Civil society groups worldwide say ‘No more Moore’

Director-General of WTO is least suitable person for chairperson of Trade Negotiating Committee

NGOs and social movements attending a post-Doha meeting on the WTO at Brussels on 7-9 December have opposed the possible candidature of the WTO Director-General as the Chairman of the powerful Trade Negotiations Committee that will be established in January to oversee the negotiations mandated at Doha.

In a joint statement, the groups have called Moore the ‘least suitable’ candidate because of his partisan role as D-G in favour of one set of countries against others. The statement follows.

FOLLOWING the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, an imminent development in the WTO in Geneva is the establishment of a Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) and the appointment of its Chairperson. The TNC (which was established in Doha through a manipulative and undemocratic process) will be a powerful body overseeing and coordinating the negotiations and other discussions decided on at Doha. Its chairperson will thus have immense influence on the negotiations.

According to sources in Geneva and in several capitals, there is a move by some governments to nominate WTO Director-General, Mr Mike Moore, as the TNC Chairman. We the undersigned civil society organisations are strongly opposed to such a move.

Firstly, as Director-General, Mr Moore should not be involved in negotiations which should remain the domain of the member states. The WTO Secretariat should be neutral in servicing negotiations which are certain to be contentious in many areas; its Director-General should not lead the negotiations, especially in a supposedly member-driven organisation.

Secondly, Mr Moore’s term as Director-General is ending in August/September 2002, in line with the decision in the controversial fight for the Director-General’s post in 1999, in which Mr Supachai of Thailand will succeed him after three years of a normal six-year term. If Mr Moore is appointed TNC Chairman and remains in the post beyond his term as Director-General, this would result in a most disturbing situation where Mr Moore will continue to hold the powerful position of TNC chair and his successor as Director-General would be deprived of authority including the servicing of negotiations.

Extremely partisan

Thirdly and most importantly, Mr Moore has a record of being extremely partisan and manipulative as WTO Director-General and this disqualifies him as a candidate for TNC Chairman. Instead of playing the role as an international civil servant, which has to be neutral and seen to be neutral on substantive issues and in processes of negotiations and decision-making, Mr Mike Moore has proved to be extremely partisan on behalf of one set of countries (which include the major developed countries) at the expense of many other countries (including a great number of developing countries), especially in the recent Doha Conference and in the many months leading to it. In particular, Mr Mike Moore has been strongly campaigning for a New Round with negotiations on new issues such as investment and competition, when a majority of developing countries had been against this.

In the months before Doha and at Doha, Mr Moore played a pivotal role in a shameful process of manipulation, non-transparency and application of pressure. These disgraceful tactics included the refusal to include the views of many developing countries in successive texts of the Ministerial Declaration (resulting in increasingly one-sided texts) and the holding of non-inclusive ‘Green Room’ meetings (to which only a few countries were invited).

Disrepute and shame

By this behaviour, Mr Moore has brought disrepute and shame to the reputation of the WTO Secretariat as a discriminatory and partisan and undemocratic body that promotes the interests of rich countries against those of developing countries.

We therefore urge all member states of WTO to strongly reject any proposal to appoint Mr Moore as Chairman of the TNC. Instead, his previous behaviour should be censured and he should be directed not to continue his partisan behaviour in the remaining period of his term.    

Click here for list of signatories.