Transcription of the Presidential Lecture Series of the World Trade Organization with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who wants to see the dismantling of the old global order and replaced with a new order that promotes world peace.
Link to the Barbados Government Information Service Website.
A New World Order Vital To Achieve Peace, Mia Amor Mottley
Mar 23, 2022
Thank you very much everyone and thank you my sister for those very kind words um all you've done is to explain why I've gotten so great and sort of such a short space of time.
Director General Tatiana Valuevaya, my brother Director General Tedros Gabriesis. My sister secretary General Rebecca, I know she had to leave to go to a meeting with the UN Secretary General and in your absence we will be here.
I really want distinguished guests all and all who are listening. I really want to thank you for the opportunity to be here and let me first madam Director General congratulate you on all of the work that you have been doing and the leadership that you provided at this most critical time for the world, given all of the challenges that we are facing we are confident that your erudition but also your experience and your heart will make all of the difference that we need now, because if the WTO is to remain faithful to its mandate and to bring prosperity and stability to the people of this world, and to ensure that international trade does not have the obstacles that it has.
Now, then your work must be a success buttress by our all of our cooperation by keeping a higher purpose in front of –us. I'd also like to thank you for the honor that you've bestowed on my country by inviting me to deliver this lecture this afternoon and this is the inaugural presidential lecture and Barbados is truly humbled by our opportunity to share perspectives from a small island developing state, because our voice is critical in this debate since in many instances we are on the front line of these challenging times.
The very existence of our states depends on a few things, but the one existential crisis that we all face is that of climate and indeed you will therefore forgive me, all of you please I ask for your forgiveness if at this juncture I share with you that I would like to dedicate this lecture to someone who I knew all my life but who regrettably passed on friday evening Dr. Hugh Seeley, who was the lead negotiator on behalf of the alliance of small island states with respect to Article 6 coming out of the Paris Agreement.
His loss, will be not just that of small island developing states, but the void that he leaves will be felt by all who fight to save this planet earth for his voice was at the front line of that for the last 20 years.
My friends, underlying the theme before us today is the recognition that the global order is not working. It simply is not delivering in the areas of critical importance necessary to achieve the goal of sustainable development for the majority of our world's population, and I want to submit to you that it is not achieving for our people as still too many people in this world live in conditions of hunger of poverty of indignity and of inequality. If we are to achieve prosperity for all then we must really try because if not, it will remain a distant aspiration far too distant for too many and let alone, those who have no access to technology or who have not been able to benefit from social cohesion within their countries.
Simply we are not delivering for our planet either as daily widespread climate degradation whether in the form of droughts or in the form of floods and hurricanes continue to undermine our capacity to support both the present and future generations.
Similarly, we are not achieving the objective of partnership beyond the words that are used by many we use the word partnership glibly, but where is the example of it for my friends greed continues regrettably to motivate too many that we are more concerned with generating profits than saving people is perhaps the greatest condemnation that can be made of our generation globally. We continue to have a world that is segregated regrettably between those who came first and whose image the global order is now set and i really had promised not to use this phrase, but i have to deviate that regrettably we are seeing a global order in which we live that is simply the embalming of the old colonial order that existed at the time of the establishment of these institutions.
And we have therefore to ask ourselves, whether we are in a position to deliver on the peace that would permit us all to live in just and a just an inclusive society, in each of our countries or whether we are in fact creating a world where peace is elusive peace both in terms of security but also peace that comes from economic justice, and we have therefore to ask ourselves whether therefore we can live in this global order and what am I saying as is suggested by the very theme before us we know that a transformative agenda is required absolutely but it depends on all of us and the question therefore must be are we ready to exercise the global moral leadership the commitment and the political will necessary strategically that will allow us to pursue the transformative agenda in order for us to be able to reinvent the global order.
My friends, a global order regrettably today perpetuates the first and the second class countries of which I spoke in Accra and in fact not in Accra on Umon The Cape Coast, two sundays ago largely, because that is our reality, we have faced the world that has cemented the right of a few to determine the fate of the rest of us.
