WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

10 October 2002

Supachai, Wolfensohn agree on closer WTO-World Bank cooperation

Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi and World Bank President James Wolfensohn today pledged closer cooperation in their efforts to promote a successful conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda trade negotiations.

They agreed that the development and trade agendas were tightly linked and stressed that a failure to achieve a positive outcome on the Doha talks would have profoundly negative consequences for development and poverty alleviation programmes including the United Nations' Millennium Goals. They said a successful completion to the round would provide great opportunities for developing countries looking to raise the living standards of their people, many of whom live in dire poverty. Providing developing countries with such opportunities will help ensure global stability in the new century and is therefore in the interests of all countries, rich and poor, they added. Mr. Wolfensohn and Dr. Supachai agreed it was essential for advanced countries to pare back agricultural subsidies and open their markets to farm products from the developing world if the trade round was to succeed.

The two men supported closer co-ordination between the two institutions in the area of technical assistance and capacity building as well, and they agreed to enhance coherence in a series of joint projects aimed at increasing trade negotiating capacity in developing countries. To ensure WTO-World Bank cooperation at all levels, Dr. Supachai and Mr. Wolfensohn have agreed that Bank and WTO staff will submit to the two men half-yearly joint reports analysing coherence efforts and underscoring those areas where improvement is required.