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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Philippine Mission to the United Nations

Second Committee General Debate
Agenda Item 83 (a) International Trade and Development

59th United Nations General Assembly
New York, 03 November 2004

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me, at the outset, to associate my delegation with the statements by Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as by Indonesia and Australia on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the CAIRNS Group, respectively.

I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on recent developments in the international trading system focusing on the outcome and implications of the UNCTAD XI and the WTO trade negotiations under the Doha work program.

Mr. Chairman,

Several speakers have already stressed the need for the effective implementation of the Sao Paolo Consensus and what we would like to achieve in the Doha Round, including UNCTAD’s role in development cooperation. Allow me to add my delegation’s voice, on some issues critical to our discussions today.

It has been asserted, time and again, that trade is a vital engine of growth as also agreed in the Monterrey Consensus. Trade propels job creation, generates employment and promotes livelihood needed for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and for the improvement of the quality of life of the people around the globe.

It is for this reason, that the Philippines attaches great importance in creating an international trading environment that is open, non-discriminatory, rules-based, and operating on a level playing field. The Philippines believes that addressing coherence between different policies, the observance of policy space and further strengthening the role of UNCTAD would help in this process.

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines believes that countries have the primary responsibility for their own development. But we also recognize the imperatives of global economic processes to be supportive and conducive to national development goals and strategies.

We are also convinced that global economic policy-making requires greater multi-dimensional coherence. This means the Brettonwoods institutions and other international organizations should also align their policies accordingly. While coherence between national economic policies and international economic processes is essential, it is equally important that coherence must be observed by international financial institutions, in their development prescriptions.

Mr. Chairman,

While the Philippines subscribes to the idea that countries have the primary responsibility for their own development, and that a nurturing international environment must complement their efforts, we also join the call in affirming that the one-size-fits-all approach is an anathema to development.

The Philippines has played an active role in the development work of the United Nations, including the Millennium Summit, the International Conference on Financing for Development, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the UNCTAD XI. In these multilateral fora, the Philippines emphasized that the international community must integrate the development dimension of developing countries, particularly with international trade policies. This can only be made possible if developing countries can enjoy adequate policy space relating to their development in such areas as trade, investment, technology, and in other specific sectors.

This abstraction can be better appreciated if it is likened to a corporation whose profit mission is accompanied by an obligation to provide service to the clientele and to the larger community. This is the basic principle of development, a social obligation arising from profit motivation.

Mr. Chairman,

The recently concluded UNCTAD XI re-affirmed UNCTAD’s continuing relevance as a forum of universal membership in which trade and development issues are considered in an integrated and holistic manner. UNCTAD is the only UN body with a clear mandate to undertake this holistic task.

We must continue to support UNCTAD in addressing the deepening globalization, interdependence, and the unfulfilled development commitments. UNCTAD must also continue to support our work in international trade, finance, and other economic and social issues which are increasingly becoming inter-linked, but inadequately addressed in other fora.

Towards this end, the Philippines looks forward to UNCTAD’s important role in providing technical assistance to the capacity-building of developing countries so that they can engage meaningfully and actively in multilateral economic negotiations.

Likewise, UNCTAD should play a major role in bridging the critical link and dynamics between trade, falling under the purview of the WTO, and the different development processes in the UN system. Thus, the UNCTAD must retain its central role in the promotion of multilateral cooperation for development, especially of developing countries.

UNCTAD should also play a complementary role with those of the WTO and other multilateral institutions in various development rounds as the principal arm of the UN in its coordinative dialogue with the IMF, the World Bank and other stakeholders on development issues though the Financing for Development and the ECOSOC high level processes.

Moreover, UNCTAD should undertake further studies and researches on developing and nurturing a framework of development cooperation focusing on the concept of policy space, consistent with the UNCTAD XI and the Sao Paolo Consensus.

On a final note Mr. Chairman, the Philippines welcomes the analytical reports of the Trade and Development Board on the new geography of trade and its implications on the multilateral trading system. Needless to say, we need to take a closer look at the increasing importance of South-South trade and of developing country economies and their impact on global economic decision-making processes.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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