WTO NEWS: SPEECHES — DG PASCAL LAMY

Lima, 14 September 2007
Pascal Lamy's remarks at the closing session of the Aid for Trade conference in Lima, Peru

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Thank you Mr President, for explaining so clearly why Peru stands on the frontline of trade opening and let me in my turn try and outline what I heard here since yesterday. My own remarks will be focused on what I heard during this conference which you have so nicely hosted.

Yesterday I said that today's meeting was about making a start — and an impressive start.

We were reminded by the Caribbean that Aid for Trade is about creating a more level playing field in world trade — equality of opportunity — and that without it open trade might suffer. We heard that this is a long term project — requiring a long-term vision and sustained political commitment. We heard that Latin America and the Caribbean understand the opportunities and challenges presented by globalization — that they are ready and willing to embrace them — but that in key areas they need international support.

Perhaps most importantly, I heard the start of a real dialogue — between finance and trade, between trade and development, between business and governments, between countries and regions — about where exactly the challenges lies and how we should work together to answer them.

The plan now is to produce a concise report under the responsibility of the IADB and the WTO — which will be the transmission belt for your ideas and recommendations to be delivered to the Global review that will take place in Geneva in November. Let me highlight some of the key messages I will be taking away from this meeting.

First, leadership. Trade must be streamlined more into national development strategies if countries are going to harness globalisation for their benefit. There is no substitute for political vision and leadership — backed by a comprehensive strategy for getting there. Here lies the answer to producing a coherent plan for capacity building. Having a clear strategy — backed by a government as a whole, with the private sector — is also a large part of the answer to coordinating donors — and ensuring that they respond to national leadership thus ensuring ownership, not the other way round. Some of you labelled this, this morning as "core responsibilities"

Second, priorities. Countries and regions have to focus on what matters most to increasing exports — and the areas that can deliver the biggest return on investment . As we have heard again and again, having a hundred priorities is having no priorities. Aid for trade is a complex and long-term project that can be hard for countries and donors alike to come to grip with. Perhaps we need to identify two or three key priorities for the region — ones that will give us a clear set of objectives to aim for over the medium term, and against which we can measure our success. For example, I have heard a lot about the need to concentrate on negotiating expertise, trade facilitation, standards and testing, and on logistical bottlenecks.

Third, predictability and accessibility of financing. there is a clear need for donors to follow through on the Hong Kong and broader Gleneagles commitments — and I think that we should focus on how we deliver on these promises, rather than second guessing them. The efficiency and effectiveness of the way financing is delivered can be just as important as the amounts involved — especially in a fast changing global economy. Donors and financial institutions need to show progress on this front as well - with better coordination, reducing red tape, and fast tracking disbursement. This is a critical issue for recipients — it is also an issue for taxpayers at home who want to see their money producing tangible development results.

Finally, partnerships. The single most common theme of the last two days has been cooperation, coordination and coherence. What we have heard is that no one actor can deliver Aid for Trade single — handedly — and that where there are capacity “gaps” it is often the result of a breakdown of cooperation and coherence. Governments need to coordinated internally. Donors and financial institutions need to coordinate with each other and with governments. Countries need to coordinate regionally. And all of us need to bring the private sector into the conversation — as we have done over the last day and a half. Instead of thinking in terms of two solitudes — donors and recipients, trade and development — we need to think in terms of partnerships.

Because we all have a big stake in the success of this initiative. Many of you have noted that the process of globalisation is at a crossroad. — both in the region and worldwide. We need to show that the world trading system can — and will — deliver benefits for those who feel marginalized and excluded. That is why the current WTO round has development as its central pillar — and why progress in the Round is so critical for the Caribbean, for Latin America and the world. Aid for Trade — I repeat — is no substitute for a successful Doha Development Round. It is also no substitute for the right domestic policies. But Aid for Trade is an increasingly important and necessary complement. If the Doha Round is about creating trade opportunities, about making more trade possible, Aid for Trade is about making it happen.

This meeting has taken a big step forward. Peru has inspired us. Let's keep up the momentum.

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