Mike Moore's speeches
Renato Ruggiero's speeches,
Since the beginning of this year, I have had a wide range of contacts with WTO Members
both in Geneva and in capitals, beginning with New Delhi and including Brussels and
Washington. I have also met with the heads of other institutions, such as the
Secretary-General of the UN, the President of the World Bank, and the Secretary-General of
the ACP Group, who have all been very supportive. In my contacts with Members, which I
have undertaken in close co-operation with the Chairman and with the assistance of my
deputies, I have been seeking to get a sense of the immediate priorities for our attention
beyond the current mandated negotiations.
have shown considerable convergence on several points which are widely seen as immediate
priorities. These of course do not exclude any further action that Members may decide to
take in due course on other areas of interest and concern:
my contacts with a large number of Members of the WTO, nearly all have stressed the
importance of ensuring that the proposals discussed as part of the preparation for Seattle
with respect to measures in favour of least-developed countries, which encompass both
market access and capacity-building, should be taken up as a matter of priority. These
proposals were never to be seen as a trade-off or leverage to gain agreement to a new
round of negotiations. Supporters of these measures have assured me of their continued
support and I will be working closely with the Chairman of the General Council towards
bringing about agreement on a set of measures. I would aim to report back progress before
the Easter break. I see this as an important confidence-building exercise and a clear
signal of the WTOs resolve to help improve the conditions of our poorest Members.
second element that, disappointingly, we did not achieve in Seattle although we
came very close in pre-Seattle discussions was agreement on an increase in the
regular budget for technical cooperation. I shall not repeat here the gross imbalance
between the core funds currently available for technical cooperation and the needs of
Members. There is an ever-growing demand for technical cooperation which is difficult to
meet when there is great uncertainty about its funding.
have a rolling three-year plan of technical cooperation activities which is updated and
reviewed every year by the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD). This shows Members
where the technical cooperation efforts are going and the types of projects undertaken
subject to the availability of funds. Members have the opportunity to comment on this in
the CTD, and their remarks are taken into account in planning activities for the future.
text produced in the course of discussions for Seattle encompassed principles for
reinforced technical cooperation, improvement of the Integrated Framework,1
evaluation and regular review of technical cooperation and a provision for
additional funding through the regular budget of the amount of
Sw F 10 million over a three-year period. I hope that we can reach early
agreement in principle on this second confidence-building measure and in close
co-operation with the Chairman of the General Council, I shall be consulting extensively
on this in the weeks to come.
our last meeting on 17 December the Chairman of the General Council stated that
delegations should exercise restraint in respect of the expiry of transition periods.2 Both prior to the 17 December Council and since that meeting, a
number of Members have tendered written requests concerned with transition period
have been consulting with Members as to their attitude to these requests and to the
transition period issue in general, and I am pleased to report that Members have told me
that they are all prepared to adopt a reasonable and constructive attitude to crafting
practical solutions to individual Members transition problems within the
multilateral framework. I am encouraged by this and I have every reason to expect that we
will be able to work together to achieve the required consensus decisions in respect of
these requests. It is also encouraging that Members have shown sensitivity in their
approach to these problems, and I hope this will continue while we work towards a
definitive solution. I would see this issue as a priority for further consultations which
I would plan to continue in close co-operation with the Chairman of the General Council.
The aim would be to report back to the next meeting of the General Council.
need also to bear in mind that while the transition period issue is the most immediately
pressing problem before us, we will need to revert to other implementation-related issues
in due course. This is a major continuing concern for a good number of Members, as they
have made clear in our consultations. They have recalled, for example, that the proposals
for Seattle envisaged the establishment of a special implementation review mechanism under
the General Council composed of representatives of all Members. This is an area some have
suggested might also be revisited in further consultations.
Seattle, and since that meeting, many Members and other commentators have expressed the
view that the WTOs consultative procedures among Members need to be reviewed. The
general thrust of the comments made seems to be that we need to find ways to improve
internal transparency and guarantee effective participation to all of our Members while at
the same time operating in an efficient manner. Members have also rightly stressed that
the principle of consensus is not negotiable. While I think most would agree that major
issues of substance played a greater role than process in preventing agreement in Seattle,
getting the process right is important. I am personally committed to working on this
problem and since I know a number of Members have already been working in capitals on
proposals in this area, I think we should start by inviting contributions from delegations
which could then be used as the basis for further consultations that we could begin later
this month after those who are going to UNCTAD X return from Bangkok. Clearly, these
consultations should themselves be conducted in a transparent and open way, and I will be
discussing with the Chairman of the General Council the best ways to ensure this. One
possibility that has been suggested is to devote an Informal Heads-of-Delegation meeting,
and possibly a Special Session of the General Council, to the issue.
is my report, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you and delegations for your attention. I should
add if you permit that I have already received a number of thoughtful and detailed
suggestions from delegations about the questions I have covered and how they should be
addressed. I am sure you will understand that it has not been possible to reflect all
these suggestions in my report, which is not intended as a text for negotiation in its own
right. However, I can assure delegations that as far as I am concerned the suggestions
that have already been made on the basis of this report will be valued inputs to the
consultations that we will continue together.
also PRESS/167 on General Council decision.
> Return to news item
1 Programme set up in
October 1997, involving the Secretariats of the WTO, UNCTAD, the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Development Programme and the
International Trade Centre. They are combining forces to bringing the least-developed
countries in from the sidelines of the multilateral trading system. The Integrated
Framework provides a needs-driven, coordinated response to the problems that these
countries have faced in taking full advantage of the global trading system. To date, more
than 40 least-developed countries have submitted needs assessments and the six agencies
have responded with co-ordinated responses for action.
2 A number of WTO
agreements include clauses allowing developing countries until 1 January 2000 to
implement the agreements or certain provisions. These include provisions on intellectual
property, trade-related investment measures, customs valuation and subsidies.