World Trade                        WT/MIN(96)/ST/106

                                    12 December 1996



                                    Original: Spanish


Singapore, 9-13 December 1996


Statement by Mrs. Lilliana Canale

Special Presidential Envoy

    May I congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election to preside over the work of this historic Conference. My delegation also congratulates the other officers of the Conference working alongside you.

    In recent years, Peru has been vigorously implementing a programme of sweeping structural reforms, probably the most advanced in Latin America. The programme unreservedly espouses the postulates of free trade and therefore coincides fully with the principles and objectives which the World Trade Organization has been consistently pursuing in the international arena. Obviously, this goes beyond trade liberalization, extending to a fundamental redefinition of the role of the State, the opening of the economy, the modernization of institutions and the full involvement of the private sector in the development and defence of the economic model.

    Peru's vision of the future is based on the nurturing and exploitation of genuine competitive advantages by the private sector and the constant improvement of the efficiency of the economy, with the State providing a level playing field for all the players and defending their interests in international fora. This approach will banish the spectre of protectionism and stimulate healthy competition. Free trade and investment must generate economic growth, more jobs and a better quality of life for our people. This is why it is so important to liberalize investment in keeping with the principles of non-discrimination and national treatment.

    This new international trading system has no place for protectionism of any kind which inevitably distorts the foundations of free trade. This forum has no use for watertight compartments in which certain products are dealt with outside the general framework of trade depending on the supplier, or for the imposition or threat of trade sanctions associated with non-trade considerations. Such practices are tantamount to disguised protectionism, which only penalizes efficiency and jeopardizes the sustained growth of free trade.

    Trade liberalization and environmental protection need not be incompatible. On the contrary, they should be mutually supportive in the quest for sustainable development. Hence the need for the WTO's Committee on Trade and Environment to continue its study of this important topic, though care should be taken to prevent the introduction of disguised protectionist measures ostensibly based on environmental considerations.

    Initiatives such as the study of the relationship between trade and investment being conducted within the WTO, and in particular its implications for the transfer of technology, should be supported and considered as steps in the right direction, as well as a way of putting theory into practice so as to maximize advantages. For developing countries, foreign investment and access to technologies and markets are of particular importance, for both their economic and their technological advancement.     Accordingly, Peru welcomes the establishment of a working group to study the relationship between trade and competition rules and policies with a view to reaching a consensus around certain principles that could then be adopted at the international level.

    At the same time, we cannot omit to mention the need to step up the technical cooperation provided by the WTO to developing countries, to enable them to implement fully their commitments. We believe that this would contribute to the success of our multilateral trading system which is getting off to such an auspicious start.

    Finally, we must reiterate the importance of having transparent rules to govern that multilateral trading system. That is why we took an active part in the Uruguay Round and, with the unanimous approval of the Final Act by our Congress, became one of the original Members of the World Trade Organization.

    Before concluding my statement, I should like to convey my Government's appreciation and thanks to the people and Government of Singapore for organizing this First Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization so efficiently, and for welcoming us so warmly.