WTO DOHA: Developed Country Statements

Published: Mon 12 Nov 2001 12:28 AM
Statements to the DOHA Ministerial meeting from:
- Germany
- France
- Canada
- Australia
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Japan
- Italy
For more country statements see...WTO WEBSITE COUNTRY STATEMENTS
Statement by H.E. Dr. Axel Gerlach
State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Let me begin by thanking our hosts, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khelifa Al Thani, and the organizers of this Conference for their great commitment.
At this time in particular, following the terrorist attacks on the United States, it is right for us to come to Doha to launch a new world trade round. The members of the international community in east and west, north and south are thus giving an important signal of unity and solidarity. The civilized world cannot and must not allow its agenda to be dictated by international terrorism. In the current world economic situation, the continuation of liberalization on the basis of a rule-based multilateral world trading system and of a genuine development dimension is more important than ever, both politically and economically.
The inclusion of China and Taiwan, which we will decide at this Conference, will also help to strengthen the multilateral WTO trading system. This is another way in which the Doha Conference will become a milestone on the way to a genuinely global world trading system.
The coming decision on the start of a new world trade round will set the course for the future:
- In economic terms, we want further liberalization of world trade to stimulate fresh growth and employment. What the world economy needs now is a signal of confidence in the future.
- It is also important that all WTO Members benefit appropriately from future liberalization.
A key objective of the EU for the new round is therefore greater involvement of the developing countries in world trade through market access, improved rules and technical assistance. With its "everything but arms" initiative, the EU has already taken a substantial unilateral measure to benefit the least-developed countries.
- In political terms, it is important to strengthen the WTO and to adapt the world trading system to new challenges. Strong and reliable world trade rules benefit all WTO Members, but especially the small ones, since they then have the possibility to enforce their rights. But we need to develop the rules further and to keep them up to date. Therefore, the EU has always advocated a broad agenda for a new round which opens up the WTO for the so-called "new issues". These are: trade and environment; trade and social development; trade and investment; and trade and competition.
I must once again emphasize one point: we are not pursuing any protectionist goals. Nor do we aim to threaten comparative competition advantages of the developing countries. We have a different objective; globalization offers great opportunities for economic development, but it also involves risks. It is important for us to develop the opportunities of globalization to the benefit of all WTO Members and to minimize the risks by utilizing our scope for policy-making and rule-setting.
This Conference can give a three-fold signal:
- A signal of political continuity, economic stability and an open, rule-based system of world trade;
- a signal of the desire of the international community to work together to shape a framework for the world economy, and thus to help the fight against terrorism;
- and a signal of our readiness to tackle the challenges of globalization and to seek an appropriate balance of interests between industrial and developing countries.
If the Conference is to reach a successful conclusion, it will be important to cover all the major issues in an overall package. All – and I emphasize: all – the participants at this Conference will have to show flexibility and a readiness to compromise. Germany is read to cooperate constructively and openly in the search for a compromise which points towards the future and brings benefits for all the WTO Members.
Statement by H.E. Mr Laurent Fabius
Minister for Economy, Finance and Industry
Three observations, to begin with:
- Firstly, I would like to thank Qatar, our hosts, who have done their utmost to provide us a warm welcome, as well as the Chairman, Mr Harbinson, and the Director-General, Mr Mike Moore.
- Secondly, I would like to highlight the fact that with the accession of China, the World Trade Organization will at long last have become a true world organization.
- Thirdly, I wish to make the point that trade and terrorism are not good bedfellows. Our presence here in Doha shows that we will not be intimidated. After the failure of Seattle, we want the success of Doha.
Making a success of Doha means fully understanding the framework: that of a necessarily efficient, rules-based organization with a dispute settlement mechanism that substitutes law for force and multilateralism for unilateralism.
Making a success of Doha means setting a course: the opening up of trade coupled with a strengthening of rules, with the ultimate aim – and I stress this point – of contributing to full employment, to improvement of living standards and to sustainable development.
In this context, France favours a strong, legitimate and democratic WTO serving two priority objectives:
1. The WTO must first contribute to the opening up and regulation of world trade
Markets, whether national or global, will only work for the benefit of all if they are governed by rules. And while we have, in the past, created global market rules in the traditional areas of goods and services, if we wish to pursue our course and further open up our economies on a progressive and mutual basis, we need to enhance those rules. We need to improve them, where necessary, as a proper response to the process of integration of world markets.
