(Joyce van Genderen-Naar)
I would like to share with you the information on the lunch meeting with WTO DG candidate Mrs. Anabel González, Costa Rica Minister of Foreign Trade. Organized by Friends of Europe in Brussels in a serie of conversations with WTO candidates.
28 February 2013 – luncheon meeting with Costa Rica candidate for WTO DG Mrs. Anabel González
Anabel González is Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, appointed in 2010. In this capacity, she serves as the President’s principal advisor, negotiator and spokesperson on trade and investment policy issues. She currently acts as chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Trade. With experience in both the public and private sector, Minister González has been involved in trade and investment policy matters internationally and domestically for the past twenty years.
Relevant points made by Mrs. Anabel González
a.. She is the candidate of a small country, Costa Rica, compared to the powerful WTO Members and candidates, but has the ability and leadership potential for this post. Also smaller countries could play an important role, referring to the leadership of Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal in EU institutions. Furthermore Costa Rica is a good example of a developing country that diversified its economy, especially services and ITC, and developed in only a few years time from a two commodities exporting country (coffee and bananas) to a country that is exporting now more than 4300 different products to 145 countries.
b.. If elected as WTO Director-General she you would like to contribute to re-energizing the WTO together with the WTO member states.
c.. She would like to see more developing countries benefitting from trade contributing to economic development. 'Trade as opposite of development is a misconception, which needs to be strongly addressed', she said.
d.. Developing countries' share in world trade has grown, but it is still concentrated on a small number of countries and she would like to see the WTO supporting the integration of more countries into the world economy.
e.. DDA: all WTO members stressed that they want to continue, Bali is a very important step, we have to restore the credibility. We should come back to DOHA, but also discuss shorter term agendas, such as trade facilitation, global value chains/manufacturing, trade and investments; it is essential to revitalise and to have these discussions in WTO, the house of trade, she said.
f.. A strong WTO is needed, DOHA had an impact on the credibility. WTO Dispute settlement and Trade capacity building are good, but the negotiation function and monitoring have to be strengthened. Monitoring of Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) is very important for WTO, in order to know what is taking place in the different regions.
g.. Also more monitoring of WTO of negotiations and implementation of FTAs/EPAs and mining/mineral agreements between multinationals and developing countries.
h.. Involvement of Civil Society is very important, and is taking place through the WTO's website and WTO Public Forum, however WTO issues are still too complex and need to be translated at local and regional level. Now it is only depending on knowledge of trade officials. Keep pushing for a strong civil society involvement in trade negotiations, it is a key element to produce good results, she said..
Joyce van Genderen-NAAR,
Brussels Bar Lawyer descending from Suriname, South America
Member of the International Bar Association (IBA)
Member of the World Trade Advisors (WTA)