could not be more timely and I am grateful for this opportunity to speak.
just over a month, in Seattle, the WTO will hold its 3rd Ministerial Conference
a conference that will launch new trade negotiations, and set the WTO's programme
and priorities for the future. This alone would make it an important meeting, but the
significance of Seattle goes beyond that. The outcome will be seen as a test of confidence
in the WTO, and a sign of international commitment to trade liberalization. It will
influence the direction and credibility of the world trading system as we enter a new and
cannot pretend to know what the results of Seattle will be. What I can say with absolute
certainty is that success or failure will ultimately depend on international leadership,
not least on the political will of the United States and Europe. As Oscar Wilde might have
said, the only thing worse than the big guys getting together to settle things, is when
they don't get together to settle things.
all know the challenges Ministers face in Seattle so I won't belabour them here. The list
of issues is already longer than the Uruguay Round agenda and many of the new
issues reach inside borders, raising complex questions about the way economies are
organized in an integrated world. The number and diversity of interests is also larger. No
longer a cosy club of industrialized countries, the WTO is a global system of 135 members
with China, Russia, and 29 other economies queuing to join. There may be a 100,000
protestors outside the conference centre but there are 1.5 billion people wanting to join
our organization. And all have a stake in how the trade system evolves. All of this is
taking place in the glare of world opinion - and against the backdrop of a profound debate
about trade, globalization and interdependence. We have not enjoyed such employment
levels, low interest rates and deficits for a generation but there is more anxiety about
job security than ever.
the complexity of these challenges should not obscure a more fundamental reality - the WTO
is becoming, if it is not already, a major pillar of the global economy. If the Seattle
agenda is daunting, it is a reflection of the political importance which countries now
attach to this system, and their growing reliance on open world markets and international
trade, because they know from history that's how we get more jobs and income to pay for
our social agenda. It is also a reflection of the pressing need to coordinate and reinvent
policies for an integrated world. These challenges do not lie in some far-off future which
we can contemplate in a detached or academic way. They are already with us. They will be
on the table at Seattle whether we put them there or not. And they will demand answers.
me list the priorities:
advancing trade liberalization. The Uruguay Round addressed the trade challenge of the
early 1980s. We now need to address the challenges of 2000 and beyond if the WTO is to
remain relevant and effective because I know of no company that has too many customers and
no country that has too many jobs. WTO Members are already committed to negotiations in
agriculture, services, and intellectual property as part of their Uruguay Round
undertakings. These subjects alone would add up to a substantial round. With a round on
agriculture and services, 80 per cent of world economic activity is involved. There are
now many proposals to broaden and deepen the agenda, because the world economy has moved
on. At Punta del Este no one had heard of the internet. There was no e-commerce. Most
countries agree on the need to bring industrial goods into the scope of the negotiations,
and to address the difficulties many countries face in implementing their existing
commitments. A more challenging issue for Seattle is whether to include certain "new
issues" in the negotiations as well such as investment, competition policy,
transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation. Future WTO's work on trade
and the environment and possibly labour standards - is potentially the most
contentious issue of all.
Seattle launch a large and comprehensive round - offering trade-offs and benefits as
widely as possible? Or a more narrow, focused negotiation? Which approach will produce
results in the shortest time and avoid another seven-year marathon like the Uruguay Round?
That is the nub of the debate for Seattle. Where there is no disagreement is on the need
to negotiate and the importance of strengthening the system. That is in itself a victory
for our ideas.
integrating the developing countries into the trading system. The developing world is not
threatened by the process of globalization. They are threatened by being left outside of
it on the margins, and slipping further behind. Trade is their bridge to the 21st
century. With it comes access not only to markets, but to investment, technology, and
know-how. Without it, the dream of development will remain out of reach. We need to
provide access to the decision-making process in the WTO, access to policy advice, access
to capacity building, and access to our markets. There is no point encouraging these
countries to embrace trade and openness, and then slamming the door firmly shut. LDCs
5 per cent world trade.
all a new round is an opportunity to encourage developing countries themselves to continue
using openness and trade as tools for their economic growth. This means engaging
confidently and readily in further liberalization of their economies, correcting
structural weaknesses and market distortions, and locking in reforms under WTO rules. The
next century should be driven by development that raises living standards everywhere and
produces more customers and jobs.
making the global trading system truly global by bringing China, Russia and the
other candidates inside as soon as possible. China alone is already the world's third
largest economy, the fifth largest trader. China needs an open trading system to realize
its vast potential. The WTO needs China - and the other accession candidates - to build a
comprehensive system of global rules. Under the right conditions, enlargement will
strengthen the multilateral system, not dilute it.
