4 June 2003

Supachai supports Group of Eight consensus on Doha Development Agenda

Director-General Supachai welcomed the support of the Group of Eight nations for the timely conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda global trade talks, but urged leaders from the world’s richest nations to transform their pledges of support into action at the negotiating table so that an ambitious outcome can be achieved by the 1 January 2005 deadline.

“I welcome the support the Doha Development Agenda has received from G-8 leaders and from the dozen or so other heads of State and Government invited to Evian by President Jacques Chirac. But these pledges of support must be translated into action soon if the Cancún Ministerial Conference and our subsequent efforts are to provide benefit for the world’s citizens, particularly for the 2 billion who live in dire poverty,” Dr. Supachai said.

During two days of meetings with world leaders, Dr. Supachai stressed the need for concrete progress in the negotiations before the September 10-14 WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún, Mexico. Dr. Supachai said he was encouraged by the fact that the leaders were fully aware of the important links between trade expansion, development and poverty alleviation. In a time of increasing economic uncertainty across the world, the Director-General said it was essential for the world’s leaders to work to foster growth and development.

“One of the best ways to create such an environment is through a successful conclusion to the Doha round”.

The Director-General expressed appreciation to the leaders for working to resolve the politically charged issues of agriculture trade reform and access to medicines for the poorest countries.

“I realize that rolling back subsidies and trade barriers in the area of agriculture trade requires leaders to take difficult decisions. I understand too the difficulties involved in developing a system for enhancing access to medicines for people in poor countries while preserving the incentives that entrepreneurs require if they are to continue to make the investments that are necessary to continue the research and development of new drugs. On both of these issues we need to establish a climate of trust and cooperation because absent an agreement in these two areas a successful outcome to the Doha negotiations is not possible. This would be a tremendous setback in the fight against global poverty,” the Director-General explained.

In the course of the two days of meetings, Dr. Supachai also met bilaterally with many of the leaders and discussed a range of issues including the accession of Algeria, the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia to the WTO, the sluggishness of the global economy and the proliferation of regional trade agreements.

Participants in the Enlarged Dialogue G8 Summit meeting

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