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Press/238
23 July 2001
Moore hails G-8 pledges on development and poverty alleviation

WTO Director-General Mike Moore today praised leaders from the Group of Eight nations for stepping up their efforts towards the alleviation of poverty and the promotion of economic growth in developing countries.

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Mr. Moore, who addressed in Genoa Friday the G-8 heads of state and government along with leaders from several developing countries and chiefs of other international organizations, said he was saddened by the violence that gripped Genoa during the summit. But he said this should not overshadow the efforts made by governments of the eight nations. He said the G-8 Communique was unprecedented in its devotion to addressing the problems of the world's poorest nations. 

“These Democratically-elected leaders have made tackling poverty and facilitating development in poor countries the centrepiece of their efforts this past weekend. These are precisely the goals of so many of those who protest against the G-8 and other international organizations,” Mr. Moore said. 

The Director-General also strongly supported G-8 pledges of $1.3 billion in the struggle against AIDS. He said he agreed with the leaders' assessment that the WTO's agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property (TRIPs) provides the necessary flexibility to ensure that developing countries have access to the essential medicines needed to combat AIDS and other diseases. 

The G-8 pledged to launch a new round of global trade negotiations in November at the WTO's Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar. Trade negotiations aimed at scaling back barriers to imports from developing countries, particularly the Least Developed Countries, are critical to continuing economic growth and poverty reduction, they said. 

Mr. Moore has long pushed for the elimination of all barriers to imports from LDCs. He has been supportive of the efforts taken by G-8 governments to open their markets to the poorest. But he said, absent a broad-based set of trade liberalization negotiations, the issues of greatest concern to poor countries will not be adequately addressed. 

“Absent a round, there is a risk that trade will evolve on a regional or bilateral basis. While regionalism has contributed positively to the multilateral system in the past, it cannot be a substitute for it. Many poor countries will find themselves outside such agreements and unable to promote their interests as effectively as in the WTO,” he said. 

When addressing the leaders in Genoa, Mr. Moore called on them to work towards overcoming those difficult remaining issues that separate them so that they may carry out their pledge of successfully launching a round in Doha. Mr. Moore said he was pleased the leaders agreed to take a personal interest in the process. 

“Looking back at previous G-8 Communiqués one is struck by the fact that Genoa marks a turning-point in the commitment of leaders to making trade a critical element in the war on poverty. Together with debt relief, good governance, adequate levels of finance to assist capacity building and sound macroeconomic policies, trade is a vital element in the cocktail of development assistance,” Mr. Moore said. “I welcome and support G-8 efforts in this regard and look forward to working with them to build support for a balanced round of negotiations that offers promise and opportunity for citizens of all nations.”