Renato Ruggiero's speeches,
Mr. President, Ministers,
ladies and gentlemen: Mr. President, thank you for honouring us with your presence and
thank you for sharing your team in the USTR and Geneva with us. Mr. President, I read how
you think the WTO ought to have a human face. I've worked hard on this, but when I
looked in the mirror this morning I felt a sense of failure. We have assembled here in
Seattle the largest, most prepared number of Trade Ministers in history. From the most
mighty nations to the most modest and vulnerable.
I can report to you, they come
as proud representatives of sovereign nations, eager to participate seeking simply the
gift of opportunity, a fair seat at the table. This is an historic moment. We both
represent a generation that still stands in awe of the vision and the splendour and global
generosity of our parents' generation. From the ruin, rubble and despair of a great
conflict, made inevitable by mean-spirited treaties, by the pain of a great depression
made deeper, darker, more lethal by protectionist policies, our parents decided to build
an international architecture based on common and universal values of the law, of
co-operation and generous opportunity. They decided on the Marshall Plan, they created the
UN, IMF, the World Bank and the GATT now the WTO. The last decade has seen their struggle
finally won. Brave men and women tore down the Iron Curtain. Brave men and women in every
continent endorsed by their sacrifices the now universal values of freedom. Nelson
Mandela's smile ignited and lifted the spirits of men and women everywhere.
need to say that many of these freedom fighters are at our conference, now Ministers and
advisers. With the walls down, who of us are prepared to say we shouldn't allow their
products into our markets. By refusing a fair deal to the small and vulnerable, those
locked out, the poorest countries, are we saying they struggled in vain? That they were
wrong to believe in the ideals of political and economic freedom? These universal truths.
This is what they would want me to say to you. We know that trade in itself is not enough.
Your personal leadership has seen progress in debt issues. The heavy hand of history has
its thumb on the windpipe of many of our Members. One of our Members pays up to nine times
more in debt repayment than on public health.
this contradiction between good people in wealthy countries that on Sunday at Church give
money to help out those who have suffered famine and flood, BUT on Monday sign a petition
stopping the opportunity of workers in those same sad lands to sell what they create. Half
of the world's population lives on under $2 per day. President Truman's Marshall Plan
would pale into insignificance in terms of lifting living standards, providing hope and
opportunity as compared to what you and we can do over the next few days. If we dismantle
barriers we would increase world economic output by 3 per cent. A $1.2 trillion boost to
the world economy and the poorest nations would gain the most. Non OECD nations would get
a lift of nearly 4 per cent growth over the next decade. Mr. President, we are still faced
with a solid wall of insurmountable opportunities. We will overcome. We will deliver here
in Seattle a result that's fair, balanced. We can do something here, with your leadership.
A result that we can be proud of, a result that will keep us warm in our old age.
here knows what technology and science can do to improve the condition of the sick, those
who yearn to learn. Everyone believes in globalization getting the best medical
care from anywhere when their child is sick. When I was a child brought up in the bush,
the greatest gift a working class father and mother could give their children was a copy
of the Encyclopaedia Britannica it cost a worker a year's wages. Now, it's on the
internet for free. Ministers assembled here want for their countries the best, the best
the world has to offer. This is the chance to help build the new world. There are so many
in this conference who also marched, protested, went to prison, fought, suffered.
idealists sit in this conference. They share ideals based in good measure on those ideals
that created your great nation. These men and women were chosen by their people, they must
ask their Parliaments and Congresses to ratify what they agree. Mr. President, this
conference is doomed, doomed to succeed. Failure is unthinkable. The status quo is
not good enough. Because that was just yesterday's compromise. Our people can't
wait, science and change won't wait. Mr. President they look to you for
leadership, and I know I can report back to them that as always America and you are
providing that leadership.