WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

WTO NEWS: 1998 PRESS RELEASES

PRESS/91
17 February 1998

WTO denies claims by special interests linking Ruggiero to MAI

In recent days a number of news organizations have run stories containing an erroneous quote linking WTO Director-General Renato Ruggiero with the negotiations for a Multilateral Agreement on Investment which are underway in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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This erroneous statement has been supplied by a number of special interest groups which oppose the MAI. In an attempt to get across their point of view, these groups have associated Mr. Ruggiero with a negotiation which is taking place in a separate forum outside the WTO.

The OECD is an organization of 29 of the world's most advanced economies. The WTO is an organization of 132 members, 80% of which are developing countries and economies in transition. There is no negotiation currently underway in the WTO which focuses on investment.

On 16 January in London, Mr. Ruggiero gave a speech at Chatham House in which he quoted John Jackson, the highly respected law professor from the University of Michigan. “John Jackson has described the multilateral trading system as a 'constitution' for the world economy.” At no point in that speech, nor in any other, did Mr. Ruggiero make a reference to the MAI and its role in the global economy.