Organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union
Geneva, 8 and 9 June 2001


We believe that globalisation brings both opportunities and challenges to all countries and peoples. To attain benefits for countries and regions of different levels of development, however, international trade - like international financial and economic arrangements - must be designed to promote human welfare everywhere and preserve cultural diversity.

The focus must be on people-centred development. This concept includes increased market access for the exports of developing countries, and greater scope for debt reduction allied with increased development assistance and better access to technology; it must be built upon an equitable world trading regime and sound international financial institutions. There is also a need to ensure that trade rules and practices do not undermine sustainable development goals.

From these perspectives, we are committed to strengthening the rules-based world trading regime with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its centre; access to WTO should be open to new members on a non-discriminatory basis in order to achieve universal membership. We hope to see the resolution of outstanding implementation issues from the Uruguay Round and greater focus on development in future trade negotiations.

This task falls to governments. It is they who negotiate international trade rules and arrangements on behalf of States. Concurrently, it is the duty of Parliaments to scrutinise government action in this as in other fields and to enact appropriate legislation. As the legitimate representatives of the people who have been elected to protect their interests and represent their views and aspirations, we are entirely committed to carrying out these responsibilities to the full.

To this end, we need to intensify our activities in national parliaments to oversee and influence government policy in relation to trade negotiations. At the international level, we need to complement these activities by meeting to obtain and share information, exchange views and experiences and discuss the structure, working methods and issues facing governments at the WTO.

We call on the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to work with other parliamentary assemblies and organisations in assisting us to meet these challenges. We invite the IPU to hold a parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference and to present plans for a programme of activities which, on the above basis, seeks to build a parliamentary dimension to international trade negotiations and arrangements.

See also:

pointSummary of the Debate by the Chair
pointOther documents of the Meeting

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