WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO


13 September 1999

Moore announces key appointments for development issues

WTO Director-General Mike Moore marked the end of his first full week in office by announcing Monday two key personnel appointments designed to further bolster his programme of outreach to developing countries.

The appointments are the most recent step in an ongoing effort to assist developing countries in their WTO activities, through information technology, enhanced programmes of training and technical cooperation and by advocating to all WTO member governments the importance of ensuring that developing countries are thoroughly engaged in the multilateral trading system.

With the Seattle Ministerial Conference now only 9 weeks away, Mr. Moore said it was critical that every effort be made to bring developing countries, particularly the Least Developed Countries, fully into the process of preparing for the Ministerial Conference and for the negotiations that will follow.

"It is in no-one's interest to have any of our members on the outside looking in," Mr. Moore said. "No member government should feel it is disadvantaged going into our preparations for the Seattle Ministerial Conference."

Mr. Moore announced that Anthony Hill, former Ambassador to the WTO from Jamaica, would serve on a short-term consultancy basis to assist in developing programmes for representatives from the 29 WTO Member Governments that do not have missions in Geneva.

Before Mr. Moore's appointment on 1 September, he travelled to Brussels to meet with many of the Ministers and Ambassadors from non-resident countries to hear their concerns first hand.

"Ensuring that these non-resident ambassadors and officials from capitals are fully engaged in our work is among my top priorities. Amb. Hill is uniquely suited to assist us in putting in place a number of programmes we are preparing to provide these representatives with the most complete picture of the situation as it develops between now and Seattle and then beyond," Mr. Moore said.

Mr. Moore also announced the appointment of Chiedu Osakwe, as co-ordinator for the WTO's work with Least Developed Countries. Mr. Osakwe, a WTO Secretariat official, will work closely with the five other agencies that together with the WTO constitute the Integrated Framework of action for the Least Developed Countries.* Mr. Osakwe will be a special advisor to the Director-General on these important issues.

Mr. Moore's first major address, to be delivered at a meeting of Group of 77 Developing Countries in Marrakesh, will focus on the issue of trade and development.

The interests of the LDCs are of paramount importance, Mr. Moore said. The Seattle Ministerial Conference cannot be considered a success, he said, unless the outcome is balanced and this means a market access package for LDCs that further opens developed country markets to their goods and services.

While the removal of barriers to LDC exports would represent a vital component of a development programme for the weakest countries, Mr. Moore said, it was critical that the WTO work more effectively with other International Organizations, including UNCTAD, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Trade Centre and the UN Development Programme, to insure that all areas of concern to LDCs are addressed.

"These countries need all our help in addressing the problems of capacity building, debt relief as well as market access. We all have a moral responsibility to assist as best we can," Mr. Moore said.

During his first official week on the job, Mr. Moore met with Kamil Idris, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization and Rubens Ricupero, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Mr. Moore will travel to Washington at the end of this month for the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, where he will have further contact with ministers and heads of International Organizations.

"I look forward to meeting with the heads of all the International Organizations as soon as I can. I know that all of us share the same vision of providing the poorest with every opportunity to improve the living standards of workers and families," Mr. Moore said.