New WTO head says developing countries must reap benefits of trade liberalization

  • 14 September 1999

In his first speech as Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Mike Moore today addressed the Group of 77 Ministerial Meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, charting his priorities on the way ahead for trade and development. Mr Moore is the first Director-General of the GATT or the WTO to address the G77.

Mr Moore reiterated his commitment to assist developing countries in the trading system by ensuring that trade liberalization continues in a way that brings real benefits to all countries; that rules are developed in ways that are useful and practical for developing countries; that procedures for “contingent” protection are applied fairly so such measures do not become a substitute for old-fashioned protectionist barriers; that access to dispute settlement mechanism is available on an equitable basis; and that information about the WTO’s activities is readily available to all Members.

Highlighting his particular concern for the least-developed countries, Mr Moore said he wanted to build on the initiative to get duty-free access for all products of export interest to LDCs. He urged the Group of 77 Ministers to send a strong message to the WTO’s forthcoming Ministerial Conference in Seattle supporting this initiative.

Mr. Moore emphasized the contribution to development made by the WTO’s principles of progressive trade liberalization and enforceable rules. They enhance the independence of sovereign states through negotiated agreements reached by consensus among Member governments and agreed by their parliamentary process, and are the best guarantee that consumers and producers have in developed and developing countries, he said.