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Annan Says WTO Talks Achieved Limited Gains

Annan: Hong Kong Trade Talks Secured Only Limited Gains For Development

Recognizing that there were still “unrealized ambitions” in the arena of fair trade, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today congratulated those World Trade Organization (WTO) participants who negotiated on behalf of the developing countries to secure limited gains at the Hong Kong meeting that ended Sunday.

“These gains, if fully implemented, should bring improved opportunities for some of the world’s poorest people to trade their way out of poverty,” said a UN spokesman through a statement released at today’s daily briefing.

He said that Mr. Annan also recognized the effort made by the WTO Director-General, Pascal Lamy, to maintain the focus of the Doha Round, which is meant to restructure world trade policy in favour of development in poorer countries.

However, he said the Secretary-General also notes that the ambitions set out four years ago in Doha have note been realized, and that a real effort of political will is required from all parties in 2006 if these negotiations are to deserve to be called a “Development Round.”

“He recalls that trade is no less important than aid for successful development, and that without open markets and fair competition few countries will have a real chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015,” the spokesman said, referring to the targets for reducing extreme poverty and other ills set at the 2000 World Summit.

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