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Tuesday, February 15, 2000, updated at 16:27(GMT+8)
World Multilateral Trading System Should be Reformed

The multilateral system must be reformed and developing countries should play a greater role in formulating the international trade system, a senior Chinese official said at the 10th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD X) Sunday.

"The lesson from the Seattle meeting is that agenda items that are closely linked with the interests of developing countries must be fully considered in any new round of negotiations and a balanced agenda is the very first step for the success of new negotiations," said Zhou Keren, head of the Chinese delegation to the current UNCTAD conference.

The Chinese delegations holds that the new multilateral trade negotiations should have a starting point, which should be "development," said Zhou, who is also Chinese deputy minister of trade and economic cooperation.

Without economic development, he added, attractive markets cannot be formed and market-opening will have no real commercial value.

He said the Chinese delegation believes that any new round of multilateral trade negotiations should be "a round of development."

Globalization should be an effective tool for the development of all the countries and peoples of the world, he said.

"The Chinese delegation holds that economic globalization is a necessary outcome of the fast growth of the world economy and science and technology, a development trend that countries of the world have to face," the Chinese deputy trade minister said.

However, economic globalization is a "double-edged sword," he said, noting that while providing opportunities for mankind's prosperity and development, it will inevitably bring about severe challenges and risks.

Calling for a reform for the existing international economic system, Zhou said the world needs a sound and effective international financial system and a "fair, safe, non-discriminatory and predictable" multilateral trading system.

"Developing countries should keep a sober mind and take effective measures to face up to the challenges and risks posed by economic globalization and actively participate in the reform of international economic system," Zhou noted.

He urged the developed countries, as the biggest beneficiary of economic globalization, to shoulder more responsibility and obligation in this area.

Along with the constant development of the globalization trend, there is increasing economic interdependence and mutual influence among countries of the world, Zhou said, adding that the developing countries need a sound international environment and help from the international community under such circumstances.

He also urged all members of the international community to conduct extensive and effective international coordination and cooperation.

"We hope that in the new century, the international community can formulate new comprehensive development for developing countries, ensure sufficient development funds for them and promote investment and technology transfer to developing countries," Zhou said.

UNCTAD X opened on Saturday and will last till February 19. During the meeting, participants are expected to address the broad theme of "applying the lessons of the past to make globalization an effective instrument for the development of all countries and of all peoples."

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