VATICAN CITY, JUL 17, 1997 (VIS) - The Holy See today announced that the General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in its July 16 session, unanimously approved the participation of the Holy See as an observer to the WTO's General Conference and General Council.

"The agency's decision", says a communique, "expressly recognizes the particular nature of the Holy See as a sovereign subject of international law, and admits its permanent presence to the above-mentioned government organisms, without the condition of successively negotiating its participation as a member."

"Everyone recognizes the close bond which exists between a just international economic order, peace, development and social justice. The Holy See too has always paid attention to the development of trade relations among States and to the action of international organisms in charge of following and regulating such relationships."

"Already in 1963, in fact," the announcement continues, "the Holy See accepted the invitation to become a member of the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and since then has uninterruptedly participated in its sessions, following in a parallel manner the evolution of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), in vigor since 1947. As is known, GATT was not a true and proper international organization, but a permanent secretariat of a series of particular negotiations, in which few countries initially participated, in general the more developed."

The communique then pointed to the 1986 Uruguay Round of trade talks in Punta del Este. These talks produced changes within GATT, it said, adding that "perhaps the most important fruit was the creation of the World Trade Organization, which has the duty of disciplining international trade, avoiding arbitrary protectionism and unilateral actions, and resolving commercial differences between countries with its own system of conflict resolution. At present WTO has 131 member states; headquarters are in Geneva."

Pope John Paul has spoken often of "free markets," says the release. In the Encyclical Letter "Centesimus Annus," he called them "the most efficacious instrument for spreading resources and efficaciously responding to needs." But he also warned "of the impossibility of resolving all problems with just economic freedom."

In an April 1997 speech to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Holy Father said: "The Church absolutely does not intend to condemn the liberalization of the market per se, but asks that it be planned and applied in respect for the primacy of the human person, to which economic systems must be subjected."

In closing, the communique remarks: "The Holy See, accepting to participate in the work of the WTO as an Observer, intends to collaborate in building a fair multilateral juridical-economic system for a fuller understanding among peoples, and for social and economic development, especially of the poorest countries. This presence thus completes that at UNCTAD and at other organisms of the United Nations system, with which it will pursue its intense cooperation."

av Webmaster publisert 31.03.2006, sist endret 10.03.2011 - 02:39