Multilateral Trading System Should Respond to the Ever-Changing Global Economy by Keeping Development at its Centre

July 09, 2013, Geneva

"There are parallels between the evolution of CUTS and the growth of the multilateral trading system over the last thirty years, in their quest to develop truly global organisations that are open to organic growth, reflecting the ever-changing global economy" said Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) today at the CUTS 30th Anniversary Event held at the margins of the fourth global review of Aid for Trade.

Mr Lamy gave an account of the major evolutions of the multilateral trading system over the past three decades, including a number of significant shifts in the nature of trade, in the scope of trade negotiations and changes in the negotiating dynamics between trading nations.

"Today, nobody would think that an agreement between the quad of the 80's would be sufficient to conclude a deal. The LDC group has gained a lot of power and they now have common and well-researched positions which have helped to place their agenda at the fore of negotiations."

CUTS being one of the most prominent global advocates of the relationship between trade and competition law and policy, and public welfare, Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General of UNCTAD, the other speaker, stressed that emerging markets which have successfully adopted the market economy did so concurrently with the creation of strong competition regimes.

Both Lamy and Supachai spoke about CUTS and the cooperation that it has enjoyed by the WTO and UNCTAD and the joint activities that have been conducted in seeking fair and free trade.

In his introductory remarks, Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS explained that the 30th anniversary lectures as today's are being organised in several global capitals before introducing a short film giving an account of CUTS' history since its modest beginnings in Rajasthan, India.

The event was chaired by Frederic Jenny, Professor of Economics at ESSEC Business School, Paris, who recalled that competition rules were first introduced into trade agreements before becoming an international issue in their own right.

In the Q&A session, participants raised many interesting questions, including the need for international competition rules, better policy coherence among international organisations to promote multilateralism, and that the system needs to be focused on creating jobs and thus reducing poverty.

For further information please contact:

Julien Grollier, +41 (0)22 734 60 80, jg@cuts.org