I have drawn at least two lessons from our experience in the European Union:
- The opening up of borders does not suffice to ensure a fair and harmonious development of trade. Common rules governing competition and investment must progressively be introduced to consolidate what has already been achieved and thus contribute to the development of investment flows between WTO Members and, in particular, towards the developing countries. This would ensure equal opportunities for the different economic actors, the SMEs and the large groups.
- Secondly, the economic preferences of consumers often reflect choices by our citizens. These choices may differ from one country to another, for example, in the food safety area. The WTO has the responsibility of avoiding conflicts that could result from these differences by specifying or clarifying existing multilateral rules wherever necessary.
Moreover, negotiations should pave the way for progress on the dispute settlement chapter, to the benefit of all Members.
2. The WTO must also be an instrument at the service of sustainable development
The objective of sustainable development has been recognized and incorporated into the WTO ever since the Organization was created. The role of the State and of public policy is important in ensuring greater security and solidarity.
Development, promotion of core labour standards and environmental protection are key areas in which States and public opinion alike expect tangible results.
The question of development will be at the heart of the new round. Above and beyond the progress achieved in the discussions on implementation of the Marrakesh Agreements, access by the disadvantaged countries to developed country and emerging country markets is a priority. Europe has already taken steps to that end on behalf of the least-developed countries.
And we are faced with two other tasks: to give full meaning to the concept of "special and differential treatment" without creating a two-speed WTO; and to develop technical assistance in areas where it is crucial.
The WTO must contribute to social development by ensuring permanent dialogue with other international organizations, under the auspices of the ILO.
The WTO must contribute decisively to the regulation of international trade by clarifying the relationship between trade and environmental rules.
I would like to place particular emphasis on a matter of considerable importance, indeed a moral obligation: that of enabling populations that have been struck by epidemics such as AIDS to have access to essential medicines. France was behind the Global Health Fund launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Let us add access to essential medicines. On behalf of the French Government, I call upon you to give all human beings the means to exercise, concretely, their basic right to life.
3. To fulfil these missions, the WTO must respect the principles of equity and transparency
Equity means participation by all. It requires transparency of procedures and negotiation methods. The WTO has achieved some progress since Seattle, and it must continue to do so.
Equity also means a comprehensive negotiating agenda: only through a broad approach can the priorities of each and every one of us be taken into consideration and a balanced result ensured.
Finally, equity means refraining from all pre-negotiation of results in certain areas. I am thinking, in particular, of the negotiation of the built-in agenda on agriculture and services, which must be pursued on the basis laid down in Marrakesh, with due regard for the collective preferences of all Members.
Mr Chairman, Mr Director-General, distinguished colleagues, when we created the WTO in 1994, we broadened the scope of the GATT to include contemporary problems. We now have to broaden the scope of the WTO in pursuit of controlled liberalization, of development and of world governance.
In the framework of our negotiations, we must meet the expectations of all Members of the Organization, of the economic actors and of public opinion. It is in that spirit that France intends to contribute to this meeting in Doha.
Statement by the Honourable Pierre S. Pettigrew
Minister for International Trade
I am honoured to be here in Doha to represent Canada as we strive to launch a new round of global trade negotiations.
It is my pleasure to extend Canada's congratulations to Qatar as host of this Ministerial. Your efforts in meeting the challenges posed under the circumstances have been exceptional. On behalf of the Canadian delegation, thank you.
The World Trade Organization is at an important juncture. While we have witnessed extraordinary economic growth since Marrakesh, the current slowdown has demonstrated we cannot stand idle. Today's environment underscores the importance of liberalized trade to economic growth. It is clear the WTO plays a lead role in maintaining confidence in our global economic institutions.
In Canada's view, this role requires us to strengthen our rules and further liberalize to provide a solid foundation for future growth.
Now some of you – both within these corridors and outside in our respective communities – may be asking themselves why we are trying to launch. Indeed, I have heard some of you question whether further liberalization is the best approach for improving your economies and the lives of your citizens.
I think the answer is clear. It is found in the growing body of evidence which demonstrates that economic growth and prosperity are clearly connected to a strong trading system. Trade is a core plank on which to build economic development – the linkages are unmistakable.
