WTO: 2011 NEWS ITEMS
Statement to the World Bank’s Development Committee
Mr Chairman, President Zoellick, Excellencies,
When I last addressed this Committee in October last year, there was a general sense of optimism that the worse of the economic crisis was behind us and that global recovery propelled by, among other factors, a recovery in global trade was on the upswing. Our latest forecasts confirms that trade will be back to normal with an expected growth by 6.5% this year.
Chairman, I would like to focus this brief intervention on 3 key issues.
First, the WTO system is today in danger of not being able to conclude the Doha Develeopment Round we started ten years ago. The optimism with which we started this year with has all but evaporated. WTO members have stalled on the last hurdles of the WTO Doha Round trade negotiations, ie. industrial tariff reductions for developed and emerging economies. It is high time governments rise above narrow vested interests and consider the consequences of weakening the multilateral trading system which has so succesfully helped resist protectionism during the crisis.
As I am sure you will agree with me, the consequences of a failure to conclude the Doha Round will be more detrimental to developing countries, particularly the least-developed among them who are the most dependant on an open and fairly regulated trading system for their growth.
Secondly, when we last met, I reminded you of the upcoming UN LDC IV conference starting in a few weeks’ time in Istanbul, Turkey. I noted how this conference presented an opportunity for the global community to reaffirm their commitment to helping Least-developed Countries achieve their development goals and ensure that their recovery and growth is more sustainable. I am convinced that if we collectively fail to ensure that the conference results in tangible deliverables for LDCs, we would have missed a unique opportunity to contribute to the economic properity of LDCs. This is hardly the message that the international community wants to send to its weakest members, those who suffered the consequences of a crisis they did not create.
The last issue I wish to raise with you is the upcoming Third Aid for Trade Global Review scheduled for July 18-19 2011in Geneva. This is an opportunity to collectively evaluate the progress we have made in helping developing countries boost their productive capacity. Past reviews have highlighted the additional resources mobilised by donors and the progress in mainstreaming trade into national and regional development strategies, the upcoming review will be about showcasing the impact that aid for trade is achieving on the ground.
A few weeks ago, President Zoellick and I participated at a private sector outreach activity organised by the US Chamber here in Washington. This event was successful in raising the profile of private sector participation in this initiative, a key partner for its success. We will also focus on trade facilitation and on regional integration, key elements to improve developing countries’ trade performance.
In short, my message to you today is that trade and development can be mutually supportive. That we must strengthen — and not weaken — the WTO system and that we must continue to support developing countries efforts to integrate into the world economy. In these turbulent times, this is today an imperative.
Thank you for your attention.