March 19, 1999
I have received a copy of the Statement that Third World Network circulated on March 18 regarding my Panel at the WTO Symposium on Trade and Development.
I humbly and without reservation apologize for any offence that my actions in this Panel may have caused. My intention was to stimulate discussion and debate about these issues, which are dear to my heart, and which I consider to be absolutely vital for the overall prospects of developing countries.
It is clear that developing countries face considerable difficulties, both with trade reform and with full participation in the multilateral trading system. One of my key objectives as Director of the World Banks Research Group is to help developing countries deal with these problems. To this end, we have launched a program of research and capacity building designed to provide information and build developing country capacity to deal with these challenges.
To conclude, let me emphasize that I hear your concerns loud and clear, and would welcome the opportunity to listen and to discuss ways in which we can build a relationship that can work more effectively towards our common goals. I will be in touch with Deepak Nayyar and Wontack Hong, but would be very grateful if you could share this letter with the signatories of your Statement.
Mr. Renato Ruggiero, Director General