But trade is not just about economies. It underpins much of the progress toward the world's political and social goals. All WTO Members want stability and prosperity for their people. A successful launch will help us achieve these objectives by providing benefits and opportunities for all Member countries.
At the same time, we must be realistic about our expectations. A decision to launch broad-based negotiations is only part of the answer to improving peoples' quality of life. An increase to our collective prosperity is a reasonable objective, but the WTO – by itself – cannot resolve all of the world's problems.
The work we undertake in this Organization must remain relevant to our broader concerns. Relevance means meeting the challenges of globalization. Relevance means ensuring that international policies and practices are not only consistent but also complementary. Relevance means discussing the dynamics between trade and other aspects of our lives.
To this end, Canada believes coherence and coordination among our many international organizations is vital. The WTO should continue to strengthen its ties with such organizations to ensure its work is relevant within our overall priorities. In this regard, I think it is particularly unfortunate that Members have not been able to agree on the need to ensure the WTO works with the International Labour Organization to advance core labour standards.
I would now like to turn to some of the issues that we will be discussing over the course of this Conference. Canada's objectives at the WTO reflect the interests of our citizens and have been arrived at following extensive consultations with individuals and representatives from all segments of our society.
For Canada, a positive outcome on agriculture is key. A broader negotiating agenda holds the promise of gaining more meaningful reform in agriculture that will benefit our farmers, exporters and consumers.
I share the concerns of some of my colleagues from developing countries about the fairness of the agricultural trading system. Canada is seeking real progress in levelling the international playing field by further strengthening the multilateral rules governing agricultural trade, addressing trade-distorting subsidies, and significantly improving market access opportunities.
A new round would provide significant gains in other important areas such as services and non-agricultural market access, and would thus help to ensure we can all extract the greatest benefit from the modern global economy.
We believe that, with a broad-based agenda, we will succeed in creating an environment conducive to reciprocity, and allow Members to pursue their respective interests to the fullest.
As a leading trading nation, Canada understands the advantages of international trade. A strong, open multilateral trading system can energize economies, spur innovation, reduce costs to consumers and business, and create employment opportunities.
I firmly believe we must ensure that any further trade liberalization maximizes the benefits to developing and least-developed Members. Canada strongly supports a "growth and development" theme for these negotiations. There are still some countries – and some people – who feel excluded, who feel they have not experienced the benefits. And, while gains have been made, the level of poverty is still alarmingly high.
In the face of this, complacency is not an option. All WTO Members must do their part. Better access to markets and technical assistance for least-developed countries must be a priority for a new round.
There are many lessons to be learned from the task of implementing the Uruguay Round Agreements and I have heard developing Members' concerns. We have come a long way on issues such as implementation and market access for developing Members.
However, it is only through broad negotiations that we will resolve the outstanding concerns and that developing Members will achieve the objectives that are of interest to them.
I have spoken about some of the elements that I believe should be addressed at this Conference, let me now conclude with a few words on how we are doing our work.
Since Seattle, we have made progress in making the WTO a more open and inclusive organization. However, there are further hurdles that have to be surmounted.
Our efforts on internal transparency have resulted in a decision-making process that is very inclusive. I believe the structure of this Ministerial Conference demonstrates this achievement.
But, we can do even more to demystify our processes and our objectives. I believe that a greater window onto the WTO – through such steps as an agreement to release our draft negotiating texts – will help promote public understanding of the WTO, of the benefits of trade, and of the importance of clear and equitable rules governing how countries trade with each other.
I also believe that WTO members and the WTO system of Agreements will benefit from the views of an informed global public. We must continue to listen to their ideas and invite their comments in order to make this Organization even more representative.
Statement by the Honourable John Fahey, MP
Minister for Finance and Administration
The gathering of some 142 Member nations, here in Qatar, at this point in history, proclaims a common cause – not only to restore confidence, to steady markets and to kickstart growth, but to renew and ensure the health of the multilateral trading system which delivers so much to all of the world's people.
There are some who believe the benefits of global trade are not distributed evenly, or equitably. There are some who maintain WTO Agreements are unfair, even unjust. And for some, the WTO system caters for the large and powerful, at the expense of the small and weak.
Australia recognizes these concerns. Indeed, we have some of our own. But we place great store in the capacity of the WTO system to address these criticisms. And we believe the only way forward is through a new round of global trade negotiations. The need for a new round now – here at Doha – is even more pressing given the marked global economic slowdown we are now experiencing.
