World Trade    WT/MIN(96)/ST/31

    11 December 1996



    Original: French


Singapore, 9-13 December 1996


Statement by H.E. Mrs. Deneram Miantamare

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

    It is with great pleasure that I shall begin my statement by conveying to you, Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the delegation of Chad, my special greetings on your election to the Chair of this Conference.

    I also wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Singapore for their welcome and for the hospitality provided to all participants in the first biennial ordinary meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the Ministerial level.

    May I also thank the Director-General of the WTO and his staff for the vast amount of preparatory work they have carried out and, even more, for their constant readiness to assist.

    This Conference is particularly important because the subjects to be discussed are of concern to all Members of the WTO, but more especially to the least-developed countries. Both at the national and international levels, in developed countries as in developing countries, social and economic policies are being called into question and participants in this Conference should seek ways and means to enable our countries to adapt their institutional framework to the new economic situation arising out of the implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements.

    The majority of least-developed countries, but more particularly those in Africa, have of course made efforts to restructure their economies either by observing the rules established in the Marrakesh Agreements or by concluding special agreements with the Bretton Woods institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. If the expected results are to be achieved, however, their efforts must receive greater support from developed countries and specialized institutions. It is therefore our duty as political leaders to assume our responsibilities at the national and international levels.

    Like the other least-developed countries, Chad hopes that the WTO Secretariat will organize a meeting of its Members together with aid organizations and multilateral financing institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme, and the least-developed countries, in order to promote an integrated approach towards ways of helping these countries to meet their commitments to the WTO and to play a full part in the multilateral trading system.

    As regards future negotiations on market access for industrial products, agriculture, services, investment and trade, and competition policy, my country supports the proposal by the WTO Secretariat to undertake studies on these issues, but at the same time it urges the Secretariat to work closely with the Secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in order to ensure that the development element is fully taken into account and it hopes that the Secretariat of the Organization of African Unity will be allowed to participate as an observer in the group that will undertake these studies.

    A number of well-founded proposals and recommendations on the aforementioned sectors have been made by the ACP Group with the assistance of the WTO Secretariat and these should be given careful consideration. The proposals meet the need for equity and demonstrate the will to cooperate because the prosperity of the developing world will help to maintain that of the industrialized countries.

    Cooperation is more essential than ever in order to combat all the ills that afflict international trade. This meeting should provide an important opportunity for the international community to review the problems of the least-developed countries and adopt a plan of action in their favour that will help them to meet the challenges and derive substantial benefits from the potential advantages of the Uruguay Round Agreements.

    I am convinced that at the end of this meeting we shall be able to reach agreement because of the many links that should draw our nations together and be the harbinger of a new era of fruitful cooperation.

    I sincerely hope that our work will meet with success and, once again, I thank you.