Trade rules after Seattle:
A business perspective
Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce
Maria Livanos Cattaui
Despite the damaging setback at Seattle in 1999, world business continues to urge that the launch of a new broad-based round of multilateral trade negotiations under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO) must be a top priority on the international economic agenda. A start has already been made with new negotiations on trade in services and agriculture, as mandated by the Uruguay Round. These must be advanced expeditiously, and expanded at an early date to cover a significantly broader trade agenda to improve the prospects of achieving a balanced result that all WTO members can subscribe to. It is the responsibility of the powerful countries to give leadership and impetus to this task, and to communicate more effectively to their general publics the benefits of trade and investment liberalization.
Globalization is presenting great challenges as well as great opportunities to societies the world over. Sound multilateral rules for the worldwide marketplace are vital to ensure the smooth functioning and good management of globalization. Markets, like freedom, work well only within a suitable framework of rules. It is the task of governments, with the help of business, to cooperate closely to find the balance between freedom and rules that maximizes the scope for business to create wealth and employment.