building bridges in global policy-making. Integration is blurring issues, as well as
borders raising important questions about the linkages between the trade system and
the environment, health standards, human rights and other issues. All appear inter-linked
many facets of a single issue to our publics. Each one rightly demands
response. How to protect endangered species and promote sustainable development? How to
preserve cultural identities in age of borderless communications? And what about poverty
eradication, reducing inequalities, and advancing labour standards through higher living
standards? The WTO cannot provide all the answers to these questions. But nor can we turn
our back on these concerns and pretend that they are someone else's problem.
solutions will not be simple. Globalization is transforming peoples lives around the world
- and in changing their lives, it raises profound anxiety, even fear about jobs, incomes,
social standards, science, and the environment. Trade will continue to be at the centre of
this debate, because trade is one of the most visible forces binding economies, peoples
and issues together. One cannot - and should not - expect any less.
should encourage this debate. We need an informed and engaged public. What the trading
system cannot withstand is complacency, indifference, the corrosion of purpose and
direction that comes with neglect.
will hear a great deal in Seattle from those who oppose the WTO. We also need to hear from
those who not only understand the challenges of an open world economy, but grasp its
immense opportunities. We need to explain better that high-skill, high-income jobs that
flow from trade. We need to hear more about the advantages which trade has conferred on
the global economy as a whole the inflation-fighting role of imports, the
technological stimulus of competition and openness, the economic security and stability
that only comes with shared rules. And we need to ask what rational alternative those who
oppose the WTO are offering in a world of ever-deepening interdependence. The reality of
trade's benefits are proven. The onus is on those who would slow-down or arrest trade to
explain what other options exist.
is true that globalization and technological change present enormous challenges as well as
opportunities. But none of these challenges - from financial instability, to global
warming, to child poverty - will be solved by restricting trade or undermining the
international rule of law. All would be made immeasurably worse. We will not help the
those who are vulnerable by making our economies weaker. We will help them through
training, education, adjustment assistance and good governance at home so they too can be
successful world competitors and full partners in the global economy.
is at stake in Seattle? It goes beyond markets for our exports. It is about delivering
better living standards for everyone, better outcomes for the environment, more resources
for health and education. It is about building a stronger global economy, reducing the
risk of future instability and crisis. Perhaps above all it is about advancing a new
approach to international cooperation based on rules, not power rules to help
manage the powerful forces of globalization for everyone's benefit, the weak as well as
this city, almost ten years ago to the day, the wall dividing East and West was struck
down, signalling the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new global era. I remember
the euphoria of that moment. We all do. We still carry those hopes for a better future, so
do they. They all want membership and the opportunity that the WTO provides.
too will signal the kind of world we can expect in the new century. Today we have a
choice: We can articulate a new vision for the emerging global order, and lead by example.
Or we can allow the trading system to drift. We can abdicate shared leadership, and in
doing so try to cope with globalization separately and on our own - through unilateral
actions or regional options. Approaches which will make finding common answers to global
problems all the harder.
a world would be very different than the one envisaged with the fall of the Berlin Wall
very different from the world which the transatlantic community has worked to build
since the second world war. It is almost a cliché to talk about the importance of the
transatlantic community to broader international cooperation. The cliché does not make it
any less true. The United States and Europe were instrumental in building the post-war
economic system, including the GATT. They were a main driving force behind no less than
eight major rounds of trade negotiations including the successful Uruguay Round and
the creation of the WTO.
reality is this: When America and Europe share a common purpose, the system can move
forward. When they clash, there is inertia, confusion, drift.
began by saying that Seattle is about leadership. All of you in this room can help provide
that leadership - in fact must provide that leadership if this new and still fragile
system is to succeed. You need to send the clear but powerful message to governments in
Seattle that the WTO is simply too important to fail.
you will be absolutely right. No one not even our harshest critics seriously
believes that flows trade, investment, and technology can be or should be
reversed. That helps no one, especially the poor. No one is talking about undoing the
Internet or tele-medicine or jet travel the real drivers of globalization. In the
end, no one has an interest in weakening the multilateral trading system because the
alternative is a world of regional blocs and power politics, a world of more conflict,
uncertainty and marginalization.
hope the air is clear in Seattle so we can seen the forest for the trees. I hope we can
show a vision beyond strict national interests or narrow political concerns a
vision that our parents embraced when they laid the foundations of the multilateral
trading system and the other great international institutions that have helped build a
better world. Too much of this century was marked by force and coercion. Our dream must be
a world managed by persuasion, the rule of law, the settlement of differences peacefully
within the law and cooperation. It's a good thing that all our living standards are now
based on the ability of our neighbours to purchase our products. Thats where the WTO
and you can do splendid work and advance the progress of the human species.