Indonesia Calls for Justice, Transparency in Global Trade

NUSA DUA ~

Indonesia has called for the principles of justice and transparency to be implemented in global trade negotiations to ensure that all parties benefit from any agreement.

“A multilateral trading system will work only if it incorporates the principles of transparency, justice and opportunity,” Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at the opening of the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference which began Tuesday, December 4, 2013 in Nusa Dua, Bali.

He said the liberalization of global trade would benefit all nations.

“Increased multilateral trade could open new opportunities for economic growth. It could create jobs and increase the incomes of workers, as well as benefit consumers, who can purchase more goods at cheaper prices,” he noted.

However, President Yudhoyono reminded delegates to pay attention to weak countries that require support to increase their economic capabilities.

“Helping the weak become strong will benefit all parties and broaden markets. It will improve supply and demand for goods and services and contribute to regional as well as global stability,” he said.

The Indonesian president invited all the participants to contribute their thoughts and further the negotiations.

“It is time to put words to action. We need regulations based on a multilateral trading system that can be adopted by developing and developed countries. Success in Bali will prove that we did not leave the developing countries behind,” he added.

The Indonesian President also has called on all countries to work as partners and reject the North-South approach, which views countries as competitors divided into two groups.

He said that the North (developed countries) is a partner of the South (developing countries) in developing the global economy to make it more inclusive, improve welfare and reduce poverty.

“We must reject the idea of the North against the South, which emphasizes differences rather than mutual goals. Both groups must regard themselves as partners, not competitors,” he noted at the event.

President Yudhoyono said that both the North and South needed each other for global trade.

He noted that in the past 30 years, developing countries have become the main drive of growth in global trade. Developing countries account for half of global trade, up from 34 percent in 1980, he said.

“Global trade needs the participation of all countries,” he added.

He expressed hope that the conference could produce an agreement to revive confidence in the international trading system, in contrast to the deadlock in the Doha Round talks.

“The international trading system is at a critical point in its long and challenging history. Continuing stagnation of trade talks risks the erosion of trust by the business community in our ability to settle negotiations,” he noted.

“We must not let that happen. We have been able to complete several difficult tasks. We are close to accomplishing an historic achievement. We should take this opportunity to rebuild trust and credibility in this valuable trade negotiation forum,” the president urged.

He noted that trade is an important economic component in efforts to reduce poverty.

He added that in the past 30 years, improvements have been made in the standards of living and welfare of people in various regions, although several people continue to live in poverty.

Indonesia is hoping that the Bali Package will be discussed at the upcoming 9th World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting and will be agreed upon by all members.

“If the whole package is accepted, it will be a phenomenal success after 12 years,” Indonesia’s Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said on Friday.

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