Australia comes to Doha fully expecting the launch of a new round of trade negotiations - the first to take place under the auspices of the WTO. And I am confident that we have the necessary foresight and vision, not to mention flexibility, to ensure success.
I congratulate [General Council Chair] Stuart Harbinson for the tireless effort he has made in developing the draft Declaration now before us. It is a credible basis for reaching agreement here in Doha.
As you know, agriculture is critically important to Australia, to the Cairns Group of Fair Agricultural Traders and many developing country members. For too long agriculture, including processed foods, has been excluded from genuine reform. The WTO should not be a "rich man's club" reforming in only those areas where wealthy Members are competitive. Reform must benefit us all.
The Declaration must recognize the objective of integrating agriculture fully into the WTO framework.
The Declaration must seek to end all forms of export subsidies, substantially reduce trade-distorting domestic support and make substantial improvements in market access.
And the Declaration must reaffirm the priority of reform under the three pillars – export subsidies, domestic support and market access – over non-trade concerns. We cannot allow a small number of wealthy Members to use non-trade concerns to block reform, particularly when we know that non-trade concerns can be addressed in ways that complement our reform objectives. Indeed, this approach will be the solution to our differences on agriculture. The negotiations cannot be allowed to be held hostage to non-trade concerns.
Environment is also a key issue for Australia. The vast majority of WTO Members share a significant concern to ensure that there is no change to the existing balance of rules related to environmental issues in the WTO. It is important that the proponents of change do not ignore or understate these genuine concerns.
Australia places the highest priority on the retention of disciplines which prevent Members from misusing trade measures in the name of environmental protection, or imposing environmental standards unilaterally.
Australia recognizes the need to address the concerns of developing countries in preparing for a new round: in particular, the extent to which developed countries have implemented existing WTO agreements, and access to medicines for developing countries.
Australia believes that there has been important progress in recent months. The language before us on implementation is a serious attempt, made in good faith, to address the concerns of developing countries. I commend it to you as a basis for agreement.
Australia considers the issue of access to medicines is very important and warrants the separate declaration. We encourage all members to build on common ground to find practical solutions, within the framework of the TRIPS Agreement, to this priority concern.
Here, in Doha, China will join the WTO community. Australia has strongly supported WTO membership for China, and for Chinese Taipei. Chinese membership will be a major step in the WTO becoming a truly global organization.
Negotiations on our Ministerial Declaration are at a critical stage. Australia believes all WTO members will benefit from the launch of a new round here at Doha.
The benefits of removing barriers to trade are enormous. The gains from only having current trade barriers are estimated at around $US400 billion annually. That's like adding the Korean - or Australian - economy to global welfare each year.
We need to remember the purpose of the multilateral trading system. To open markets - across the board. To prevent new and reduce existing restraints on trade - in new and traditional areas alike. To maintain a stable framework of rules - to protect the weak from the strong - so we can all trade, fairly and at will.
Doha should mark the beginning of negotiations that will reinforce these goals, and thereby strengthen the WTO and the trading system we have built since the conclusion of the Second World War.
Success will contribute much at this moment in history, most of all to the very people who need the benefits of trade most: the world's poor. Failure, in turn, will fail them.
Statement by H.E. Baroness Liz Symons of Vernham Dean
Minister of State for Trade and Industry
Mr Chairman, I am pleased to be able to address you here today.
I would like to join others in thanking His Highness the Emir and his Government for their splendid hospitality and the excellent arrangements they have made for hosting this Conference.
We face a real challenge in the days ahead. A challenge that needs close cooperation, strong leadership and mutual understanding from us all.
It is clear that we stand on the brink of a worldwide economic downturn. And this in a world where we see every day that events in one nation impact on us all. Our response must therefore be global. We cannot retreat into isolation and protectionism. To do so would be a disaster. Instead, we must demonstrate our common resolve and inject new confidence in the global economy by launching a new WTO round.
As we seek to steer this Ministerial Conference to a successful conclusion we must have clearly in our minds the need to launch negotiations which are relevant to and which benefit the world's poorest countries and fully integrate them into the global economy.
Studies show how significant a round could be. If all WTO Members were to cut all trade barriers in half the world could benefit to the tune of some US$400 billion a year, around 1.4 per cent of global GDP. Of this around US$150 billion would accrue to developing countries.
