スピーチ・対談

ダボス会議に出席して

本年の1月27日から2月1日にかけて、スイスの有名なスキーリゾート地であるダボスにおいて「世界経済フォーラム(通称:ダボス会議)」が開催され、私も招待を受け、日本政府を代表して出席してきました。 ダボス会議は、毎年世界各国のトップリーダーがスイスの田舎町ダボスに集まって、世界の大きな流れや今後のあるべき姿について非公式にじっくりと語り合う場ですが、非公式であるが故に当事者が本音の議論をする場になっており、「影のサミット」や「サミット・オブ・ザ・サミット」などとも呼ばれています。 今年は会議開催30周年を迎えて、政界からは、クリントン米国大統領、ブレア英国首相ら、経済界からは、ビル・ゲイツ マイクロソフト会長、スティーブ・ケース アメリカオンライン社長ら2000人程度が出席し、大変な賑わいを見せました。 今年の会議は「“New beginningsmaking a difference”新しい始まり-変化に向けて」を全体のテーマとして、300以上のセッションに分かれて議論が行われました。全体的な傾向としては、IT革命やバイオテクノロジーの進歩の中での光と影の側面について多くの議論がなされました。 私がパネリストを務めたのは、“The Collapse of Multilateralism”というセッションであり、James FHogeForeign Affairs編集長)が司会を務め、私以外に次の人達が基調講演を行いました。・Stanley ORoth(米国国務次官補)・Guillermo Fernandez de Soto(コロンビア外相)

このセッションで私が行った講演は次のとおりです。

1.Importance of Multilateralism

Multilateralism currently stands at a key point in its transition to a new stage of development. However, to negotiate the hurdles and pitfalls which separate us from that new stage will require an integrated effort by the entire international community. Why should we make this effort? Because of the key role which multilateralism will play in the 21st century, more so even than in the century gone by. Multilateralism will be crucial for the following reasons.Firstly, the growing number of players taking the international stage is inevitably deepening interdependence. Developing countries are beginning to establish themselves firmly enough to be able to participate actively in multilateral framewoks, while an international consensus is also beginning to emerge as to the desirability of linking these countries more strongly to the international community, Multilateralism should continue to function as a framework for international political and economic stabilization.Secondly, a growing number of tasks are requiring global resolution. In addition to issues such as free trade and currency stability, the environment, human rights and other potentially contradictory values now need to be simultaneously pursued. Such issues have almost gone beyond the point where resolution is feasible through the efforts of one country alone, with protection of the global environment and a lengthening agenda of other issues needing to be resolved at the multilateral lebel.
It must also be noted that the forces underpinning multilateralism are changing, bringing multilateralism closer to its true form. It can safely be said that in the 50 years since the Second World War, the United States has supported the majority of important multilateralism-based fora. At the same time, with the end of the Cold War, U.S. commitment to multilateralism has diminished, necessitating a greater sharing of responsibilities among the U.S. and also the other major nations. If multilateralism is essentially supported by the consensus formed among nations of generally equal standing, the necessary conditions are in fact currently falling into place.

2.A Turning Point for Multilateralism
However, these factors which are boosting the importance of a multilateral approach are simultaneously also complicating the conditions for keeping multilateralism on track.First of all, amid concern over a possible diminishing of U.S. commitment, an appropriate division of responsibilities among all major nations has in reality yet to emerge. For example, the GATT system was developed on the basis of U.S. support, with the Uruguay Round leading to the establishment of the World Trade Organization and the apparent achievement of the free trade ideal. However, these developments were paralleled by the winding-down of the Cold War and a reduction in U.S. commitment. A new system of leadership has yet to take root. The establishment of the WTO, the glittering peak of multilateralism in terms of free trade, at the same time has presaged a crisis point for the multilateral approach.Secondly, the emergence and escalation of number of new issues in need of global resolution, such as protection of the global environment, urgently need to be coordinated with free trade, a value which already has multilateral support. For example, how far are we prepared to tolerate nations resorting to trade restrictions as a means of protecting the global environment and labor standards? No easy answer will be found to this question.Thirdly, the growing number of players in the international community is making multilateral decision-making increasingly complex. Where 99 nations participated in the Tokyo Round, Which ended in 1979, the WTO now has a register of 135 members. On top of this, various new views are also emerging, such as those of environment-rated NGOs, and seeking the chance to be heard. More than 800 NGOs gathered for the Seattle Ministerial. When such civilian groups seek to have their views directly reflected at the multilateral level, previously a state only affair, the lack of rules governing such a situation will inevitably make the coordination process a rocky one.These issues would seem to have emerged in concentrate at the Seattle Ministerial.
3.Supporting 21st Century Mulutilareralism
Where should we look for new momentum for multilateralism? What are the possibilities in teams of, for example, the WTO system, the embodiment of mature multilateralism?Firstly, from the perspective of those countries participating in multilateralism, it will be essential to further clarify the division of responsibility among major nations. Japan is ready to lead the drive toward liberalization, as well as to contribute to strengthening support for multilateralism through, for example, reform of the WTOs decision-making mechanisms, and assistance for developing country independence.Secondly, we need to communication with the non-state level, with the new views which are emerging. As national borders become increasingly vague, the state is losing its singularity in teams of supporting multilateralism. Rather than taking an antagonistic view of multimational corporations, which in some eases now wield more power than states themselves, or the civilian groups gradually cohering through the medium of the Internet, we should seek to organize these forces in some productive form. The obvious first step would be to seek smoother communication with these diverse non-states, aiming to develop greater commonality in principles and values. Thirdly, from a regional economic perspective, surely these are certain issues which would flounder at the multilateral level but would be much more feasible at regional level. Free trade areas and other efforts should not be viewed as competing with the WTO, but rather evaluated positively as complementing multilateralism.4.Long Live Multirateralism

Multilateralism, as I noted earlier, is currently in a transitional phase. At the same time, given the increasing number of takes requiring global-scale resolution, I hardly need to restate the importance to the international community of this approach. In terms of immediate steps, we should seek to underpin multilateralism by continuing with various experiments such as the creation of interfaces among multilateral fora. Concrete examples of the latter include the links between the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank which have been designed to coordinate interests between the already-established free system and the developing countries which are emerging on the world stage, and dialogue between the WTO and the secretariats of multilateral environment agreements toward mutual coordination of trade and the environment.In conclusion, the unexpected setbacks and loss of direction which have buffeted multilateralism in the last years of the 20th century part of a transitional phase. We must maintain our focus and take this opportunity to develop a shared awareness of the importance of multilateralism to the international community, reaffirming our strong commitment to this key approach in the century ahead.