Opening Remarks Bv Dr. Enrique Lagos, Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs, Organization of the American States, on the Occasion of the International Gathering of Experts on the Role of Legal Institutions in the Economic Development of the Americas

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Washington, D.C. October 15 and 16, 1998

Dean Judith Areen, Distinguished Panelists, Members of the Faculty and Honored Guests:

On behalf of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, I am pleased to welcome you to the opening of The Role of Legal Institutions in the Economic Development of the Americas.

This conference is the first joint initiative between the Georgetown University Law Center and the OAS, and I hope it serves as a basis for our two organizations to continue a dialogue concerning the legal development of the hemisphere.

As Secretary for Legal Affairs, I feel it is important that the OAS work closely with institutions in the region to develop programs and initiatives which promote practical research, discussions on pertinent legal topics, and the strengthening of the rule of law.

This conference will examine how the various legal institutions in the region have responded to the challenges of the free market model. As the nations of the Americas have more closely integrated themselves into the world economy, serious questions have emerged concerning the role of the regulatory state, the need for judicial modernization, and the desire to promote transparency in markets and in government.

This international gathering brings together an esteemed group of experts to examine these issues in detail. The current crisis in the global marketplace requires new and innovative approaches from all sectors to respond effectively to this challenge. Domestic institutions and international organizations have an important role to play in restoring market confidence by ensuring that an adequate framework exists to protect both the individual investor and the national interest. …