UN official calls for full Asian-Pacific participation in world trade forum

31 March 2003

Making a plea for multilateral cooperation, a senior United Nations official today called for full membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) by Asian and Pacific states that had yet to join.

UN peace, development, and confidence-building work is complementary to and supportive of multilateral cooperation in trade under the WTO system, Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said in his inaugural address at a WTO/UNESCAP meeting in Beijing.

The two-week meeting brings together more than 20 of the top trade negotiators from the ESCAP region.

One important action is ensuring universal membership to the WTO, Mr. Kim said. More than half of ESCAP’s membership had yet to gain membership to the trade forum, which continued to be an issue of major concern, he said. “UNESCAP is firmly committed to continue to build on this work as effective participation in WTO liberalization processes is a key component of managing globalization more effectively,” he added.

In order for trade, development and peace to flourish in today’s troubled world, actions must centre on cooperation and persuasion, Mr. Kim said. There is a clear need to re-establish the primacy of multilateral cooperation as embodied in the United Nations charter.

Referring to the November 2001 declaration of the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, which provides the mandate for negotiations on a range of subjects, he said: “Instead of asking, ‘What can the WTO Doha Development Agenda do for us?’ the more pertinent question is: What can we do for the WTO Doha Development Agenda to work for us? What is the role that each of us has to play in pursuit of trade and development?”

 

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