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“Our objective is to establish a more level playing field, provide developing countries with better conditions, and enable them to reap the benefits of opening trade.” – Pascal Lamy, Director General of WTO
World Trade Organization is committed “to ensure that the benefits of globalization are more widely and fairly shared by more people especially those from developing countries,” states Pascal Lamy, director general of WTO, during the Globalization Lecture Series on September 19, 2007, a regular program of the AIM Policy Center, and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung..
The negotiations, according to Lamy, are now centered on “correcting the remaining imbalances in trade rules.” He explains how globalization also has its disadvantages. The benefits of globalization do not seem to reach ALL people and this is the reason why globalization, which is seen by many as a positive, is also seen by some as unfair. He believes one of the most important challenges of this generation and the next generation is to ensure that the benefits of globalization are more widely and more fairly shared, and, in particular, that they reach more people in developing countries.
The outspoken director-general said these advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of having an international trading to serve as an arbiter for trade disputes among countries. “We offer a forum where all the actors are equal, because we take decisions by consensus, and we offer a system for monitoring the commitments which our members take vis-à-vis each other, and on top of that, specific dispute settlement,” Lamy said.
Among other issues, this new round of trade negotiations seeks to address tariff peaks, high tariff and the tariff escalations remaining in developed countries, which were usually applied on productions where developing countries had a comparative advantage such as textile or footwear. In agriculture, agreements were already made to deliver effective guards in trade-distorting agricultural subsidies in developed countries.
At the same time, developing countries will also have acquired the right to protect a number of specific sensitivities, notably in agriculture, in what the WTO calls special products in the criteria of food security, in livelihood security and the whole development. An example where this can be used is to protect farming economies of developing countries from damaging import surges.
The head of the world’s most powerful trade body discussed before AIM professors, students, and guests the current state of trade negotiations among its 139 member nations. His speech was followed by a lively debate. This series serves as a venue for discussion among international and local experts, government leaders and policy makers on global issues.