Although the talks at the 5th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Cancun, Mexico have collapsed, government and business representatives called today for a continuation of global trade negotiations at WTO headquarters in Geneva. Minister of Commerce Dr. Hashim Yamani addressed the conference on Saturday, and expressed the Kingdom's belief in the principles of the multilateral trading system enshrined in the rule-based system of the WTO, principles which the Kingdom has followed for many years in the formulation and conduct of its trade policies. In pursuance of this policy of openness and interdependence, Saudi Arabia has been actively advancing its accession to the WTO and has made considerable progress through concluding a number of bilateral market access agreements, and through an economic reform program that highlights the role of the private sector.
As for the developing world, Dr. Yamani stated: "Saudi Arabia has followed with keen interest the negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda. We share the widespread perception of developing countries that the progress of negotiations is not satisfactory where their interests have not occupied the center stage they deserve. This perception needs to be removed by taking major decisions at this conference so that the negotiations result in increased opportunities and greater share for developing countries in the growth of world trade. We, collectively, have a responsibility to ensure that the promises that were made at Doha in November 2001 are translated into concrete results when the negotiations conclude on January 1, 2005."