Is that acceptable to any of us in our families, in our communities, or in our countries and if it is not acceptable in our families, in our communities, and in our countries, I submit to you that it has no place in the global order.
The ultimate absurdity of what I'm saying is amplified when we look at the arrangements, that led to the P5 within the context of the security council.
How do five countries? Have the right to veto that which others want to see.
Happen similarly, how do we understand that in our world there must always be somebody to guard the guard in the Caribbean?
We ask it simply, who can guard the guard if there is no one looking over those who claim to have that superior voice and superior wisdom then who protectsthe rest of us?
My friends, this is a global order that is compromising equally our right to development our right and ability and capacity to attain the sustainable development goals that each and everyone of our countries has submitted.
Is critical for our populations in order for them to prosper, if we don't recognize that the time is now for us to find solutions with respect to long-term financing, instruments not 5 10 15 2050 70 and 80. In the same way, that britain and other countries were required to find them as they went forward in a post-world war world, where they recognized that they could not pursue development, at the same time as they had to service the debts of the war. It is no different for the rest of our countries, who fight battle now the pandemic, who battled now the climate crisis and who must now battle theconsequences of war in europe.
Simply, put if we have to service that debt that we have incurred in the last two years. Then, we do not have the position and the capacity to borrow to finance our development with respect to the sustainable development goals by 2030. It will become an illusion regrettably for many, I pause also at this point to reflect that post-world war, in the advanced countries of the world agreed that Germany should not have to service debt in excess of five percent of their exports, but yet today, in our own country, in small island developing states that number is in excess of 30 percent.
I ask simply, where is the justice that we speak of? I could go further and refer to the letter that was in The Guardian newspaper only two days ago, that calls on the world to reflect on whether or not Ukraine's debt should not be completely written off given the humanitarian tragedy that that country is facing.
But, I ask us to not forget that they are not the first country to have faced such humanitarian crises, and if we are going to open our hearts to the concept of how we treat to issue of debt and financing, then I say now is the time for the long-term instruments to be able to reflect the horror of what so many of us have endured during the course of the last two years.
A pandemic compounded by a climate crisisis, nothing to play with regrettably, also we continue to ignore the voices of other developing countries in the same way that we ignore the voice of labor. The workers, our citizens are so many issues globally when in most instances what are they really trying to do, to make requests that are morally, just to make requests that are morally just as you know in the WTO labour's voice has been insistent on the need for social dialogue to ensure that our trade policy that we settle, upon reflects the interest of all and that the be a just floor for competition that enforces labor and environmental standards for whom not for aliens, but for ordinary people.
In whose interests we are committed to serve, so as we consider this question I want to suggest as we all know that the war, that the invasion of Ukraine has in fact reset the global order, the old–one.
I've shown enough, is simply not working not delivering on peace, not delivering on prosperity, not delivering on stability, and indeed we do so because the events of recent times literally come after 20 years of what a global financial crisis. The release of unprecedented amounts of liquidity a rapid climate change, and climate-related disaster world or as I like to call it a climate crisis in which we find our selves a COVID–19 pandemic and without prejudice to all of that, the work that we are now doing to avert the next pandemic, the slow motion pandemic on antimicrobial resistance which you referred to earlier that I'm working along with the WTO and Dr. Tedros, to be able to see how we can fight the super viruses that are already killing in excess of 1 million people annually, and is expected to kill more people by 2050 than any other condition.
My friends, while we have not had what some call a world war. We have truly had a world of wars, a world of conflicts where millions of innocent victims civilians have been the casualties it's, a shame that it takes this European theater to make us respond to the illegal state aggression with global sanctions. It is a shame that it takes this theater to provide a warm welcome to refugees, a welcome which ought to have been our human response to all refugees all along, and not just today. But never the less better late than never, for the plight of migrants is not one that they accept willingly, it is one that has foisted on them because of circumstances beyond their control irrespective of whether those circumstances come from climate or man-made causes.
