Distinguished Representatives of Member States,
is my great pleasure to welcome the results of the
General Councils voting. Today is a historic day
for Lithuania who, after a complex, intensive, and often
difficult work completed membership negotiations with the
World Trade Organization.
was not a party to the General Agreement on Trade and
Tariffs. We had lost the pace due to the legacies imposed
on us by the history of occupation. Therefore accession
to the World Trade Organization is one of the crucial
steps toward my countrys full reintegration into
the world economy. Just like the European and
Euro-Atlantic membership is vital to my countrys
security and well being.
the WTO has become an instrument capable of effectively
regulating international trade and streamlining its
development. The fundamental principles of the WTO have
encouraged further liberalization of the world markets
and allowed the creation of a stable, effective, and
transparent global trade system.
country is strongly committed to participate in the
international economy and multilateral trade. Lithuania
is an open economy wherein trade accounts for 80 percent
of the GDP. Being part of the World Trade Organization
will secure and consolidate my countrys due place
in the global network of economic interdependence.
membership provides us with more reliable, transparent,
and predictable rules and regulations, which in turn
represent better guarantees for domestic and foreign
investors. Membership should also facilitate access to
international financial markets.
is finalizing its accession in the post-Seattle period.
We understand that this is far from easy period for the
Organization. Worldwide integration of economies raises
more and more concerns. We sometimes hear that
globalization is to be blamed for contemporary evils,
such as poverty, unemployment, and environmental
degradation. Such an approach has pooled the opposition
against the efforts to further liberalize global trade
and promote investments by launching another round of
multilateral trade negotiations under WTO leadership.
is true that globalization necessitates adjustments that
might be difficult to accept for those on the margins of
the global community. However, expanding international
trade and increasing openness of national markets has
consistently generated wealth and economic growth. As a
result, open economies have enjoyed higher social
standards. Open economy policies were instrumental in
reducing poverty, raising employment, and improving
conditions for public health and education.
we welcome the efforts of the member states, the Director
General and Chairman of the General Council to rebuild
confidence in the World Trade Organization.
success has already been achieved. The best evidence of
it is the launching of negotiations on agriculture and
services, the establishment of a mechanism for a more
efficient implementation of the Uruguay Round
commitments, and the on-going efforts to ensure
transparency and effective participation of all its
members in the work of the Organization.
success of these undertakings should encourage a new
round of multilateral trade negotiations, which, I am
convinced, will deliver benefits to all nations and the
global economy. Lithuania joins the Organization, which
has contributed greatly to the upturn of the global
economy, and, I am convinced, will continue to do so in
the national perspective, I believe that WTO membership
will further promote economic and legal reforms in
Lithuania. The accession process has already played a
significant part in shaping our trade regime and
environment for foreign investments. Now the Government
is encouraged to further eliminate the remaining barriers
to trade and increase competition under bilateral and
in my country about the advantages of WTO membership have
also inspired us to examine thoroughly the best practices
of the world trade system and integrate them into our
value todays voting in the General Council as an
acknowledgement of the progress achieved by Lithuania
during its decade of independence. By its vote the
General Council has endorsed the wide range of our legal
and institutional reforms and has accepted Lithuania as a
reliable and attractive trading partner.
me conclude by reassuring you that Lithuania is committed
to further pursue the principles of liberal trade, as
only they can bring the best output for all of us. I am
convinced that membership in a transparent and
rule-governed World Trade Organization will guarantee
equal treatment of all nations in the complex system of
international trade and, more importantly, it will
provide us with the optimum outcome for our people.
you, Mr. Chairman.