's
interdependent world it is only by remaining isolated by turning away from
international cooperation that countries surrender their sovereignty.
I began by
saying that we find ourselves in a new international system one called
globalization And this new international system requires a new way of looking at the world
new approaches, new institutions, a new mental landscape.
globalizing world must be more than a catchword or a vague expression of shared sentiment.
We need first to identify new global values which can be shared by our global community in
these changing times. We need to make a real collective commitment to working together,
and show a willingness to respect the concerns and interests of others. We need a
realistic appraisal of what can be achieved together - based on workable proposals and
multilateral approaches. And we need a new vision of internationalism backed by a
new political determination to defend it.
expect international cooperation, but then resist interference in our domestic affairs. We
cannot assert the international rule of law, only if it mirrors our rules and our laws. We
cannot create international institutions, only to deny them the resources or authority
they need to work.
century draws to a close, we are no longer threatened by a Cold War nuclear confrontation.
The new global threat is hunger, poverty, ignorance, inequalities, unemployment, human
rights violations, the prospect of environmental collapse. And yet we also live at a time
when mankind has reached a level of material, technological, and human progress unmatched
in history when we are all moving into a new world of unprecedented opportunities
opened up by the end of the Cold War and the revolutionary power of new technologies.
The fusion of
computers and telecommunications is linking the world's people together, improving access
to health care and education regardless of geography and distance. The reach of satellites
and mobile phones - into even the most remote villages - is not only reducing physical
marginalization, but can make the difference between life and death. With electronic
commerce we are opening up the opportunity for every nation and every person to be part of
a world market for their services, their products, their ideas.
many criticisms of this globalizing world and the voices of concern often seem to prevail
over messages of opportunity. But no one offers a rational alternative to the main
challenge of our time which is to improve the management of this interdependent world
not refuse it. Let us have no doubt about the nature of the debate. The choice is
between working together to solve our global problems, or rebuilding walls going
back to a world more divided, not more united, where in place of greater freedom and
solidarity, we would find nationalism and racism flourishing. Is this the alternative
world we want?
generation has witnessed three extraordinary events which have shown how utopias can
become dreams and dreams can become realities. We have seen the fall of the Berlin Wall
and the end of Soviet domination in Central and Eastern Europe - without a war. We
have seen Western Europe transformed from a devastated and divided continent into a
unified community of nations through trade, economic, monetary, and increasingly political
integration. We are now seeing the rise of a world trading system rules-based, not
power-based at a time when the call for an improved system of international
governance is more and more insistent.
Let us not be
afraid to dream again as we build a global system for the third millennium. Thank you.