INDEPENDENT NEWS

Moore Pledges To Work For All In WTO

Published: Fri 23 Jul 1999 02:28 PM
Rt Hon Mike Moore MP
Mike Moore pledged to advance the shared interests of all members after being appointed to a three-year term as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva on Thursday.
Mr Moore’s three-year appointment will be followed by a similar term for Thailand’s Supachai Panitchpakdi after a long-running deadlock was settled by a proposal that they each serve consecutive terms.
“I am delighted that the membership has agreed to support the proposal put forward by Bangladesh,” Mr Moore said.
“I look forward to the three-year appointment and I will do my best to serve the membership as a whole and to advance their shared interests in promoting the WTO’s goals.”
Mr Moore extended his thanks to the many countries that had supported him throughout the lengthy campaign.
“Many countries have worked tirelessly on my behalf and for that I am grateful. It was a long and difficult campaign for myself and the WTO membership, and I’m pleased the decision has now been taken,” he said.
“Now it’s time for all members to put the campaign behind us and to focus on the tasks ahead. Dr Supachai is a personal friend and I am sure that relationship will continue over the next six years and beyond.”
Mr Moore also thanked Prime Minister Jenny Shipley for her strong support throughout the campaign.
“This success reflects the positive contribution that New Zealand has made to the WTO throughout the years. As a New Zealander, I was able to draw on the reputation established by Ministers and public servants who have over generations have built up a body of experience, and a reputation for integrity, hard work and commitment beyond self-interest,” he said.
Mr Moore said there were many challenges facing the WTO this year and in the years ahead, and his first priority would be preparing for the Ministerial Meeting which would be held in Seattle in November.
“This meeting will launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, the full scope of which has yet to be agreed. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and focus on the issues that are important to all the WTO’s members,” he said.
“The WTO membership and Secretariat have been busy over the last year preparing the groundwork for that meeting. As Director-General, I will be there to support that work and ensure that the Secretariat provides all members, including developing country members, with the assistance that they need.”
Mr Moore also reiterated the commitment he made during his campaign to ensure that developing countries would be able to participate fully in the work of the WTO. He noted that many countries could not afford the cost of representation in Geneva, let alone digest the thousands of pages of material involved.
“One of the benefits of the long selection process was that I had the opportunity to talk to most of the Trade Ministers and Permanent Representatives of developing country members of the WTO.
“This has given me a good understanding of the difficulties those countries are facing and areas where improvements can be made, and I look forward to working closely with them to ensure that the benefits of trade rules and liberalisation can be enjoyed by all.
“The WTO has an important role to play in shaping the global economic environment. Recent developments in the international financial situation have reinforced for us all, the importance of keeping markets open and allowing those members most badly affected to recover through increased participation in international trade.
“The WTO must work closer with other key international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, and UNCTAD to ensure that coherent policies are advanced in order to foster growth and to meet the needs of development in the broadest sense.”
Mr Moore believed he had an important role ahead in helping explain the WTO’s work to the citizens of the world.
“What will a new WTO Round mean to individuals and businesses throughout the world? How will those negotiations affect people’s lives? Why should they support trade liberalisation? These are questions that the Director-General must respond to, because it’s about development and job security,” he said.
“No doubt there will be new challenges ahead as we have seen in the range of new issues facing the membership -- many are issues that we didn’t even think of during the Uruguay Round, such as e-commerce. The WTO must be responsive to those issues and be ready to work closely with other relevant international bodies.
“The WTO must also look like the world that it aims to represent. There are over 30 candidates hoping to join the WTO in the near future, from large countries such as China and Russia, to small ones like Vanuatu.”
Mr Moore said he was looking forward to working with the WTO Secretariat which, with a staff of around 500, is one of the leanest international organisations.
“They are a fine, dedicated group of people, and I am sure we can work together to make the WTO even more efficient and more responsive to the world it serves,” he said.
Mr Moore hopes to return to Geneva next week to meet with the Secretariat and some Permanent Representatives, before returning home to pack. He will be permanently based in Geneva from late August.
Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade

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