The UK is committed to ensuring that this round is truly a "Development Round".
What does this mean? I very much agree with the comments made earlier by my colleague Pascal Lamy. Developing countries have much to gain from being part of an open, rules-based trading system. Equally they would have much to lose if that system were to be placed in jeopardy.
Free trade is not a one-way street – developed countries cannot demand more openness from others without offering it ourselves. And the more developing countries are prepared to open their markets to each other the more we think they will benefit.
We understand the obstacles many developing countries face in participating fully in the work of the WTO and taking advantage of the opportunities it offers. Just this week, the UK demonstrated its commitment to addressing these capacity constraints.
Clare Short, the UK Development Minister, announced a £20 million package of new measures. And Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, wrote to Horst Kohler of the International Monetary Fund and James Wolfensohn of the World Bank urging both to commit their organizations to provide financial support to least-developed countries working to open their own markets. He also urged them to step up Bank and Fund efforts to build trade capacity.
When it comes to the substance of our talks this week, the UK, together with our EU partners, will be seeking an ambitious negotiating agenda. And for good reasons.
Within the WTO, Members set global rules that order and stabilize international trade. But significant barriers still remain – going beyond tariffs and quotas. Lack of transparency in investment and competition rules still holds back international trade. Cumbersome customs procedures sometimes do the same. None of us – whether developed or developing – can make the most of our trading links until we remove these barriers.
We must also extend the rules-based trading system – bringing more countries into the WTO. The accession ceremonies that we will witness this evening and tomorrow are welcome steps in this direction.
We have a clear challenge facing us here in Doha – to launch a short, decisive, and successful round of trade negotiations. A round that delivers for developing countries. A round that aims to reduce poverty. A round which improves market access for all and which seeks to build the capacity developing countries need to participate effectively in the WTO and reap the benefit of that market access.
We must all face up to the challenges ahead. The WTO cannot afford to miss this opportunity.
Statement by H.E. Mr. Robert B. Zoellick
United States Trade Representative
I want to begin by thanking the Government of Qatar for sponsoring this meeting. Under difficult circumstances, you have provided excellent arrangements for trading nations from all corners of the globe, diverse peoples drawn together by their common interest in economic growth, development, and peaceful exchange. As befits your country and your traditions, the people of Qatar are wonderful hosts – and I thank them, too.
I would also like to express my appreciation for all of the labours of the WTO Secretariat, particularly its Director-General, Mike Moore, and the Chair of the General Council, Stuart Harbinson. You have been patient, indefatigable, and, in my opinion, most effective.
And I would to thank my fellow Ministers. In my nine months in office, you have both helped and inspired me. Your heartfelt support in the aftermath of 11 September has touched me deeply. It is an honour to serve with all of you.
This meeting comes at a critical time. I believe an agenda for new global trade negotiations is within our collective grasp. If we work together, this can be done. This should be done.
Permit me to make five brief observations about our work.
First, all of us know that the international economy is struggling. This year, we expect that US trade in goods and services – which rose 15 per cent last year – will actually fall for the first time since 1982. Global trade will be nearly flat. The September acts of terror have increased uncertainties and risk. Yet with victims from over 80 countries, these acts have also brought us together.
The world needs signs of hope – the hope of economic opportunity and the hope of political purpose shared by almost 150 nations. Therefore, it is particularly important that the message from Doha be that our nations are committed to opening markets, not to closing them. The launch of new global trade negotiations is important for financial market confidence and economic recovery in the short run, and also for economic growth and vitality over time.
It is a fine portent, then, that 14 nations have joined the WTO since its creation and that over the next days we will welcome the accession of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan after a 15-year journey. Both are already major influences on world trade. Their participation in the WTO will be a boost for them and us. So I congratulate their delegations for their hard work, which is now crowned by success.
Second, a new WTO agenda for growth, development, and prosperity through trade liberalization needs to help strengthen the beneficial connection between developing countries and the international economy.
Developing countries already account for more than one third of the merchandise trade. Further liberalization of agriculture would provide a huge boost. And trade among developing nations offers untapped opportunities. The potential is enormous. Just last week, the World Bank explained that the elimination of trade barriers would lift 300 million people out of poverty.
My country recognizes the critical need to combine trade liberalization in the WTO with national trade preference programmes – such as our African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Andean Trade Preference Act, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, and the Generalized System of Preferences. There is also a need for special and differential treatment for developing countries and improved efforts to assist trade capacity-building. Over the past year, the United States provided more than $555 million in trade capacity assistance. Now we must make this assistance work better.
