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> Supachai Panitchpakdi’s speeches
This is what he wrote:
“ Dear Permanent Representative,
I know how deeply we all feel about the terrible toll taken by the recent
tsunami in the Indian Ocean and South East Asia. As someone from the
affected region, I naturally feel a particular sense of tragedy. I also want
to express my, and the Organization’s, deep appreciation for the generosity
of the response from so many governments and from millions of ordinary
people both within the region and around the world.
As an important actor in international economic cooperation, the WTO shares
part of the responsibility to assist recovery from this disaster. The
question we must address is how best the Organization can contribute given
its mandate and sphere of competence.
Although we are not involved in humanitarian assistance or disaster relief,
clearly we can make a major contribution to the economies of the affected
countries (and others) by pressing on with and concluding the Doha
Development Agenda as soon as possible. This would seem to be particularly
relevant in the field of market access, including trade in some services
sectors and certain modes of supply. Additionally, a successful Round will
help to generate resources that can be used to reduce poverty, which will in
turn improve the capacities of countries to prevent disasters (whether
tsunamis or other natural phenomena), to cope with their effects, and to
recover as quickly as possible.
With the best will in the world, the benefits of successful completion of
the DDA will only be felt in the medium term. That does not undermine the
case for concluding it as soon as humanly possible. Quite the opposite. But
it also leads me to ask whether there is any action which can be taken more
immediately. I accordingly wish to urge all Members individually to reflect
deeply and expeditiously on whether there is anything they can do at this
moment in time in terms of their trade policy to help the worst affected
economies to recover. Since this is a matter for individual governments, I
do not wish to make specific suggestions. Obvious possible areas which occur
to me and no doubt others will be market access and some restraint in use of
trade remedies. However I do not wish to imply that these are the only ways
in which help could be offered. If you feel that some form of enabling
action at the multilateral level could be useful, please raise this
possibility as appropriate with colleagues, the Chairman of the General
Council, other relevant chairpersons and/or myself.
I hope and trust that you will relay these sentiments to your authorities.
Supachai Panitchpakdi ”