Opening Remarks by Minister for Foreign Affairs Republic of Indonesia at the National Workshop on the Progress of the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPs Agreement, Jakarta, 21 February 2007


Opening Remarks By Minister for Foreign Affairs Republic of Indonesia At the National Workshop on the Progress of The Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPs Agreement Jakarta, 21 February 2007

Your Excellency Minister of Trade Marie Pangestu,

Director General Pascal Lamy,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honor and pleasure for me to welcome Director General Pascal Lamy of the WTO to Indonesia. There is nobody else in the world who can discuss with greater authority the subject of this national workshop, “The Progress of the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPs Agreement.”

I should also like to welcome all participants to this workshop. Your presence here today reflects the great interest of the people of Indonesia in getting to know and understand the issues about trade liberalization and their impact on our national development.

This national workshop has been organized by WTO Forum Indonesia in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Trade, and the WTO Secretariat—in conjunction with the observance of the fourth anniversary of the Forum. I cannot think of a more fitting way to celebrate the event.

The WTO Forum Indonesia was established on 5 February 2003 on the initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Since then, it has served as an effective vehicle for the interaction and exchange of views among stakeholders on various issues related to international trade and economic liberalization.

The Forum has also provided valuable inputs and policy recommendations to the Government on the ongoing Doha Development Agenda negotiations. The various publications of the Forum have greatly helped promote public knowledge and understanding of the work of the WTO and the issues that it is dealing with. We, therefore, commend and congratulate the WTO Forum for the good job that it is doing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is no doubt that today trade and economic liberalization are the main drivers of economic growth and globalization. Whether we like it or not, global trade is a reality that has a profound impact on our lives. It has made relationships between states more dynamic as national borders become more porous by the day. The political, economic and social aspects of interstate relations are becoming even more intimately intertwined. What used to be purely global issues have also become domestic concerns. They have become intermestic.

For instance, on the whole the world economy today has never been more robust and this is attributed to globalization as driven by trade and economic liberalization. But even in the countries that have benefited from globalization, there are pockets of poverty where people are not able to avail themselves of the advantages of globalization. And when a person loses his job because it can be done more cheaply in another continent, then what was earlier only an intermestic issue has become a personal one.

In a globalized situation, there are winners and losers and the winners tend to keep on winning as they rise from strength to strength, while the losers tend to keep on losing as they battle the inertia of their disadvantages. Thus, the gap between the rich and the poor gets wider by the day.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that world leaders agreed on at the turn of the century, and the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) that was launched in 2001 were aimed at bridging that gap. Seven years have passed, yet we are not certain of achieving these goals. There is no guarantee that the commitments attendant to the success of the Doha Development Agenda will be met.

We do still have a window of opportunity for salvaging the Doha Development Agenda, since negotiations resumed earlier this month. Let us hope that this final opportunity for a development-oriented global trade regime will not go to waste.

Let us hope that all of us the international community will rise to the challenge. We in Indonesia will do our part. We will work with all negotiators to ensure that trade liberalization and globalization positively contribute to the cause of development. We will work so that development remains at the center of the negotiations and outcome.

The process of liberalization through the DDA will never be separated from our national economic development agenda. We will vigorously pursue our national interest; but we are also prepared to exercise flexibility in order to accommodate the interest of trading partners—because that, too, is a matter of long-term interest for Indonesia.

Meanwhile we will continue to bridge our own capacity and knowledge gap—the bane of all developing countries. It is precisely this gap that is preventing the developing world from reaping the benefits of liberalization.

We will do whatever it takes to close this gap. This national workshop, a valuable contribution of WTO Forum Indonesia and the WTO Secretariat, should be seen as part of a general effort to increase the sum total of the country’s capacity and knowledge.

As ideas and knowledge become increasingly important parts of trade, the issue of protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights becomes even more vital in international trade negotiations and rules. Indonesia already has a trove of intellectual properties and a great potential for more. We will certainly benefit from an effective mechanism for intellectual property rights protection. This issue has a profound impact on our national development.

We are therefore firmly committed to the protection of intellectual property rights at both national and international level. Since the year 2000 our intellectual property rights laws have been inline with TRIPs Agreements. Indonesia is also active in WIPO meetings, being the Chair of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (GRTKF).

Unfortunately for us, our national stakeholders have not been able to fully utilize the available protection and flexibilities provided in international agreements such as the TRIPs. It is therefore essential that all stakeholders gain a better understanding of the TRIPs agreement. I fervently hope that this national workshop will contribute to the growth of such vitally important knowledge and understanding.

For our part in the Department of Foreign Affairs, we pursue a sustained programme to help close the capacity and knowledge gap through special publications. Thus today we are issuing several books, including translations of TRIPs texts and a translation of the FAO Best Practices in Law Enforcement in the Forestry Sector.

We take special pride in releasing today the fourth edition of “Sekilas WTO”, which covers the latest developments in the DDA negotiations. No less than the future of the developing world, indeed, the future of humankind is at stake in the great undertaking that we are involved in: the evolution of a global trade regime that bears the spirit of development and social justice. In this endeavour every contribution by every individual is valuable.

I therefore wish you every success in holding this workshop. It is now my distinct pleasure to declare this national workshop on “The Progress of the Doha Development Agenda and the TRIPs Agreement” open.

Thank you.