My friends, it is no wonder that many of our young people globally have lost faith, in this order, in this global order because of what they view as patent hypocrisy. I've been in public life through many of these swirling and short times and my life has witnessed first hand yes, the failure of the international order to respond where we need it to respond.
Most the countries and global and regional institutions, should have listened to the canaries which we consider ourselves a small island developing states, long long–time ago, but regrettably we are now at risk of disappearing or dying because of the confluence of events that the world now sees unimpeded nations will choose, greater financial energy food and national security by retreating behind national and regional lines of defence.
That's what I referred to last year, and regrettably rather than us seeing an improvement in our circumstances. We have seen the circumstances literally worsened before our very eyes. The inconvenient truth for those of us who support a liberal international order, is that maybe, maybe some good may come from crisis, maybe we may develop more a diversified and therefore more robust financial system, if we finally listen about the need for different instruments that are appropriate to the conditions in which most of our countries find ourselves. We hope that it will also accelerate the pace of the transition to renewable energy, because we know what fossil fuels alone will do, although we are conscious too that the discussion is nuanced and that a fossil fuel a net zero world does not mean a fossil fuel free world.
But simply, one where fossil fuels don't exceed more than 20 percent of the overall mix and that carries us into other discussions that I don't have time today to deal with similar lye, we have to determine whether we are going to eat healthier and less processed foods, because we have to eat fresher food because of the supply disruption that is now upon us, with the global supply chain there will be better results for our bodies, I suspect than if we had continued to eat the processed foods, but a contradiction in all of this is that would this be a defeat of internationalism at a time when we need internationalism and multilateralism more than ever.
Can we achieve those other things, without having to accept that the only route to them is through the defeat of multilateralism? I believe that we can and we can not therefore retreat from that, internationalism even if in some instances it requires us to take difficult decisions that we might not otherwise be willing to take.
There is no safety behind the line, none whatsoever and in an inclusive international trading system, that we all accept is critical to solving many of the problems we face. We then must ask ourselves, how do we move from this position today?
I want to share with you in a few minutes, very briefly, my thoughts on the role of trade in the solutions to two of the most significant transitions facing humanity and to look at how the WTO can be and must be in the vanguard of that change, that we all need.
A comment on the absolute need for us to bring the architecture of a new global order to the 21st century, one that is transparent that is fair and that is rooted in moral legitimacy, one of the most profound transitions facing the world that we live in today is the rise of the new digital empires. You have to call them empires, the world carries out an increasing proportion of its trade on digital platforms and the digital trade changes the geography of trade and allows for the high mobility of people, technology and services.
The digital world is highly concentrated, they are essentially nine leading digital platforms, using their brand names what are they: Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba.
Even more striking these nine are also essentially owned and controlled by a small handful–handful of individuals, these are companies that are now today more powerful than the seven sisters were when that conglomerates, when those conglomerates were broken up almost a century ago. Never before has the global economy seen so much concentration of economic power in so so so few hands, and there's a paradox to blame though a few individuals have benefited astronomically their business model is shaped by what by the state's data governance models.
The business model is that the firms must provide free services in return for freely using the user's data, it has been called: third party funded barter. And this model exists in china too, though with greater collaboration between the state and the companies at least explicitly, so whether deliberately or not what is the reality here in Europe; Europe disrupts this model through its data privacy laws to some extent they shift data ownership from the platform back to the user, the larger the market the more value that free data has to those who assemble products from that data they are substantial economies of scale considering these two issues, the data governance model and the economies of scale.
It is no surprise that six of the nine big tech firms that I just referred toare in the United States and three are in China, and none of the nine is any where else, none the business model follows the regulatory model and so if the data–governance model does not change, more or less this is the way that it will be. An increase in proportion for global trade then is determined by the ability of consumers and producers to access an oligopoly of the US and Chinese platforms and consent to their rules, and conventions around data–governance delivery and payments.
The space and opportunity to be outside of these digital platforms my friends is shrinking suppose a teleworker an App designer or a service provider from a developing country, were to try to access these platforms in that case, they will first face challenges around payment systems. Which stem partly from the uneven application of anti-money laundering rules, leading to the sharp narrowing of correspondent banks servicing in developing countries.
