World Trade    WT/MIN(96)/ST/90

    11 December 1996



    Original: English


Singapore, 9-13 December 1996


Statement by H.E. Mr. Sh. Altangerel

Minister for External Relations


    It is a great honour for me to address this very first Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, an Organization that many in this world expect to be crucial vehicle leading to freer trade and stronger growth into the next century. On behalf of my Government I wish every success to this important gathering. I wish to extend my sincere congratulations to Your Excellency on your well-deserved election as Chairman of the Conference. Through you, I would like to thank the Singapore Government and the people of Singapore for its excellent organization of the Conference and for its warm hospitality.

    On the eve of the 21st century the processes of democratic change and economic interdependence embrace a greater part of the family of nations. Mankind is living at a momentous time full of both opportunities and challenges. We have to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges. The creation of the WTO is an opportunity and, in the years ahead, we all have to work hard to realize the benefits that a global free trade managed by the WTO can offer to assist the goals of growth. With growing interdependence and integration comes a growing commonality of interests and we must build on that. Crucially, what looks certain by now is that future economic growth and future progress can only be achieved through cooperative efforts in the area of freer trade.

    As the world is getting smaller my country, Mongolia, is moving towards deeper integration into the global processes. Interdependence and globalization are knocking at our door. So is opportunity. Since the early 1990s, Mongolia has operated a complete overhaul of its political institutions opting for democracy and accountable government. We are now an open and democratic society, and we can be proud of this achievement. There is, however, a heavy legacy that we need to overcome. This is the legacy of the command economy and poor development. Therefore, the goals of economic reform and transition to market-based economy remain high on the Government's agenda. Promoting trade and fostering investment constitute a priority part of the Government reform package. For our efforts to be successful we consider international engagement to be an essential element of the process. We are of the view that Mongolia's accession to the WTO will operate in such a way as to contribute as much as possible to the democratic reform and liberalization efforts. We are hopeful that the WTO agenda will develop to be a broad and balanced one.

    Mongolia's accession to the WTO is a milestone event for my country. Last Thursday, Mongolia's Parliament ratified the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization. At home, we have to do an impressive amount of work to build domestic legislation consistent with the WTO. Being part of a worldwide multilateral trading system is a challenge for all of us here. The challenge comes in many forms. Training people and enhancing human capacities is one of them. My Government considers it important that the WTO Secretariat takes specific actions in order to assist the newly acceding Members in meeting this challenge. My Government would also welcome technical assistance in developing legislation on trade-related matters.

    If one looks at Mongolia's position as a developing and land-locked country, one can understand that Mongolia's process of integration into the global system is not an easy one. But we are confident that Mongolia's specific location can be overcome through international cooperation, especially the one which is directed at reversing the tendency towards marginalization of land-locked nations. Globalization may mean things and may come in many forms. My understanding is that one of its meanings is to say that through the rules and disciplines of a multilateral system the process of integration should embrace all nations and benefit every nation.

    Mongolia is willing to partake in the formulation of these rules and disciplines and abide by them to promote growth and ensure a safer world in the next century.