Third, I know that many developing nations have expressed frustration with the implementation of the Uruguay Round. The United States has worked with other developed nations to address legitimate concerns. We can agree to a sizeable list of implementation items as we launch the negotiating agenda. And we are willing to work with others on the remaining concerns.
The trade liberalization ushered in by the Uruguay Round highlights the potential of more trade for developing nations. In the six years following the completion of the Uruguay Round, exports from developing nations grew by nearly $1 trillion, to an impressive total of $2.4 trillion. Developing country exports of textiles and apparel to the United States have grown 72 per cent since 1994, reaching a volume of $42 billion in 2000. Developing country agricultural exports to the United States have risen to over $12.3 billion.
Fourth, I believe the text produced by Stuart Harbinson has skilfully cleared away many impediments to our progress.
The principal interest of the United States is to open markets for agriculture, industrial goods and services. Our agenda is similar to that of most developing countries. Nevertheless, we recognize that others are seeking a broader agenda. We are committed to work cooperatively with all countries – developed and developing – to see if we can address these issues. The Chair's text has handled differences artfully. With the help of others, we will look for creative solutions to the remaining differences.
As you know, we are dissatisfied by the text on WTO rules. I have listened carefully to other countries' concerns. Here is my perspective: the authors of the GATT and WTO systems designed the rules to ensure that members could not undercut tariff concessions or reductions in non-tariff barriers by other means. The rules on anti-dumping and countervailing duties serve that purpose. Given the relative openness of the US market, support for further trade liberalization depends on our ability to ensure that a bargain on market access is not undercut by foreign subsidies or other trade-distorting practices. Therefore, it is essential that any possible work in this area discipline the unfair trade practices themselves, not just the rules for countering them. Furthermore, any consideration of WTO rules must focus first on improving the practices of the rapidly increasing numbers of new users.
Fifth, we hope that this Ministerial will issue a strong separate declaration on access to medicines during public health crises while reaffirming the TRIPS Agreement.
My recent meeting with African Ministers in Washington helped me further understand your concerns. I recognize the human and societal devastation wreaked by HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other epidemics of communicable diseases. I appreciate that there has been much confusion and misinformation about the flexibilities in the TRIPS Agreement that give countries the freedom to get necessary drugs to help deal with health emergencies.
Therefore, we should clarify the TRIPS flexibilities – including the use of compulsory licences – to help countries address these tragedies. We might also want to relate our statement to the comprehensive, integrated work that involves education, prevention, care, training, and treatment. The UN – including the Global Fund – is leading this effort. The United States is proud that the over $2 billion per year that we spend to counter and some day cure this scourge represents nearly 50 per cent of all international HIV/AIDS funds.
We also are proposing additional steps. We recommend granting the least-developed countries a 10-year extension, to 2016, to come into full compliance with pharmaceutical-related patent obligations under TRIPS. We propose a moratorium of at least five years on WTO challenges to the actions of other sub-Saharan African developing nations as they respond to HIV/AIDS, infections related to AIDS, and other health crises such as measles and tuberculosis.
We cannot agree with a declaration, however, that eviscerates the TRIPs rules through an exception for vague "public health objectives." This open-ended language would lead to mass erosion of patent protections – from pharmaceuticals to medical software – and thwart research into medicines that can save lives.
We will try our best to achieve a constructive, separate declaration in this area. And we must not lose sight of our crucial goal of launching an agenda for global trade negotiations.
Colleagues and friends: 54 years ago, on 30 October, representative of 23 nations assembled in Geneva to sign what would become an historic agreement: the Geneva Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. It was clear to those individuals meeting in Geneva in the dangerous autumn of 1947 that trade was inextricably linked to recovery, development, and even their security.
Those leaders – and their successors – did their work well. As the UNDP has reported, the world has achieved a greater reduction in poverty over the past 50 years than occurred over the previous 500 – in large part because trade increased seventeen-fold.
So now we are gathered here – in a different era, with different challenges – to advance an agenda of exceptional importance, at an exceptional time. The very fact of this meeting – now with nearly 150 nations present – underscores how much progress has been made over the past half century. We stand for learning to manage our differences through rules, so that we can debate and create, not terrorise and paralyse.