We in developing countries have been talking about the loss of correspondent banking capacity for years, and that you cannot live in this world without having access to banking services. If not you are literally ale-per or a pariah, but yet the world takes glee almost and passing, and put in all kinds of lists the consequences of which are to put our countries, literally on their knees with respect to access to banking and financial services.
You cannot have exclusion of people on the basis of this without causing serious damage to human beings, and trade in our small countries they and others will have to become part of, and I refer to all of the persons who want to use these fees and these digital platforms. They will have to become part of and pay fees for being part of an online oligopolistic payment network, such as Visa and Mastercard ubiquitous and all vote.
They may have to pay hefty fees to be on the digital platform and then subscribe to their data rules to confirm that data governance is a-trade issue that's what it is, if a country wanted to use fiscal measures to incentivise those using other data rules to re address the concentration of one business model, resulting from the US data governance model they cannot there is now a WTO moratorium. I'm told madam director general on all taxes on digital commerce yet this is still all highly distortionary and discriminatory largely beyond WTO scrutiny, and the future of international commerce.
One of our most urgent challenges as well is the climate crisis it cannot be avoided. It is an existential crisis, not just for small island developing states, but for all of us on this planet, and it is just a question who is affected first. My country lies on the front line as you know between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, but many of you in this room, also come from countries that lie between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
We have contributed little to the stock of greenhouse gases and I refer not simply to those who contribute today daily, but I refer to the stock of greenhouse gases that has literally driven modern development from the industrial age and in spite of that minimal contribution. The temperatures and the sea levels continue to provide significant damage to our countries, and to our people where for example a drought can happen and half of our country be outside of access to potable water for months, at a time where for example in the Caribbean a country's entire GDP can be wiped out in a night or in the case of Dominica, 227 percent of its GDP with Hurricane Maria and Irma.
Where our national debts have been driven to be amongst the highest globally by expenditures on environmental protection and mopping up after climate related disasters, and I want to pause here a second, because many assume that we have small island developing states and developing countries have large debt stocks purely because of corruption and profligacy when in truth and in fact the work that has been done, and is being done by untadis also showing and in the caricom region is showing more and more, that a lot of that debt has come as a result of one the climate crisis and malam dg.
I have to say this although many may not want to hear it, that since the establishment of this august institution and its failure to accept the need for special, and differential treatment that ourcountries have also seen significant contraction in our domestic productive capacity in industry, in manufacturing, and in agriculture. Largely as a result of the people who occupy this room not being able to accept that there truly is a genuine trigger for those countries that will not distort global trade in goods and services, and what have been the results before coming in here.
This afternoon I asked my Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and Industry to check the figures, and the reality is that since 1997 we have seen a contraction of our domestic manufacturing sector in Barbados declined by over one-third and our domestic agricultural sector declined by over 20 percent, what has been the impact of countries like ours on global trade and goods and services. Well our share in global trade and goods is 0.000 and our share of global trade and services is 0.0001, so when you combine that across the board it cannot be difficult to distinguish between those countries that can truly distort, and those countries for whom the lash is just too heavy a burden leading to that highly in debted set of circumstances, to which I referred my friends rich industrialised countries telling poor countries and less industrialised nations, that they should care more for the environment.
Will not solve the climate crisis program problem indeed our ability to be able to spend money on mitigation and adaptation is constrained by that simple absence of fiscal space that has been triggered by the highly indebted condition that we have we have developed, and come to accept for the last three decades in particular it will not be solved the climate crisis that is by an economic system based on prices determined by today's supply and demand, with an adequate regard for the future and we will not solve it by techno optimism, and some loose change being thrown at people the world needs to spend about three trillion dollars a year on investments to transition to renewable and regenerative energy, transport and agriculture, and the more we talk about it, and the less we do it, the more critical the problem becomes.
