While Americans are attuned to the upcoming Nov. 7 presidential elections, European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has a much more pressing concern: the need for a strong global government.
In a speech last night to 150 students at the Institute of Politics at the ARCO Forum, Lamy critiqued globalization, arguing that its positive effects were outweighed by the need to help underdeveloped countries.
"To the question, 'Is globalization a good thing?' my answer is, 'Yes, but...'" said Lamy. "Unfettered, unharnessed, globalization can be very dangerous. With a strong system of global governance, however, we can steer it."
Lamy said the World Trade Organization (WTO) is not yet an operational system of global governance. He cited its failure to come up with a set of specific guidelines for international trade in Seattle because of discord between the U.S. and the European Union (E.U.).
"The U.S. thinks that a super-national system of regulations would mean black U.N. helicopters sweeping down over little Midwestern towns, forcing them to comply with laws supported by other countries," he said.
Lamy said he believed the Seattle WTO protests last November had a legitimate point. He said he would like to add labor and environmental policy to the next WTO trade talks agenda.
"Trading policy must be an instrument for change," he said.
Lamy said he believes international governance could help developing countries compete in trade with the U.S., the E.U. or Japan. He said the countries often struggle to meet the rigorous sanitary and ecological demands of developed nations.
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