> Pascal Lamy’s speeches
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish you good morning.
I would like to welcome you all to the second Annual IMF/World
Bank/WTO Trade Workshop. Let me express my thanks in particular to
the presenters — all leading experts in their respective fields — for agreeing
to participate in the workshop. The fact that we are repeating this event
for the second time — the first one was in Washington the year before last
— reflects the success of the previous workshop and confirms the
importance of bringing together experts to discuss their research in trade
policy related topics.
This workshop is a product of on-going collaboration among the three
institutions represented in this room and helps to consolidate interagency links on trade policy analysis and research, which is one of the pillars of
our coherence mandate. I believe it is fundamental to highlight the
importance of research not only to understand how trade works today and
in the future, but also to improve the success of trade negotiations,
especially in light of the Ninth WTO Ministerial conference, which as
you all know, will be held in Bali in December.
Good policy should be backed by good research: policymakers take
policy decisions in order to achieve certain outcomes; researchers assess
the success or failure of such policies, and their implications. Moreover,
researchers are generally not shy about saying how they think policy
could be improved in future, or even sometimes questioning the
motivations behind policies. Provided the analysis is well-founded and
well-intentioned, the efforts of researchers should be welcomed.
At its best, a tighter partnership between policymakers and researchers
can only be socially beneficial. We know, however, that this is not
always the way things work. It is important that researchers make their
work both policy-relevant and accessible. Only if researchers make this
effort can they expect to be taken seriously by policymakers. I think all
three of our institutions have tried hard to produce communicationfriendly
work, and I encourage you to continue to do this and to do it
I believe it is your responsibility to promote awareness within
governments of the link between research and policy, and of the
importance of good analysis for good policy. On this topic, a special
session has been organized in this workshop where Aaditya Mattoo, Ranil
Salgado and Patrick Low will talk about research that is currently taking
place in our respective organizations and its relevance in terms of future
In the current environment, there is often the tendency for researchers to
feel the pressure to publish, which frequently results in very narrow
technical analysis in a very specific area, neglecting the bigger picture in
terms of social and policy aspects. I take this opportunity to encourage
our researchers to constantly question themselves about the policy
implications of their analyses. I have already spoken about the
importance of effective communication between researchers and
governments, but I believe you have an equal burden of responsibility in
trying to raise the awareness of the public at large of policy issues and
The nature of trade is changing — in particular given the rise in reach and
extension of production networks — so we need to understand and adjust
to this new reality for future policy making, bearing in mind the role of
trade in contributing to sustainable development, growth, jobs and
poverty alleviation. Last year I established a Panel on Defining the
Future of Trade to examine and analyse the challenges to global trade
opening in the 21st century. The panel comprised a distinguished group
of individuals from business, labour, and other non-governmental
organizations as well as personalities with deep experience in
Government. I was interested in hearing views from these quarters and
decided not to invite any academics onto the panel on this occasion. In
developing its conclusions and recommendations, the Panel consulted
widely with an array of stakeholders.
I believe some interesting observations about the future of trade
governance emerged from their work and their short report is worth
reading. The core conclusions of the Report were couched in four
challenges of convergence — among governments, among different trade
regimes, between trade and domestic policies, and between trade policy
and the public policies underlying non-tariff measures. These interrelationships
refer both to those who make policy and the policies they
make. Their dimensions capture the essence of the challenges facing
trade, and the complexities of the environment in which trade will operate
in the years ahead.
This year’s World Trade Report, which will be launched on July 18th, also
focuses on the shaping factors of trade in coming decades. The report
examines likely trends in world trade and how current and future
economic, social and political factors might weigh on these trends.
Among the shaping factors examined in the report are demography,
investment, technology, the disposition and availability of energy and
other natural resources, transportation costs, and institutions.
While much economic literature focuses on these factors, broader socioeconomic
factors are also key, including social, environmental and
macroeconomic concerns that are high on the political agenda. The
report also considers whether these developments are likely to reinforce,
moderate or reverse current trends, such as the increased fragmentation of
production, the rising importance of trade in services or the continued
growth in trade among developing and emerging economies. Finally, the
report contemplates the future facing the multilateral trading system, as
well as ways that the multilateral trading system could influence
outcomes. It seems to me that the topics you have selected for
consideration in this workshop all touch upon themes in the report.
You have an intensive and interesting programme. I have received
positive reports of your sessions yesterday, and wish you bonne continuation in your discussions today. I thank you for your attention.
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