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WTO NEWS: 2004 NEWS ITEMS

18 May 2004
GENERAL COUNCIL 18 MAY 2004

Agenda Item 7 Ś Trade Integration Mechanism of the IMF

Statement by the Director-General

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I would like to add my personal welcome to Ms Krueger, and to say how much I appreciate her visiting Geneva to brief the General Council on the IMF's new policy Ś the Trade Integration Mechanism.

Anne Krueger and Horst K÷hler have exercised very important leadership in shepherding this initiative from its conception this time last year through to its recent approval by the IMF's Board of Executive Directors. I would like to thank Anne for the role she has played, and ask her to pass on my appreciation also to Horst K÷hler.

The Trade Integration Mechanism is a welcome contribution to the Doha Round, in particular to attaining ambitious market access results. The Mechanism can help reassure low income developing countries that they will receive assistance from the international community to help them deal with adjustment difficulties they encounter from the loss of trade preferences which will result from the lowering of MFN tariffs at the end of the Doha Round. Concerns about the erosion of trade preferences is a more prominent feature of the Doha Round than of previous trade Rounds. There are more low income developing countries that are now Members of the WTO, and preference schemes have increased in the past few years under various trade initiatives that have been introduced by developed and developing country Members in favour of low income countries. The Trade Integration Mechanism can start making an important contribution already by helping to address these concerns, even before any calls are placed through it on the use of IMF resources. It is a valuable commitment from the international financial community to support the deeper integration of low income countries into the trading system.

A welcome feature of the Mechanism is that it will be available for use by WTO Members to deal with temporary adjustment difficulties that they encounter next year as a result of the expiry of the ATC and the restoration of more liberal trade in textiles and clothing.

The WTO Secretariat will cooperate closely with IMF staff to assist WTO Members to evaluate the opportunities that the Trade Integration Mechanism presents. We hope also to be able to contribute constructively to its effective implementation by the IMF.

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