The amount of money though is not the biggest challenge, because in the last 12 years alone as I said at Glasgow Central Banks have spent 25 trillion dollars buying government bonds in their quantitative ease and programs if they had purchased 25 trillion dollars of bonds that financed the energy transition they would have had similar economic impact, and got us halfway up the mountain in halting the climate crisis, but they didn't. So we're stuck at basecamp, because of our aim and an absence of an appropriate financing mechanism I proposed as you said one at COP26, where we would look to have 500 billion in SDRS allocated for a period of 20 years.
Since then we've had quiet conversations in the margins of the G20, because the G20 does not represent us as you know even though their calls for the G21 with Africa, with 1.4 billion people being left out that would make it more just than appropriate or their calls for the G30 by 2030. But that's another discussion for another day too but what we've discovered is that even if the sum of 500 billion in SDRS annually for 20 years appears to be abridge too far, then we should at least settle on the first 500 billion which in lending to the private sector could unlock at least another two to three trillion dollars needed to get the ball rolling, and if it proves to be successful then we go at it again, and again, and again until we can settle the world's preparation for this climate crisis.
Through our ability to mitigate and adapt accordingly we know that the newly issued and unused special drawing rights are there, and that the trust that we can establish can use and draw from these special drawing rights, would use as I said to unlock other funds for projects that can transform energy transport and agriculture as a matter of urgency, to stem the crisis which we face the 500 billion funds of low-cost financing, would effectively be that Philip to private capital, special drawing rights allow the world as I said to responsibly mobilize for safe investments in our future and that 12 trillion dollars of central bank reserves, that are being kept dry for a rainy day well what is it, it is a rainy day, and it is time to use them.
I hope therefore that we can continue to build support on these measures on this idea, with those of you in the G20 countries and those of you who like us are outside of the G20, but who are truly concerned about what we are doing let us also consider quickly the trade aspects of this solution. We could halt the climate crisis fastest if someone with the right ideas skills and experience in one country could with the help of a very low cost funds from the climate mitigation trusts raise additional capital that they need in another country where it is cheapest buy the technology, somewhere else where it is best and turn to another place to invest, where there is the greatest scope for climate mitigation that's what this organisation was set up to help us doing building our coalition for change.
We want those countries with capital to be united in common cause with those with technology and climate mitigation opportunities for if we cannot bridge all three we will not solve the problems, and create opportunities for all those of us on the front line we need grants for the loss and damage of climate events we've been talking about the warsaw mechanism on loss and damage, but nothing more has come other than talk similarly. We need the concessionary loans to build resilience to the events and as I said earlier because of our highly independent nature, we need the physical space as well if not the concessional knowns will be a pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow, never to be attained by us.
So my friends, as it relates now also to mitigation those were for adaptation. But as it relates to mitigation, we need more than that where it is now and regrettably we continue to make promises, but not see those promises materialize into reality fast enough to stop the temperatures rising as they are. But to think about international trade, let me share with you what someone in a developing country will tell you about, where it will happen from their experience about the trade obstacles they face in the name of fighting global crime.
The uneven application of anti-money laundering rules means that well billionaires are allowed to buy football clubs or to buy urban palaces in New York, and London, and Zurich, and to have the mass vast majority of their wealth.
The remany emerging market entrepreneurs from our countries, cannot open a bank account, cannot open a bank account or cannot raise funds in those capital markets. Because our countries are blacklisted or grey listed for anti-money laundering, and very often on technical reasons, the last gray listing coming out of the financial action task force was not because of substantive issues of money laundering, but it was because of a technical reclassification of money supply from M2 to M3, then putting us into a weight category for which we were not prepared.
My friends we have as small countries a thin banking system that no money laundered tries to ever lose themselves in, because it is too thin too small and too easy to find anything in simple artificial country ceiling conventions on credit ratings, also do not help either but we know that another day for that discussion too.
They will tell you that they cannot compete with the state subsidies on developing, renewable energy technology which is being applied in the United States or in Europe, or in China and that the previous tax incentives, that partially compensated for the absence of research subsidies are now disallowed in the name of fairness, unless the government wants to be on another black list for harmful taxation, because everything we try to do once we become competitive listless, gray, black, white.
