World Trade    WT/MIN(96)/ST/57

    10 December 1996



    Original: English


Singapore, 9-13 December 1996


Statement by H.E. Mr. Roland Marxer

Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the WTO at Geneva

    On behalf of Ms. Andrea Willi, the Foreign Minister of the Principality of Liechtenstein, who apologises for not being in a position to attend this historic first Ministerial Conference, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the Prime Minister of Singapore, H.E. Mr. Goh Chok Tong, for hosting the Conference and for the warm welcome we have all been given in this beautiful city.

     I would also like to express the appreciation of the Liechtenstein delegation for the excellent work the Director-General, Mr. Renato Ruggiero and the Members of the Secretariat have done during the last two years.

    The World Trade Organization has been existing for two years now and we are pleased to see that all Agreements are operational and the dispute settlement system is functioning well. The implementation of the Uruguay results is taking place in a reasonably efficient manner, but we should not forget that some implementation work still has to be done, so as to ensure that the results of the Uruguay Round are implemented faithfully and in their entirety and in accordance with the established timetable and modalities.

    As to future developments we should assure that the time-frames established in the Agreements will be respected in each case. However, an acceleration of steps to further liberalize trade should be handled most carefully, in order to give all Members the possibility to fulfil their commitments and thus to back the credibility of the World Trade Organization for the medium and long term.

    Aware of the advantages the trading system of the World Trade Organization offers, I would like to express the hope that its rules will be respected by all Member countries now and in the future. Being a small country, Liechtenstein has to rely on the rule of law being observed by all Member States.

    The Liechtenstein delegation welcomes new initiatives, as for example the beginning of examination work concerning the relationship between trade and investment, studies in the field of competition law and especially an analytical work on the simplification of trade procedures.

    The development of a multilateral agreement on principles related to transparency of government procurement practices is fully supported by the Liechtenstein Government, and I can inform you that Liechtenstein is actually preparing its membership in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

    The link between trade and social standards is another issue which needs, according to our point of view, to be examined in the context of the increasing global economic interdependence. International cohesion, cooperation and integration require a vision embracing the values on which our societies rest, including a commitment to human rights.

    The fruits of an open trading system can only be enjoyed in a sound environment. My delegation would like to encourage the Committee on Trade and Environment to continue its work.

    Through their membership in the WTO, Member States have committed themselves to closer international cooperation. This also includes the integration of least developed and developing countries as well as economies in transition into this multilateral system. It should be the aim of all countries to achieve faster growth in developing countries, in particular through measures to remove, rather than create, barriers to developing country exports.