Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Tuesday, August 31, 1999 Published at 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK


Business: The Economy

Supachai Panitchpakdi, the World Trade chief-in-waiting

Thailand's deputy prime minister: a strong free trade supporter

New World Trade organisation chief Mike Moore may be an advocate of the developing world, but his designated successor is even more so.

World trade wars
Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, deputy prime minister of Thailand, is a respected economist with much experience in trade negotiations.

He played a crucial role in leading Thailand out of its worst economic crisis in 50 years.

The 52-year-old, who is also Thai commerce minister, has been a strong supporter of free trade since his student days. He did a PhD in development economics under Nobel Prize-winner Jan Tinbergen at Rotterdam's Erasmus University.

When the trade organisation leadership contest hit a stand-off, a compromise deal was agreed, under which the six-year tenure will be divided in two.

Mr Moore will do the top job for three years until September 2002, and Dr Supachai - known to Thais as Dr Sup - will follow him for three.

His campaign for the top trade job won the support of most Asian countries including Japan, a large chunk of the African nations and about half the 15 members of the European Union.

Developing countries' hopes

However, the United States government backed his main opponent, former New Zealand premier Mike Moore, a stance which enraged Thailand, which considers itself a close US ally.

"During the Vietnam War, we were very close friends with the US," said one of Mr Supachai's aides, MP Pirapan Salirathavibhaga.

"Maybe they just forgot their old friend. The Thai people will never do that."

Developing nations hope that Dr Supachai will be a champion for poorer economies and give them a stronger voice in Geneva.

He says his first priority will be to broaden the WTO and ensure the benefits of free trade are evenly spread, rather than concentrated in advanced economies.

He adds: "There are additional problems - falling trade volumes, unemployment. If trade can help solve these we can help advance the cause of international liberal trade."





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


The Economy Contents


Relevant Stories

31 Aug 99 | The Economy
New world trade Czar





Internet Links


WTO biopic of Mr Supachai


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Inquiry into energy provider loyalty

Brown considers IMF job

Chinese imports boost US trade gap

No longer Liffe as we know it

The growing threat of internet fraud

House passes US budget

Online share dealing triples

Rate fears as sales soar

Brown's bulging war-chest

Oil reaches nine-year high

UK unemployment falls again

Trade talks deadlocked

US inflation still subdued

Insolvent firms to get breathing space

Bank considered bigger rate rise

UK pay rising 'too fast'

Utilities face tough regulation

CBI's new chief named

US stocks hit highs after rate rise

US Fed raises rates

UK inflation creeps up

Row over the national shopping basket

Military airspace to be cut

TUC warns against following US

World growth accelerates

Union merger put in doubt

Japan's tentative economic recovery

EU fraud costs millions

CBI choice 'could wreck industrial relations'

WTO hails China deal

US business eyes Chinese market

Red tape task force

Websites and widgets

Guru predicts web surge

Malaysia's economy: The Sinatra Principle

Shell secures Iranian oil deal

Irish boom draws the Welsh

China deal to boost economy

US dream scenario continues

Japan's billion dollar spending spree