Ruggiero's speeches, 1995-99
Coherence mandate from Marrakesh gives us the
opportunity to take a broader view than usual of the
importance of the work we are doing in the WTO to
place it in the context of the inter-actions between
trade, structural, macroeconomic, financial and
development aspects of economic policy-making, and to
review our institutional cooperation with the World Bank
and the IMF so as to ensure that in these areas we are
following consistent and mutually supportive policies.
I have indicated to you in my annual report on Coherence
for 2000, over the past twelve months our cooperation
with the World Bank and the IMF has focused in particular
on assisting developing and least-developed countries to
take greater advantage from their involvement in
international trade, and from their participation in the
multilateral trading system. This has coincided closely
with the attention that finance and development ministers
have been giving to steps that must be taken to rid the
world of the problem of widespread poverty. Poverty
alleviation is the predominant development challenge for
our generation, and it is one of the main benchmarks
against which the success of economic globalisation is to
think we can all agree that bringing developing and
least-developed countries more fully into the WTO is a
major priority, and it can make a major contribution to
the fight against poverty. These countries want trade to
play a central role in their economic development. But
many are saying that they need help, and they need it
urgently. That came through more clearly than ever in the
course of our work last year on Implementation issues.
Responding to requests from developing and
least-developed countries for assistance in implementing
their Uruguay Round commitments is one of our core
responsibilities, and one I am particularly attached to.
But these countries need help also in training their
trade officials, so as to be able to play an effective
role in the WTO's institutional machinery. And help in
developing their domestic trade-related capacity more
broadly still, through institution-building and
the WTO, we are maintaining a high level of activity on
technical assistance and training, and I shall continue
exploring with Members the possibility of expanding our
efforts in these areas. We are looking at ways to
facilitate the day-to-day participation of non-resident
and smaller Members in the work of the WTO. We shall
shortly be holding our Integrated
on Mainstreaming Trade into Country Development
Strategies. And in the period ahead, I intend to
build on initiatives such as Libreville 2000, Geneva
Week, and the provision of Reference Centres, to further
support the efforts of delegations to participate in the
WTO's work programme.
there is only so much that the WTO can do on its own in
these areas. The great strength of our cooperation
agreements with the World Bank and the IMF is that while
each organisation continues to focus on its core
responsibilities, we are able to explore ways of
leveraging our collective resources in areas where our
tangible reflection of this was the result of the
IMF/World Bank Development Committee meeting last April.
Trade figured large in Ministers discussions, alongside
implementation of the enhanced HIPC debt initiative and
of the new Poverty Reduction Strategy process.
drew two important conclusions from the discussion on
is that further trade liberalization, in both
developed and developing countries, is an
essential element of a comprehensive strategy for
accelerating growth and reducing poverty in
developing countries. Debt relief and aid are not
second is that improved market access
opportunities must be backed up by more focused
and generous support for developing countries,
particularly the poorest among them, to help them
build the human and physical capacity they need
to become diversified, world-class, trading
will find these two conclusions reflected in the
communiqués of both the Development Committee and the
IMF's International Financial and Monetary Committee. I
know that Trade Ministers share the same conclusions. We
have, then, agreement at the highest policy-making level
among the international trade, finance and development
role in the development process has never been
more widely accepted:
know that if developing countries are to grow
their way out of poverty, more must be done to
remove barriers facing their exports of goods and
know that the timing and sequencing of their own
trade reforms is a critical issue.
know that trade must be seen as part of a wider
and more comprehensive development strategy.
also know that bringing developing countries more
fully into the global trading system is key, not
only to a more equitable world economy, but a
more secure and stable one as well.
real question we have to tackle in WTO is how to move a
meaningful trade and development agenda forward. What
should be our next steps?
we need to make real progress this year on the mandated
WTO negotiations on agriculture and services.
poverty is the most endemic and corrosive form of
poverty in the world. Continuing high
barriers to agricultural trade are a large part
of the problem. We have got to start bringing
liberalization is central to successful
development strategies. It brings with
it essential access to modern technology, more
efficient infrastructure, lower transport and
communications costs, stronger and better
functioning financial markets.
we need make progress quickly on a generous
package of measures to assist the least developed
countries. With over ten per cent of the world's
population, they account for less than one-half of a per
cent of world trade - and their share is shrinking.
Tackling that requires a comprehensive approach, to
encourage trade diversification, to correct policy
impediments that hamper the development of competitive
exports, to help them build their human, institutional
and physical capacity to trade. These problems will take
time to resolve.
can be done immediately is to improve their
market access opportunities. It is
shameful for their wealthy trading partners to
continue to maintain tariffs and quotas against
the products in which the least-developed
countries have a clear comparative advantage.
