by the Chairman
of the General Council
Delegates and Friends
of all let me say how pleased and honoured I feel to join you as
Director-General. I very much appreciate your kind, thoughtful words,
Mr. Chairman, to welcome me on behalf of all of you.
have long been associated with this organization in various
capacities. The feeling that I have since the first morning when I
started my work at the office, is not that I am starting something
new. It is like, as you Mr. Chairman have just said, coming back home
to family. I have also carefully placed my family very close to the
office so that both my family here and my family at home will always
be in close touch and I will never be far from both.
of this long association, I have long been committed to the causes
that we have been fighting for. Sometimes we seem to be too much on
the defensive. Sometimes we become a bit elated because of newly
gained victories, but I have and will never underestimate the task
that is ahead of us. I know that I can count on your understanding,
your experience, your commitment, as much as you can count on my total
input, my total dedication to the same causes.
fully realize that this is a Member-driven organization, and I will
have to be very careful not to try to drive along with you, or to be
in the driver's seat. But I hope that with your kind permission and
understanding that you will allow me to help make the driving easier.
Together, we can navigate the dangerous curves and bends to reach our
common goals. I hope, as colleagues and friends, you will give me your
valuable advice if I overstep the line. But if I ever do that, please
believe me that I will never intend to overstep it. But I might become
over-enthusiastic, along with you, to solve the problems at hand. So,
please allow me the chance to provide my best effort, to help us move
we move into an increasingly globalizing world, I am more than ever
convinced that we need the services of an Organization such as ours.
We will be needing a larger degree of openness and predictability. We
will be needing more understanding, consultations, negotiations and
amicable arrangements so that we can ride out all the disagreements
and disputes that will be there. Amidst this diversity, we shall
flourish, we shall accomplish our task because we have the same set of
rules and we have set our sights on similar objectives.
have made known repeatedly in the past the principles that I have set
for myself in the next three years. I will only repeat these four
principles briefly because we will have a chance to discuss them in
greater detail later on.
I will be most serious in working as the Chair of the TNC, which I
feel is a great honour, to help you all bring the Doha Development
Agenda to a timely and successful conclusion. Secondly, I will make my
best effort to pursue an effective programme of technical cooperation
and capacity-building which is close to the hearts of all our Members.
Thirdly, because I see that the WTO cannot possibly achieve its goals
working alone in a vacuum, I will try to promote greater coherence in
international economic policy-making along with our colleagues in
other international agencies. And, lastly, together with the
professional staff of high calibre that I have working with me in the
Secretariat, we shall try to strengthen this institution so that we
may be able to serve the membership even better.
me end by saying something about the tasks immediately ahead of us.
The Doha Development Agenda has a tight schedule and time is running
very fast. A lot of events that are taking place at the same time will
demand our attention. We have deadlines to meet and only one year from
now we have the Fifth Ministerial Conference, at which point we need
to show real progress in our negotiations. To be assured of a final
successful outcome, we need to make substantial progress in the
lead-up to the Canc˙n meeting.
am fully aware that a successful outcome for the Doha negotiations can
only be achieved through agreement on a balanced package which can
offer gains to a wide spectrum of participants. I see my role in
helping to achieve this goal, this result, by facilitating the process
of building up consensus to reach the final stage. I pledge to you
that in order to reach that stage, as Chair of the Trade Negotiations
Committee and as Director-General, I shall be working as actively as
possible with the Chairs of the Negotiating Groups so that we can
together help to resolve any issues that will need my input, and so
that we can map our strategies to reach the final consensus for the
realization of the Doha agenda. You can count on me for an equitable,
balanced, transparent and inclusive approach as we map out the
strategy to reach our goals. I believe that it is only through
partnership between the Members and the Secretariat that we can
achieve a final successful result.
Chairman, I realize the central importance of the General Council in
the WTO system and the heavy workload that it is facing. I admire the
energy and commitment with which you, Mr. Chairman, have devoted to
resolving a number of long-standing and difficult issues. I promise
you my full support in your efforts and I intend to keep up a very
close and cooperative relationship with you and indeed with all Chairs
of WTO bodies who are doing a great job for this system.
I also say that I look forward to meeting with the various groups of
Members which I know exist. I shall be trying to make suitable
arrangements in this rather hectic programme in the beginning of my
tenure to meet with all the requests for meetings as much as I can.
let me say that I particularly welcome your initiative, Mr. Chairman,
in organizing an informal retreat for Permanent Representatives next
month. I look forward to taking part and to providing some thoughts
that I hope will meet with your kind consideration. I am sure that
this event will be a significant step in increasing the contact and
trust among us all, which will be so important in meeting the