WTO Director-General Remarks On Elimination Of Quotas

WTO Director-GeneralRemarks On Elimination Of Quotas

At the 117th and final meeting of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Textiles Monitoring Body in Switzerland in December,WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi made a special appearance and commented on the elimination of all textile trade restrictions under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) in 2005.Panitchpakdi said the end of quotas “will mark an important milestone in the development of international trade relations.“ He said the expiry of the 10-year transition period of ATC implementation will put an end to a special and discriminatory regime that has lasted for more than 40 years. However, he also noted that ATC implementation has been far from being non-controversial. “What really matters today, is that against the background of often heated, lengthy and inconclusive debate, implementation, in overall terms, is on track,” he said. He reminded WTO member nations that implementation of the ATC could not have been achieved without continuous structural adjustment in both importing and exporting markets. More importantly, he said, the need for further adjustment will continue after the expiration of the ATC and must be made by all members.

Supachai Panitchpakdi“Concerns recently echoed in this regard, in particular by least-developed country members, can probably be best responded to by institutions that can make appropriate means available with a view to reducing the burden of the adjustment costs for those affected,” he said.In conclusion, he offered optimism regarding the future of international textiles and clothing trade.” All in all, the elimination of the trade-distorting quantitative restrictions that are still in place will be beneficial for the global economy in terms of increased market access opportunities, efficiency gains and consumer welfare,” he said.
January/February 2005