Statement On The Third WTO Ministerial Conference, Seattle 30 November to 3 December, 1999


The Third WTO Ministerial Conference taken place in Seattle in this last year of the twentieth century is crucial to the future of mankind. The Summit will determine on WTO’s agenda for a new round of negotiations for the first decade of the next millennium. Its decisions will consequently effect the lives of billions of people around the world, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Global economy and global free trade are conducive to raising living standards and obtaining sustainable development only if it helps to construct an open civil and equitable society which uproots any type of conspiracy, monopoly and dictatorship either political or cultural and economic. Globalization should embrace not only trade and economy but also culture and politics. It should involve not only corporates and governments but mostly consumers and citizens. Similarly, for the people’s benefits of progress, justice and equity, free trade must be obtained not only through non-tariff open markets, but also through non-discriminatory, democratic and free flow of information’s, ideas and cultural activities. In fact, without freedom, democracy and respect of human rights there can never be a genuine free trade and a sustainable and equitable development. This is particularly relevant in the case of developing and transitional countries like Vietnam. Vietnam needs both free trade, free culture and free politics.

I therefore call upon WTO Conference Members to endorse measures to enable in Vietnam the emergence of an open, civil and equitable society necessary for stability and sustainable development for Vietnam and for the entire region.

November 30, 1999
Doan Viet Hoat