World Trade Organization Symposium on Issues Confronting the World Trade System
WTO Headquarters, Geneva, 6-7 July 2001

Photos and RealAudio from Friday, 6 July - Work session #1 and Reception
Other pages: July 6 AM: Opening Plenary - July 7 AM: work session #2 - July 7 PM (Closing Plenary)
   
On this page: Agriculture - TRIPS: essential medicines - Trade and Environment - Civil Society - Reception
   
Agriculture - Issues and Negotiations

Timo Huhtaniemi, Ambassador of Finland to the WTO and moderator of the session, gave an overview of the role of agriculture in the WTO, noting that the results of the Uruguay round have not pleased all parties. He said the effects of the WTO on agriculture cannot be separated out from others, such as policy shifts due to domestic reasons.
Listen to Huhtaniemi's introduction

Magdi Farahat, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the WTO, stressed that while billions of people in developing countries living in poverty, subsidies worth one billion dollars now flow to agriculture in the North. He said agriculture cannot be considered to be integrated into the multilateral trading system, which contains more loopholes than it covers.
Listen to Farahat's presentation
Risto Volanen, COPA-COGENA, highlighted the situation of seven million European farmers, noting tensions between pressures to produce food efficiently and cheaply on the one hand, and to take environmental issues into consideration on the other. He stressed the need to make use of both markets and government policy, and underscored the multifunctional nature of agriculture.Listen to Volanen's presentation
Lyall Howard, National Farmers' Federation, Australia, highlighted challenges with regard to global poverty alleviation and the need for agricultural output to double within 50 years through improved productivity. On the involvement of NGOs in the work of the WTO, he called for criteria placed on NGOs with regard to good governance to ensure their legitimacy.
Listen to Howard's presentation
TRIPS - Access to essential medicines
Adrian Otten, Director, WTO Intellectual Property Division, stated that the core issues of TRIPs and access to essential medicines are how to meet the public health goal of providing incentives for research and development into new drugs, and how to maximize access to existing drugs in the poorest countries. He outlined recent developments in the WTO regarding the question of TRIPs and access to medicines.
Listen to Otten's introduction
Carlos Correa, Professor, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, outlined the evolution of intellectual property regulations, highlighting the universalization of pharmaceutical drug patents. He explained that patents are intended as a mechanism so firms can recover the costs of research and development, and that although price is an important factor determining access to medicines, other factors include distribution systems, pharmacies, and education of the population.
Listen to Correa's presentation
Jeffrey Kushan, Lawyer, Powell, Goldstein, Frazer and Murphy (USA), underscored that the TRIPs agreement is not a public health agreement. He discussed the pharmaceutical industry, including the process by which new drugs are brought to the market, and explained that market exclusivity - the sole right for a firm to market a drug for a certain amount of time - is essential as an incentive for product development and to capture revenues.
Listen to Kushan's presentation
Trade and Environment
David Runnalls, President of IISD, explained that work on trade and environment was still necessary after many years of research because: there is still debate over whether or not environment belongs on the WTO agenda; there is a strong suspicion in the South that the North will use environmentalism as "green protectionism"; and suspicion regarding accessibility and transparency of the WTO and its "real intentions."
Listen to Runnall's introduction
Sitanon Jesdapipat, Associate Professor, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, described issues relating to MEAs and the WTO, stating that the main problem is the use of environment-related unilateral measures that end up going to the dispute settlement body. He identified future challenges, such as exclusions that might result in fungibility of flexible measures under the Kyoto Protocol; and "free riders."
Listen to Jesdapipat's presentation
Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Head of the Department of International Law, University of Geneva, Switzerland distinguished between the two different types of process and production methods (PPMs): product-related PPMs, which are generally not a controversial trade issue; and non-product-related PPMs, which refer to the environmental aspects of process and production
Listen to Boisson de Chazournes' presentation
David Schorr, Director, Sustainable Commerce Programme, WWF-US, pointed out that eco-labelling, "green" government procurement, and recent challenges under the NAFTA Investor-State Provision (Chapter 11) have highlighted the tensions between trade and the environment. Stressing the importance of "win-win-win" solutions to trade and environment issues, he described environmental problems caused by the heavy subsidization of the fisheries sector worldwide.
Listen to Schorr's presentation
Services - Regularization and liberalization under GATS 
 
B.K. Zutshi, former Indian Ambassador to the WTO, highlighted the question of whether the GATS agreement constrains members' freedom to regulate, how and to what extent? He noted that regulating services is aimed at addressing issues of market failure, public concerns and consumer interest. He said GATS explicitly recognizes members' right to regulate and even re-regulate, which is unrestrained with the exception of obligations in terms of notification and "reasonable" application.
Listen to Zutshi's introduction

Julian Arkall, International Trade and Services Policy, highlighted the policy context of the GATS agreement, noting the preamble contains the objectives of the promotion of economic growth of all trading parties and development of developing country parties, and provides for due respect to national policy objectives and the recognition of the right to regulate. He said the interaction of regulation and liberalization is the central issue of the GATS.
Listen to Arkell's presentation
   
WTO & Civil Society: role of NGOs in capacity building and in WTO institutional reform
Moderator Sylvia Ostry, University of Toronto, noted the new, complex world trading system that has emerged since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round and its far reaching implications at the national level. She highlighted the asymmetry between the North and the South in terms of capacity to manage the situation. On WTO institutional reform, Ostry noted that buffers no longer exist between international trade rules and the domestic policy space.
Tetteh Hormeku, Third World Network, Africa Secretariat, stressed that the problems related to the WTO are fundamental, and the institution is experiencing a crises of legitimacy as signaled in Seattle. He noted that trade rules are becoming the context for domestic policy development, and criticized the WTO as being nontransparent and undemocratic, as in reality, most decision are being worked out in closed informal meetings which are dominated by a few rich countries.
John Bunzl, director and founder of the International Simultaneous Policy Organization, explained that the objective of his organization is a sustainable global economy, economic, environmental and social cooperation between nations. In order to achieve the objective, he proposed the "simultaneous policy," under which capital markets and transnational corporations would be re-regulated, global taxes on markets, corporations and resources introduced, and revenues redistributed to fund sustainable development in the poorest countries on a debt-free basis.

Evening Reception

Scenes from the WTO-sponsored reception held in the lobby of the new conference facility

 

   
Go to: July 6 AM: Opening Plenary - July 7 AM: work session #2 - July 7 PM (Closing Plenary)
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