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Geneva,18 May 2001

Moore hails spirit of cooperation among ministers

Director-General Mike Moore today praised efforts by ministers meeting in various forums this week to narrow their differences and work toward ensuring a successful outcome to the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, this November.

During the week, Mr. Moore attended the Third United Nations Conference for Least Developed Countries in Brussels and the ministerial level meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. At both sessions, he stressed the importance of launching a global trade round in Doha. Mr. Moore also hosted meetings of ministers in both Brussels and Paris at which he told ministers that time for preparation was running short and that governments would have to become fully engaged in the process if differences between the 140 WTO member governments were to be narrowed.

“I was very encouraged by my discussions with ministers over the past week. In both Brussels and Paris, ministers indicated a firm commitment to the multilateral trading system and a deep understanding of the importance of making the Doha Ministerial Conference a success. But we should not gloss over the important differences that remain. Countries across the spectrum of development have issues that must addressed. I think a growing number of ministers share my view that the only way to ensure that member governments, particularly those representing the poorest and most vulnerable nations, can have their concerns dealt with in any real way is through a round of negotiations,” Mr. Moore said.

Mr. Moore told ministers at both conferences that he would issue them a progress report on the Doha preparations at the end of July. He stressed that this report would not represent a deadline but would be a reality check. But he cautioned that little time remained after the summer break to resolve outstanding differences and that without some narrowing of positions in the coming months, it would be more difficult to reach agreement in Doha.

After returning to Geneva, Mr. Moore met today with Qatari Trade Minister Youssef Hussain Kamal, who will chair the Ministerial Conference, and together with members of his staff gave him a briefing on the Doha preparatory process.

The Director-General also met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick for an exchange of views on the Doha preparations.

“My meetings with these two important ministers were productive and insightful. Both of these men will play an extremely important role in Doha and I'm grateful for their hard work and the commitment they have shown to the multilateral process,” Mr. Moore said.