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WTO Chief Calls for Reassessment

January 20, 2000

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ The World Trade Organization needs to think about doing things ``differently″ in the wake of talks in Seattle that ground to a halt in the wake of anti-WTO protests, the organization’s director-general said Wednesday.

There would be no ``short-term fix″ to the problems highlighted at Seattle, said Mike Moore after addressing a U.N. senior management meeting chaired by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

In the days following the Nov. 29 opening of the WTO’s meeting in Seattle, an estimated 45,000 people took to the streets to rally against the trade organization’s policies. Hundreds of people were arrested as police in riot gear fired tear gas in an effort to restore order to the downtown area, where some shops were vandalized.

Many of the protesters were angered by the WTO’s refusal to link trade with worker rights, environmental protection and human rights.

``There is enormous anxiety about globalization _ the good sides of it and the bad sides of it _ and there is a growing feeling of isolation, even polarization from this process,″ Moore admitted.

He said organizations such as the WTO should heed at least part of the message presented by the protesters.

``There are things we have to do differently,″ Moore said.

``Not all the folk who were criticizing what’s happening were wrong,″ he said, adding that the Seattle demonstrators were ``on every possible issue ... as though the WTO had authority over all these issues.″

Moore said he was disappointed that Annan _ who was unable to leave his hotel because of the Seattle protests _ was forced to cancel his speech to the trade body, but joked that during Wednesday’s meeting he and Annan ``shared a few good-natured moments about Seattle.″

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