That is also completely at odds with the notion
of Coherence in global economic
policy-making. As my colleagues Jim Wolfensohn
and Helmut Köhler have been pointing out, debt
relief will help the poor countries save more of
their existing resources; but only increased
exports will allow them to generate new ones. I
shall continue to press hard on this issue in the
months ahead. I must thank those
countries that have already made offers. I would
like others to report to capitals and advise us
if they can do more.
we need to take a more integrated approach to
trade-related technical assistance and capacity building.
I believe the new Poverty Reduction
Strategy process (PRS) of the World Bank and the
IMF will play a central role. We must support it.
I very much welcome the fact that trade policy
reform and trade-related capacity building is
being made an integral part of the PRS process.
Given the resources that can be mobilized by the
PRS, not only by the World Bank and the IMF but
also by all other development partners involved, it
is natural for the WTO to view the PRS process as
the focal point for our own technical assistance
and support efforts.
particular, the WTO's Integrated
Framework for least-developed countries can
provide an essential input to this approach.
Like the PRS process, it is demand-driven and
owned by governments, and it is inclusive of each
country's full range of development partners. By
aligning the IF with the PRS process, we can
substantially increase the possibilities for
attracting generous donor financing to it.
the WTO to be an effective partner in this
process, we need to increase our
resources for technical assistance and training. Even
with much greater involvement in future of the
Bank and the Fund, providing assistance in all
matters relating to implementation of WTO
obligations remains the responsibility of the WTO
and its Members. That is why I am
continuing to look to improve and regularize the
funding of the WTO's technical co-operation
activities. We need a regular budget
sufficient to enable us to plan two to three
years ahead and respond to increasing demands. We
have made some progress here, and new avenues for
resources are being studied.
and finally, we must advance on our goal of
launching a new Round of multilateral trade negotiations.
This is central to the trade interests of developing
countries, and I was very encouraged to hear finance and
development ministers at the Fund/Bank meetings last year
echo my sentiment. As important as unilateral, bilateral
or regional initiatives have been, history shows that
multilateralism offers the most powerful means for
achieving deep and lasting trade liberalization, with
benefits guaranteed by WTO rules. Only through a balanced
negotiation will countries achieve the cross-sectoral
trade-offs that help to drive liberalization forward.
Only an inclusive approach based on the principle
of non-discrimination can ensure that the weakest
and poorest countries are not marginalized. It is not
always politically correct to say so, but the major
economies also have needs, we all need the great
importing countries to do well. The recovery from the
Asian crisis was to a great extent based on rich markets
want to finish on a personal note. The success of our
cooperation agreements with the IMF and the World Bank
the benefits that the WTO is deriving from them
suggests to me that Member governments should not
be shy in thinking through how the WTO can improve its
cooperation with other organisations, UN and otherwise,
in areas where our core activities converge with theirs.
know that this does not fall formally under our
Marrakesh Coherence mandate, and I am
not suggesting that mandate be changed.
am I trying to open a back door to contentious
in the Secretariat we see more and more evidence that
other inter-governmental organisations have incorporated
a core trade component into their work programmes, and in
some cases a formal position on trade-related issues. I
am thinking of organisations such as the UN, UNDP, FAO,
WHO organisations with which we are already
cooperating at the technical level, and where there is no
doubt scope to extend that cooperation further. But where
we find ourselves operating at present mostly on parallel
tracks, and lacking policy guidance from our governing
bodies on how to make those tracks converge. These
organisations are setting international standards, some
of which we use in our work in the WTO; they are
delivering capacity-building to developing countries,
some of it directly trade-related; they are conducting
policy surveillance again, some of it
trade-related; and they are conducting research, some of
it with a heavy trade component. As long as all of these
components are being generated in relative isolation from
one another, there is a clear risk of duplication and
overlap and of the WTO being distracted from its
core responsibilities to try to fill gaps elsewhere.
is, I believe, a subject that warrants more of our
attention. Perhaps not in this setting, of our Coherence
mandate. But I would urge you to reflect further on it,
and I would be grateful to hear your views.
is a personal view, it's outside our mandate and
ministerial instructions. However, after attending ACC
meetings and pushing for better cooperation and seeking
to cooperate with our sister organizations, I think it
would be of assistance if we all did a stocktake, to
better define our core missions, and our jurisdictions,
and to make better use of resources.
have suggested privately that an EPG or a group of wise
men and women, with no vested interests, could do a study
of the goals, objectives and outcomes of all the
institutions. How we can do our jobs better, and be more
accountable and transparent to our owners, the
of the international agencies are now middle aged, born
out of the experiences of great depression and world
conflict, bonded together by the cold war.
the accelerated movement of products, services, and most
important, ideas, poses new challenges. This is an idea
that needs polishing, it needs an owner and it's
something our institutions cannot do by themselves. So,
middle-age is about regular checks, an audit of programs,
and a collective vision.
must report my personal admiration for those heads of
Agencies/Organizations who work on your behalf. Some of
the finest people I've met since I took this job have
been international public servants.