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WTO NEWS: 2002 PRESS RELEASES

Press/313
24 September 2002
WTO Director-General meets LDCs' Consultative Group

At the invitation of the LDCs' (least developed countries) Consultative Group, WTO Director-General Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi met 15 representatives of the Group in Geneva today to discuss issues of particular importance to least-developed countries.

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H.E. Ambassador M. B. Bowa of Zambia, Chairman of the Group, highlighted some of the main concerns of the Group. He stressed the need to streamline the accession procedures for LDCs and underlined the importance of technical cooperation and capacity-building. He also expressed the need for more efforts by the WTO Secretariat to target assistance for LDCs and to enhance coherence in international economic policy-making.

“I greatly appreciate the work of the LDC Group and your constructive contributions to the functioning of the multilateral trading system,” said Dr. Supachai. He assured the Group that his own objectives corresponded closely with the LDCs’ concerns. He stressed that individual accessions were a matter for the WTO Membership, while noting Members’ commitment in the Doha Ministerial Declaration to accelerate the accession of least-developed countries, a commitment which required further follow-up action. He also emphasized that one of his stated priorities was to ensure that technical assistance efforts would be effective, targeted and focussed. Accordingly, he would assign one of his Deputy Directors-General the special responsibility for enhanced technical assistance. Similarly, Dr. Supachai informed the Group that another of his Deputies would be assigned to target increased efforts on coherence.

Ambassador Bowa expressed the appreciation of the Group for Dr. Supachai’s sympathetic understanding of LDC concerns and assured him of their full support.