That is our reality and they will tell you that if they come to sell internationally, their renewable energy carbon credits or anything else there, will be an accreditation process that is more costly for those in developing countries to satisfy, but this is all being done in the name of having a level playing field. It reminds me of the United Nations Charter that preserves the inequity and the discriminatory practices of the world for if we made everyone equal in 1945 we cemented the inequity of the colonial order, as well in countries and in people, these not terrorists, not genuine competitiveness and comparative advantages, but these are the obstacles to today's international trade that we face in areal way, and there will be an obstacle to to the efficient and fair prosecution of climate mitigation through the global transfer of capital technology, and opportunity.
The instrument of new colonialism, my friends, is the bypassing of treaty-based organisations to pursue the discriminatory application of non-tariff rules on finance on tax and on next generation standards, all in the name of legitimacy clothes, sort of like the green box in agriculture, no scientific basis upon which it can be premised, but simply it is good for some to subsidise to the tune of multiples of their GDP and the rest of us have to depend on farmers, who cannot farm all year because when we need them for a crisis, they would have already become bankrupt as a result of the glut of cheap goods and produce that comes into our countries.
The answer however as difficult as it is, is not to give up on internationalism or multilateralism, not to surrender not to retreat the world needs, more mobile labor capital and technology to defeat the climate crisis, and we need to be part of a digital revolution to deliver better, to deliver better health, and better education, and a better quality of life, and we need to listen to the voice of labor who represents our citizens, not aliens from mars international.
Trade is at the center of solving the climate crisis problem and the use of digital trade is critical if we are to advance global development trade.
My friends, as you know better than most people globally, is at the center of all of our profound challenges and we need the WTO to have a seat at the table to ensure that trade barriers are not blocking, are successful attempts to address these challenges indeed might also remind us that trade is not always good because I come from a region that was for its modern existence settled as a result of trade, but it was called the slave trade, and it took away from us the right to have dignity in our ability to be human, so trade is not always good but good trade can be secured and settled by this organization.
The WTO was born into a world of trade in manufactures in Paris, it has an inheritance from the gats that has to be confronted, confronted if we are to move away from the old colonial order confronted if we are to create opportunities for fairness among those countries of the world, and those people of the world who need our protection. The most we need to deal with the fact that the world of trade and services and the next generation barriers to trade must be confronted, we need the next generation WTO to be the countervailing force to the discriminatory, distortionary, and inequitable rules and barriers, to the international trading services and while small groups of countries setup crusades rules and standards that others are required to follow there needs to be a strong representative voice that monitors and values the impact of international trade, and speak up in defense of that truly international trade system.
Madam Director General, I believe you have that capacity to lead the effort with all of the persons in this room, but. it requires the political will to reflect the next generation WTO.
I call on this organization to show are invigorated defense of an equitable trading system by establishing a high-level committee that asked whether the war on money laundering, the war on tax evasion, the war on the climate crisis, or any of these well-intentioned campaigns have not inadvertently become a war on developing country exporters, or a war on small island state exporters, and if so how can we introduce measures that ensure the address, that we address all of the ailments we are trying to address, without prejudicing equitable trade.
My message therefore to you today is simple that the stakes have never been higher, our people are dependent on us, more than ever and that is why, I used the words of Bob Marley last year to get up and stand up, because the world must get and be ready to turn its back on the kind of awful behavior that has led to the retreat of internationalism in amisguided pursuit of national security, there is no national security.
I should warn without international security, there is no national security without international security, and there is no international security without an international order that is seen and accepted by most as legitimate, because it is inclusive it is representative and it is relevantat, the center of that order the center of global solutions to global challenges is equitable international trade, this requires therefore that next generation WTO committed to calling out the obstacles committed to be an even more. representative acting as a conquivalent reforming force, against the tendency to narrow exclusive trade relation ships and with a seat at the highest tables, to promote the international trade dimension, to the world's problems.
I believe that this organization under the new and decisive leadership that it has now recognizes that we live in a new worldand, recognizes that we can rise to this point challenge and we can do better because our people expect better from us, thank you.