V. MULTILATERAL TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT AGREEMENTS
A. Uruguay Round negotiations
3. Malaysian position
Malaysia welcomed the successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round Multilateral Trade Negotiations and remains confident that it will lead to greater trade liberalization and further expansion of world trade, as well as provide an added boost to business confidence, worldwide. More importantly, it will complement and support the efforts and measures of developing countries and transition economies to compete in international markets and integrate more fully into the multilateral trading system.
The globalization and increasing interdependence of the world economy necessitates a freer movement of goods, services and factors of production across borders. While trade barriers and policies are being progressively liberalized, new issues have emerged in response to changes in the international trading environment. There is a growing perception that as the nature and intensity of international competition changes there is an urgent need to broaden the scope of policies that affect trade, foreign investment and international competition. Those issues, together with the use of trade policies to achieve what are ostensibly environmental protection objectives and the linking of the relationship of labour standards (social clauses) to international trade, will invariably constitute the major topics to be dealt with by governments in the years to come.
Malaysia recognizes that those are fundamental issues that need to be addressed in the context of further trade and investment liberalization. While it acknowledges the desirability of improving global standards in areas such as trade and environment and competition policy, it is nevertheless concerned with the speed at which some countries are moving in their efforts to evolve multilateral rules and disciplines in those areas. However, those issues are complex. Even among economies based on market principles there are considerable differences in the manner in which those principles are implemented. Those differences are attributable to culture, the legal system, language and other key features of individual societies. It will not be prudent to rush into evolving rules and disciplines when countries are still in the process of understanding what those issues mean.