Trade Organization Symposium on Issues Confronting the World Trade System
WTO Headquarters, Geneva, 6-7 July 2001
|Photos and RealAudio from Friday, 6 July - Opening Plenary|
|Other pages: July 6 PM: Work session #1 and Reception - July 7 AM: work session #2 - July 7 PM (Closing Plenary)|
Alimata Traore, Minister for Industry, Trade and Transport of
Mali, opened the Symposium and welcomed participants. Recognizing
trade as the motor of economic growth, she cautioned that developing
countries and LDCs are at risk of being left at the sidelines.
She said all stakeholders should be involved in the debate on
the future of the world trading system, and underscored that
NGOs can contribute to a more equitable and fair system.
Director-General, welcomed participants and said the Symposium
should be made a permanent event. Welcoming more scrutiny of
the WTO, especially through the debate on globalization, he
called for greater engagement with civil society at the national
level as well. He stressed the need to discuss the mandate of
international organizations, noting that the WTO cannot be expected
to cover everything.
from the balcony of the main meeting room
Lamy, EU Commissioner for Trade, described the history of the
relationship between the WTO and NGOs, noting that issues related
to environmental regulation, labor standards and consumer protection
are not new, and that NGOs should contribute to the debate.
Hirsch, President of World Vision
International, described obstacles developing countries face
in trade negotiations. Questioning whether freer trade promotes
development, he pointed out studies indicating that in many cases,
today's strongest economies initially developed through the use
of policies that are now illegal under WTO rules.
Listen to Hirsch's presentation
Serra, President, Serra Associates and former Minister of Trade
of Mexico, stressed exports as the most important engine of
growth in emerging economies. He highlighted the relationship
between trade and environmental and labor protection, arguing
that as income sufficiently increases, so do environmental standards
and as the volume of exports increases, so do labor standards
and compliance. Therefore, trade sanctions would end up hurting
rather than helping the environment and labor.
Soros, Chairman of the Soros Fund Management and the Open
Society Institute, noted that although the WTO is in many
ways the most advanced and fully developed international institution,
its detractors have valid criticisms. He observed that free trade
and markets can only produce private wealth, and are not designed
to serve other objectives such as human rights or environmental
Listen to Soros' presentation
|View from the stage|
The dias, from left to right: Soros, Lamy, Moore, Traore, Alan Frank (Director of External Relations, WTO), Hirsch and Serra.
|Go to: July 6 PM: Work session #1 and Reception - July 7 AM: work session #2 - July 7 PM (Closing Plenary)|
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