But Mr. Moore said the report “Rigged Rules and Double Standards:
Trade, Globalization, and the Fight Against Poverty” failed to
mention that the WTO has undertaken a variety of measures to assist
developing countries and contained a number of misleading statements
about WTO rules.
welcome Oxfam's report. It is healthy and useful and I hope officials
of our 144 Member Governments read it. Oxfam has been invited to speak
at our public symposium on the Doha Development Agenda from
29 April — 1 May and I hope its representative will
forcefully make his case at that time.
of the points raised in the report including the need for land
redistribution, greater development funding, infrastructure
development and guidelines for Multinational Corporations are outside
the mandate of the WTO. Our core business is trade liberalization.
this issue, Oxfam has built some sound arguments. Oxfam's criticism of
rich country barriers to imports from poor nations, for instance, is
entirely correct. The way to bring those barriers down is through
negotiations already underway in the DDA. A round of trade
negotiations is also the best and only substantial way to change the
rules. Many of the measures called for in the report — reduction in
farm subsidies, the elimination of tariff peaks, the elimination of
duties and quotas on products from the least developed countries —
are in fact on the table as part of the DDA negotiations. It is
unfortunate that Oxfam gave short shrift to the launch of these
attacks in the report on the WTO's rules on Trade-related Intellectual
Property and its impact on public health are rather odd, given that
last November Ministers in Doha stated unequivocally that the TRIPs
agreement “does not and should not prevent Members from taking
measures to protect public health”. Ministers made clear that the
agreement should be interpreted in a manner which promotes “access
to medicines for all”.
suggests that the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services somehow
will require developing countries to privatize public services,
including water supply. This is simply untrue. The GATS agreement does
not require the privatization or deregulation of any service. In fact,
the agreement excludes from its coverage all services provided in the
exercise of government authority. As for water supply, the number of
commitments made by member governments on water distribution is zero.
Oxfam states that there are far too many people in the world who are
living in abject poverty, they are right. They are also right when
they say that trade has been an important tool in lifting people out
of this poverty. It's important to recall that since 1900, average
life expectancy has risen from 30 years to 67 years, that since 1970
the percentage of people in the developing world who are starving has
fallen from 35% to 18%, and that today about 80% of the people in the
developing world have access to clean drinking water, compared with
only 30% in 1970.
course more needs to done, but these statistics show significant
improvement and trade has contributed to these gains in welfare.
agree as well that good governance by governments in the developing
world is essential to any programme of poverty alleviation. This is
one reason why WTO member governments agreed to do further work on the
so-called new issues of competition, trade facilitation, transparency
in government procurement and investment.
support Oxfam's assessment that development institutions and
industrial nations need to make greater efforts to increase the
capacity of developing countries to participate in the global trading
system. But I was surprised that Oxfam's officials seemingly ignored
the fact that the WTO has substantially increased the funding
available for technical assistance and has created a Training
Institute which will enable us to provide training for twice as many
developing country officials every year. Moreover, the report ignores
the efforts that we have made with our partners at the World Bank,
UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre, the UN Development Programme
and the International Monetary Fund in better co-ordinating our
technical assistance efforts and in mainstreaming trade as a component
in development programmes.
talks of the need to “democratise” the WTO, but ignores the fact
that all critical decisions taken here are made on the basis of
consensus of all member governments. Moreover, our dispute settlement
mechanism allows the smallest players the chance to defend its
interests against even the mightiest trading powers. It's true, of
course, that those countries with greater resources have an advantage
in the negotiations which is why our programmes for capacity building
are so important.
rightly points to the problems faced by those member governments who
cannot afford offices in Geneva. This is a problem I have sought to
address from my first day in office and significant progress has been
made to bring these governments more fully into the multilateral
trading system. The WTO has, over the past three years, linked each of
the 24 WTO non-resident member governments and all of the 11
non-resident observer governments to Geneva through our reference
center programme. Under this programme, the WTO has provided,
hardware, software and training to allow officials with these
governments to instantly access the documentation they require.
Moreover, Secretariat officials provide regular briefings for these
governments to keep them abreast of events.
22 April, officials from all 35 non-residents will come to the WTO to
participate in our Geneva Week programme, which serves to better
integrate these countries into our system. Geneva Week has now been
mainstreamed and will be held twice annually and funded through the
regular budget. The April programme has been scheduled to coincide
with the first meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee so that
these officials can participate in the first session of this group
which is responsible for the overall co-ordination of the