Trade is about more than economic efficiency, it reflects and encourages a systems of values: openness, peaceful exchange, opportunity, inclusiveness and integration, mutual gains through interchange, freedom of choice, appreciation of differences, governance through agreed rules, and a hope for betterment for all peoples and lands.
This is the best – perhaps the only – opportunity we will have in the next decade to advance global trade liberalization and strengthen the viability of the rules-based multilateral trading system.
I pledge to work with all of you to try to solve problems while we are here in Doha. And in the spirit of non-discrimination that is embedded in the heart of the WTO, I hope we can all approach the next few days with open minds and a willingness to help each other work through our different needs. In doing so, we might be assisted if we keep in mind that our mandate is to launch negotiations, not to complete them.
When our work in done here, I hope that we – like our predecessors, 54 years ago – will be able to return to our respective capitals knowing that we have contributed to an agenda that will be the starting point for greater development, growth, opportunity, and openness throughout the world.
Statement by H.E. Mr Takeo Hiranuma
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Now, at the beginning of the 21st Century, we all gathered here in Doha to discharge our important responsibility to maintain and promote the freedom and openness of the world today. It is our duty as Ministers to agree on a comprehensive Work Programme that the WTO should undertake from now, and decide to launch the negotiations based on a broad agenda.
Through earnest discussions over the past several years, we have come to understand that a free trading system is essential for the growth of developing countries. At the same time, we have also learned the severity of difficulties developing Members are facing. While strengthening our cooperation for capacity building, it is essential that we make further progress towards the objective of establishing a multilateral trading system, which all Members can equally benefit from, by taking into account the interests and concerns of developing Members and stocktaking the results to date on the implementation-related issues.
In addition to the issue of "trade and development" we are required to pay serious attention to other important issues, such as the environment and public health. In particular, the relation of access to medicines for such pandemics as HIV/AIDS and the TRIPS Agreement is an issue of great urgency.
The mission that we have been given here in Doha is to address these wide-ranging issues and produce visible results. We cannot afford a second failure. Since the horrifying events in 11 September, prospects for the world economy have become increasingly uncertain. As Ministers responsible for trade, we are required to cooperate more closely to provide more stability and predictability to international trade, and respond to the new challenges of the twenty-first century, which are even more complicated by the advance of globalization and information technology. In other words, it is our mission to develop and expand the WTO on a stronger foundation.
Despite such a strong sense of urgency, I am nonetheless confident that we will be able to fulfil this mission. This is because we already have a good basis for further coordination among Members laid down through the efforts of the General Council Chairman, Mr Harbinson, and the Director-General. Furthermore, we have been provided with a very pleasant venue for our discussions thanks to the thorough preparations by the Government of the State of Qatar.
In the coming days we will endeavour to launch the new round of negotiations under the comprehensive Work Programme by adopting the Ministerial Declaration. There still remain several important issues on which we have yet to reach a consensus. I believe we should try to proceed with our coordination from the following viewpoints:
Concerning agriculture and services, greater impetus will be given to the negotiations already underway in these sectors, by placing them both as part of the broad negotiating agenda. In particular, as for agriculture, it will be important to confirm, at Doha, the framework of negotiations to follow. The differences in positions of Members concerning the subject should be bridged in the subsequent negotiations.
In order to complement trade liberalization and safeguard the achievements resulting from such liberalization, it is imperative to work for necessary clarification and improvement of the rules on anti-dumping. We should bear in mind that a vast majority of Members already support this position.
Both investment and competition are new areas of interests, and we understand that some Members are reluctant to address these issues in the WTO. I believe, however, that we should aim at starting the negotiations on these two areas and try to deal with them with a challenging spirit.
I doubt that anyone would deny the importance of the issue of "trade and environment". Accordingly, further discussion should be pursued to reach a consensus on how the perspectives of sustainable development and preservation of the environment can be reflected through the negotiations.
Although not much time is left to us, we have so far been successful in narrowing down issues considerably. I am fully confident that I can share the sense of urgency, as well as the sense of duty I mentioned at the outset of my intervention, with all of the Ministers gathered here. Therefore, by showing a little more flexibility and adding our own political judgement as Ministers, I believe we can fulfil the mission tasked to us.
Finally, I should like to state Japan's strong hope for the approval of the accession of Japan's neighbours China and Chinese Taipei to the WTO and our welcome to their new membership.
