DG Azevêdo congratulated the Group on the initiative to hold the retreat and gave an overview of the current discussions among WTO members about the organization’s negotiating work. He also discussed the wider issues facing the trading system today. The Director-General said:
“We need urgently to advance LDCs’ priority issues so that trade can further boost their development. We also need to tackle the wider, systemic issues. The fallout from rising trade tensions will affect every economy, especially the smallest. Leaders are talking about the future path of the WTO. The perspectives and priorities of LDCs must be heard in that debate.”
DG Azevêdo was speaking in a panel session entitled “Current challenges for LDCs in the current climate at the WTO and perspectives for MC12 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals”. The panel was chaired by the Coordinator of the LDC Group, Ambassador Leopold Samba of the Central African Republic. The other speakers in the session were UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez.