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Tuesday, 15 February, 2000, 08:11 GMT
Warning over 'casino economy'




By Andrew Walker in Bangkok

The benefits of globalisation are not reaching enough people, the director-general of the International Labour Organisation, Juan Somavia, has warned.

Mr Somavia made the comment in a speech to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Bangkok.

The theme of this conference is globalisation and how to enable the developing countries to gain from it.

Mr Somavia said that although many aspects of globalisation were positive, too few people were getting the benefits.

Globalisation has created new uncertainty in many people's lives, he said.

In particular, he said world trade policies had not benefited developing countries.

"The fact is that for a large, large majority of developing countries, this trading system does not deliver for them," he said.

"The possibilities of including yourself in the global economies in ways in which you can develop decent work at home."

He added: "I would like to see the international organisations dealing with financial matters giving much more importance to productive capital, which produces goods, creates jobs, etc, than to a casino economy that has financial flows moving all over the place."

Failed WTO talks

This meeting is the first official gathering of economic ministers since the failed World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle last year.

One of the unresolved disputes was a proposal from the United States to examine the relationship between trade and core labour standards, issues such as child and forced labour.

The developing countries thought this was ultimately intended to create new barriers to their exports.

In his speech however, Mr Somavia skated round the issue and declined to take sides.

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See also:
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US rejects trade reform plans
13 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
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25 Nov 99 |  Talking Point
World trade - who really benefits?

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