Statement by the Honourable Antonio Marzano
Minister for Productive Activities
Let me express our gratitude to the Government of Qatar for the brilliant organization of this WTO Conference.
Let me also thank the Secretariat of the WTO, its Director-General and the Chairman of the General Council for the excellent work they have done to lay the foundations of a successful outcome.
This 4th Ministerial Conference is taking place at a momentous time of mankind's history. The holding of such a meeting, in spite of the tragic events of two months ago, bears witness of our willingness to react against disruptive violence and to revive the climate of dialogue that has allowed the tremendous development of our economies for the last 50 years.
During this period of time, international trade has been pivotal in promoting growth. Now we must make sure that it will continue to play that essential role even in the future, thanks to a stronger, more efficient rules-based multilateral system.
Italy has always been committed to the strengthening of this system. It is a hallmark of our foreign and economic policy precisely because our very economic interests call for its full support.
As President Berlusconi reaffirmed in a letter of 8 November to other G7 leaders, the effective enhancement of the multilateral trade system will only be patent when a greater number of countries will be able to reap the benefits of liberalization. Today those advantages are still limited to few geographical areas.
To reach this goal, the new negotiations round, that I do hope we will be able to launch here, shall be characterized by the "development" dimension.
In the last few weeks, the WTO people in Geneva have done an awful amount of work to craft important documents. Those important documents are not definitive yet. Some questions are still open to debate but they could well find easy solutions if Member countries have the political willingness to go beyond their parochial, specific interests.
In this regard, a top priority remains the decision on implementation-related issues. We should send a clear signal to developing countries.
On this point, I would like to make a reference to the textile sector, just to stress that the European Union is fulfilling its commitments under the Marrakesh Agreement. Our efforts to keep up with our obligations have been significant. We expect that our partners will not only follow us on the same path but that they will also throw more open their own markets.
The latest version of the Draft Ministerial Declaration leaves us partially unsatisfied. I wish that discussions currently underway may lead to solutions which are better geared to favour a balanced development of international trade and which are better moulded to some specific features of our economies. I refer, in particular, to some high quality products of primary importance in Italy. In many cases, their quality is strictly linked to their geographical origin with its background of traditions and skills. We would like these products (not only wines and spirits) to be adequately protected and to gain an access without obstacles to international markets.
Another relevant issue that ranks among our priorities is constituted by agricultural non-trade concerns. The social and environmental function performed by this sector is well known. We believe that supporting this function is essential and legitimate. I am also convinced of the need to achieve all the other objectives set out in Article XX of the Agriculture Agreement, taking into account that, for some sectors, the current margin of protection has been substantially reduced by concessions granted in previous negotiations.
I think that the draft declaration is disappointing on environment. Fostering a solution of some aspects of the relationship between trade and environment should be in order. Those matters, when not adequately and consensually regulated at multilateral level, are bound to strain international relations. They are also the cause of the growing perplexities and doubts of our public opinions towards the WTO.
There are a number of other issues.
Let me start with the relationship between trade and investment. In this area, Italy would welcome an active role of the WTO since investment protection and liberalization are essential, especially to small- and medium-sized enterprises. They are that fundamental prerequisite that generate an increasing amount of resources for the promotion of economic growth in developing countries and in some areas of the industrialized countries alike.
Core labour standards are the other important issue in which, I think, the WTO should be much more engaged, alongside the ILO (International Labour Organization) and the international financial institutions. There surely is a contribution that the WTO can offer to the ongoing debate. This is a theme that should be tackled in a constructive way. We could for instance devise positive measures for training and technical assistance as well as trade facilitation actions for those countries that pledge themselves to improve the protection of core labour standards of low earners.
Another important document on which a declaration has to be adopted here regards the granting of access to drugs to some developing countries hit by outbreaks of serious diseases.
Aware of the need to help these populations, we are ready to consider a degree of flexibility in the application of the TRIPS Agreement. But we will also call for any form of cooperation with the pharmaceutical industry that can bring about a satisfactory solution to dramatic situations.
We have come to Doha firmly committed to score the success that will allow us to catch up, with fresh energy, the path toward economic growth and well-being.
We know that this goal will only be possible on condition that all countries draw concrete benefits from the outcome of the new negotiating round. Italy engages itself to make this happen and to make the new negotiations become the true round of development.

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