On the eve of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Doha, Qatar, November 9–13, IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler and World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn issued the following statement:
“We urge trade ministers meeting in Doha to seize this opportunity to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations, one that is inspired by a desire to use trade as an engine for global economic growth and poverty reduction.
“At this critical juncture for the world economy, a strong commitment to continue opening world markets will provide a much-needed boost to market confidence and global growth prospects. Such a commitment will also send a clear signal that governments reject trade restriction and protectionism and see it as particularly damaging in current circumstances.
“We welcome the intention to place the needs and interests of developing countries at the heart of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) work program. International trade has a vital role to play in promoting economic development and reducing poverty. Providing the poorest countries with unrestricted market access, including for their agricultural and textiles and clothing exports, would be a decisive breakthrough in the fight against poverty.
“We pledge that the IMF and the World Bank, in their respective areas of competence, will continue to support the efforts of developing countries, particularly the poorest, to integrate more deeply into the global economy. In particular, our institutions are devoting increased attention to a large agenda, complementary to the work of the WTO, which includes strengthening countries’ capacity to negotiate and implement agreements, improve the investment climate, and reduce internal impediments to trade. Our aims are to support development of a trading system that works for the benefit of all and to help the poorest countries adopt development strategies that use trade as a mainspring for growth.”
The full text of this statement, released as IMF News Brief 01/111, is available on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).