Over the next few days,
trade ministers representing over 130 of our member governments, will sit together and
work towards developing the framework for the global trading system in the 21st
century, he said.
In terms of the
negotiations over the next week, it is important to keep in mind that much of our work
here in Seattle will be dedicated to laying a foundation for future negotiations. We know
for sure that there will be intensive negotiations on agriculture and services. These two
sectors alone comprise more than two thirds of global output and new agreements to
liberalize trade in these areas hold the prospect of great benefit for all our member
governments, the modest as well as the mighty.
may be included for future negotiations as well, trade and environment, trade and
competition, trade and investment and trade in textiles are just some of the areas where
some of our member governments would like to see negotiations. Other governments may press
for a continuation of exploratory work rather than begin negotiations. For many developing
countries, a very important issue is the implementation of existing agreements. This means
finding ways to assist developing countries as they try to put into place their often
complicated WTO commitments.
negotiations will not yield definitive outcomes for several years, there are areas where
we may reach agreement at this Ministerial Conference. Certainly, its conceivable we
could reach framework agreements on transparency in government procurement and trade
facilitation. Agreements in these areas would assure a win-win outcome for all
member governments, not to mention taxpayers and consumers.
of the moratorium on duties applied to electronic commerce transactions is also a
Mr. Moore, who assumed
office on 1 September 1999, said he has dedicated the vast majority of his time and effort
the past three months, to the preparation of this conference. He reiterated that his
priorities and duties as Director-General include:
- Facilitating and
assisting countries to get the most balanced outcome from the negotiations at Seattle and
beyond, an outcome which truly benefits the poorest economies.
- Advocating the
advantages of a more open trading system for the powerful, the developing and the least
developed economies. A more open trading system, he said, can increase living standards
and lead to a more prosperous, safer world.
- Strengthening the WTO
and its system and rules, building on and maintaining the organizations reputation
for integrity and fairness and re-shaping the organization to reflect the new reality of
its Membership and their needs.
My own personal
wish-list for the Seattle Ministerial Conference, he said, includes an
agreement here on a package to assist the least developed countries. Taken together these
nations account for only half of one percent of world trade. And yet, in many cases they
face import barriers higher than those applied to products from the richest countries. The
removal of ALL barriers to imports from the least-developed countries would extend
the gift of opportunity to people who desperately need our help.
I would also
like to see the member governments agree to increase the amount of money we spend on
technical assistance and training. It is in the interest of everyone to ensure that all of
our member governments can participate in the upcoming negotiations. Without adequate
preparation and assistance from the WTO, many least-developed countries governments
will not have that chance. We are not asking for much, SF 10 million, and I am confident
that governments will agree here to help us in this regard.