To: Members of the NGO community

From: Martin Khor, Director, Third World Network ( )

Date: 29 March 1999

Dear friends,

The WTO organised two High-Level Symposia, the first on Trade and Environment (on 15-16 March 1999) and the second on Trade and Development (17-18 March).

At the Trade and Development symposium, there was an unfortunate incident when the chairman (Paul Collier, Director, Development Research Group, the World Bank) of the first panel (on "Linkages between trade and development policies") on 17 March made some insulting remarks directed at African countries and developing countries, as well as NGOs. These remarks were made at the conclusion of the session, as a kind of Chairman's closing statement, and thus participants had no opportunity to respond.

As a result, many NGO representatives who were present prepared a joint statement and distributed this to participants on 18 March. A presentation of the summary of the statement was presented by me on behalf of Third World Network to the plenary meeting on 18 March.

A report of the panel discussion including the incident was published in the SUNS (South-North Development Monitor) of 19 March 1999.

Mr Collier subsequently sent a letter of apology (dated 19 March) addressed to me.

He has requested that this be circulated to NGOs who signed the statement.

I have replied to Mr Collier through a letter dated 29 March.

For your information we are attaching :

(1) Mr Collier's letter of apology dated 19 March.

(2) Martin Khor's reply to this letter dated 29 March.

(3) The joint NGO statement with the list of NGOs associated with it.

(4) The report in the SUNS on the WTO Symposium (19 March).

We would be grateful if you could circulate this to interested parties.

Any comments you may have on this matter would be appreciated.

With best regards,

Martin Khor (Third World Network).