Mr. President, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In June 2004, Ministers of member-states of the Agreement on the Global System of Trade Preferences Among Developing Countries, better known as 'GSTP,' met on the occasion of the Eleventh Conference of UNCTAD in Sao Paulo, Brazil and launched the third round of GSTP negotiations.
In the Sao Paulo Declaration launching the round, the Ministers recognized the need for concerted action to harness the enormous potential of the GSTP Agreement in promoting and expanding trade among developing countries. They also reiterated their commitment to promote and sustain mutual trade, and to further economic cooperation through the exchange of concessions within the framework of the Agreement.
Since this is my first intervention under your Presidency, let me take this opportunity to extend our sincere congratulations on your assumption of this important responsibility. We also join other delegations to request you to convey sincere condolences on behalf of Sri Lanka to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragic accident in Katowice.
Your Presidency offers a unique opportunity since your country Poland has experience and understanding of the aspirations and sensitivities across the regional groups. Moreover, the Polish Presidency comes at a crucial time. As you mentioned in your opening statement our current situation is one of serious frustration and quests for alternative approaches to get the CD back to work. We must also be mindful of the management reforms currently being processed in New York, which will bring new pressures to further reduce the resources allocated to the CD for reasons of the impasse in this body. During this year, considering what is at stake, all of us in the CD bear a special responsibility to engage, each other and our capitals, using all the creativity, flexibility and political will evoked by many delegations, to assure a healthy continuity of this unique body.
* The author is the Permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the WTO. However the views expressed in this paper are personal to the author and should not be necessarily attributed to the Government of Sri Lanka.
1. Political support for the WTO approach to a rule-structured world trade in an environment of growing bilateral and regional trade agreements.
In an environment where growing bilateral and regional trade agreements are increasing rapidly in numbers and significance, prevailing trends indicate, that the political support for the multilateral trading system and the WTO is not adequate enough. Though both Developed and Developing Countries are actively pursuing bilateral and regional arrangements, the major threat to the multilateralism stems from the initiatives undertaken by the Developed Countries, particularly by the two major trading powers.