Vatican Appeals to WTO to Promote Development Through Fair Trade

Note Published as Qatar Conference Nears

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 1, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican wants the upcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting to focus on how to promote development through fair trade.



The request, addressed in a "Note" entitled "Development Dimensions of the World Trade Organization," was published this week by the Vatican Press Office.

The note came as preparations are being completed for the WTO´s ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar, set for Nov. 9-13.

The note begins: "In the current situation, the policies of the WTO influence the possibilities of developing countries to guarantee their populations, especially the poor, a lasting economic and human progress.

"Diverse parties hope that this Ministerial Conference will place the dimension of development at the center of the reflections of the WTO and its members. In particular it is hoped that the Ministerial Conference will offer a new impetus for developing a multilateral system of trade that is more equitable and participatory."

The document continues: "Having as its starting point the important ethical principle enunciated by His Holiness John Paul II, in the encyclical ´Centesimus Annus,´ in which he affirms that ´the economy is only one aspect and one dimension of complex human activity´, (the Note) proposes several indications which urge that the policies of liberalization of international trade be better placed at the service of the dignity of the human person and the constitution of a true family among nations, founded on solidarity."

The Vatican Note focuses on eight points: unsatisfactory progress of poorest countries; WTO´s development framework; elimination of trade-distorting protections; consistent development policies for developing countries; implementation and technical assistance; intellectual property; increased transparency; and a broader development agenda.

The Vatican note was distributed to WTO authorities, to all Holy See missions accredited to the United Nations in Geneva, and to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.