Minister Kaag to visit New York and Washington

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag will visit the US from Sunday to Tuesday for a series of meetings with representatives of the UN and the World Bank She will also meet with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Ms Kaag will first travel to New York for a meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. An important point of discussion will be the reforms to UN development policy announced by Mr Guterres. ‘It’s now about putting his proposals into practice,’ said the minister. ‘The Secretary-General’s agenda deserves full support. It's a way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of less poverty, more peace and security, and a more liveable world.'

In New York the minister will also host a round-table meeting on effective conflict prevention. This is one theme on which the Netherlands wants to place a strong emphasis during its term on the UN Security Council this year. Here too, a greater focus on the SDGs plays an important role. ‘By making a concerted effort early on to improve living conditions and promote greater observance of human rights – with countries and regions working together with international organisations and institutions more effectively – conflicts, violence and, with them, a great deal of human suffering can be avoided. The round-table meeting will be attended by representatives of UN institutions, member states and conflict prevention experts. While in New York the Minister will also meet with the directors of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

World Bank
Ms Kaag will then travel to Washington, DC to meet with President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and Philippe Le Houérou, Chief Executive Officer of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank institution that lends to the private sector in developing countries. The minister will stress the need for more IFC activities in fragile states, since this is exactly where extra efforts are needed to offer people the prospect of a better life. The minister will also seek to learn more about the World Bank's capital increase proposals. ‘It may be important to have a bigger bank,’ she said. ‘But we will also make sure that the pledges to create a better bank are fulfilled.’

A meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is also on the agenda. The meeting is an opportunity for Ms Kaag to hear from Mr Lighthizer in more detail about the US administration's trade policy, and its vision on trade agreements and the multilateral trade system in particular. Ms Kaag will also use the meeting to stress that the Netherlands remains a strong proponent of multilateral trade agreements and a level playing field, with effective rules on food safety, the environment and working conditions. These factors increase the opportunities for growth in both the Dutch and international private sectors, and are therefore beneficial to businesses, employees and consumers.