UN calls on World Trade Organization to deliver on development promises

A new report from Mr. Annan to the General Assembly says a series of United Nations and UN-affiliated meetings have concluded that liberalization of trade in goods and services of export interest to developing countries can generate additional financing for development of up to $310 billion annually.Trade, therefore, can be a dynamically positive force in promoting development and reducing poverty, it says.The world body, including the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), remain committed to supporting developing countries in their beneficial integration into the international trading system and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it says.The negotiations started at WTO’s Fourth Ministerial Conference, held in Doha from 9 to 13 November 2001, have been taking place against the backdrop of trade’s increasing role in and contribution to economic growth and development, the report says. The exports of developing countries, especially in Asia, grew faster than total world exports, which expanded by 20 per cent between 1990 and 2004. In another report on the follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development, Mr. Annan says if the commitments made at Monterrey in 2002 continue to be fulfilled, the ratio of overseas development assistance (ODA) could rise to 0.3 per cent of gross national income (GNI) next year from a historical low of just over 0.2 per cent at the time the Monterrey Consensus was reached.For years the UN General Assembly has pegged the ideal ODA at 0.7 per cent of GNI. read more