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16 January 2002
International Conference on Financing for Development

Statement by Mr. Ouedraogo, WTO Deputy Director-General to the final Preparatory Committee, 14-25 January 2002, New York, USA

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Thank you Co-Chair. The WTO, as one of the major institutional stakeholders for the International Conference on Financing for Development, is pleased to be here once again, as we all continue to work together towards a successful outcome of the March 2002 Conference.

I am especially pleased to be able to say that, since our last Preparatory Committee meeting together in October 2001, the WTO Ministers met in November and agreed in Doha on a major new agenda of negotiations and other work programmes, with trade and development at its heart – the “Doha Development Agenda”. The Director-General of the WTO has forwarded the Declaration and its related decisions to the UN Secretary-General, for the information of this meeting. The specific documents forwarded were:

  • the Ministerial Declaration,

  • the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health,

  • the Decision on Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns,

  • the Decision on the European Communities: the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement

  • the Decision on the European Communities: Transitional Regime for the EC Autonomous Tariff-Rate Quotas on Imports of Bananas; and

  • Procedures for Extensions under Article 27.4 of the Subsidies Agreement for Certain Developing Country Members.

I am also pleased to inform you that the Director-General's “Report on Developments in the International Trading System”, has been submitted to the Preparatory Committee Secretariat to assist us in our deliberations and drafting exercises.

Colleagues, Doha has changed forever, the environment for trade negotiations. The Fourth Ministerial Declaration squarely placed the interests of developing countries at the centre of the broad and balanced Work Programme, upon which Ministers agreed.

This Work Programme expands the negotiating agenda from only services and agriculture (on which negotiations are already underway) to include Market Access in non-agricultural products, Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), WTO Rules, Dispute Settlement Procedures and Environment. With respect to the so called “Singapore Issues” of trade and investment, trade and competition policy, trade facilitation, and transparency of government procurement, there was agreement that, among other things, “negotiations would take place after the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference on the basis of a decision to be taken, by explicit consensus, at that Session on modalities of negotiations.”

Doha put the priority concerns of developing countries uppermost:

  • Implementation issues, which have exercised the developing countries since the end of the Uruguay Round, are treated explicitly in the Ministerial Declaration and there is a separate Declaration on Implementation which contains detailed solutions to a large number of the problems raised by developing countries.
      

  • In agriculture, negotiations are to be focussed, as the developing countries desired, on “substantial improvements” in market access for them, reductions in “all forms of export subsidies” and “substantial reductions” in trade-distorting domestic support. There is an explicit commitment that Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) for developing countries will be embodied in schedules of commitments and concession, and it is clarified that these will take into account the proposals submitted in developing countries' texts.
      

  • As regards negotiations on services, the Declaration focuses on the Guidelines, which refer to Article IV of GATS (the part dealing with developing countries) and to the negotiation of modalities for the treatment of autonomous liberalisation (an issue high on developing countries' agenda), and also states explicitly that “special priority shall be given to LDCs”.
      

  • On industrial tariffs, the focus is on “reduction or elimination” of tariff peaks and tariff escalation, “in particular on products of export interest to developing countries”, as well as non-tariff barriers, all points desired by the developing countries. Here, too, “the negotiations shall take fully into account the special needs and interests of developing and least-developed country participants”.
      

  • Intellectual property issues have since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round been a major concern of the developing countries. The Ministerial Declaration stresses the importance the Ministers attach to implementing and interpreting the TRIPS agreement “in a manner supportive of public health”, and Ministers closely and vigorously negotiated a separate Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health which resolves many of the concerns raised by developing countries.

I will not take more time by going into further detail about the Doha agreement, but I think it was important that it be indicated to you, how far the leaders of this world were able to go in Doha to meet the legitimate concerns of the developing countries. I must also point out that in virtually every subject included in the Doha Declaration the need is recognised for the provision of special and differential treatment, and there is established a specific work programme on special and differential treatment in the WTO's Committee on Trade and Development, with a tight deadline of July 2002. Moreover, and this is an extremely important point, in view of the concerns raised by developing countries, the provision to them of technical assistance and capacity building has been made virtually a pre-condition for continued progress in the negotiations, particularly with respect to the “Singapore issues” mentioned earlier.

As can be seen, there are of course significant financing implications related to the effective implementation of the Doha Development Agenda. In the middle of last month, our Budget for 2002 was agreed by the General Council with funding for the Trade Policy courses and Geneva Week on-budget. And a very important step was taken with the creation of a Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund.

This Global Trust Fund, which has a target of CHF 15 million, has been established to finance technical assistance programmes to assist our developing country and/or economies in transition and especially least developed country Members to improve their capacity to participate effectively in the negotiations, and therefore ensure that they “secure a share in the growth of world trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development” as agreed to in Doha. Members are being encouraged to provide un-earmarked contributions to preserve the global nature of the Fund.

The WTO Technical Cooperation Plan, which is to be funded by the Global Trust Fund is to be discussed by the Committee on Trade and Development later this month and then jointly costed by the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration and the Committee on Trade and Development.

The International Trade Centre which is jointly operated and funded by the UN and the WTO also plays a key role in Trade Related Technical Assistance and Capacity Building. The value of ITC’s work was specifically noted by Ministers in the Doha Ministerial Declaration and a plea was made for enhancing its programme.

In addition, a number of these decisions have implications for the further development of synergies and closer coordination among our institutions. The WTO looks forward to continuing to work closely with the United Nations and its agencies in favour of trade and development and hopes that the Monterrey Conference will give the necessary impetus to the development of coordinated actions, both among our Members bilaterally and with our institutions, to provide the technical assistance and capacity building for developing and least-developed countries on which the Doha Development Agenda lays emphasis.

These financial and other issues within the ambit of the FFD Conference are of common interest to both the FFD process and the WTO, and the two processes must continue to work together.

Many of the ideas suggested by the Facilitator in the revised draft outcome are embodied in the Doha Ministerial Declaration. While, as a representative of the Secretariat, I cannot speak for the Membership, I would emphasise that the Doha Documents are a tightly negotiated package, and that these form the basis for the work of the WTO in the next three years. I would therefore suggest that the language used within the revised draft outcome, be guided — where appropriate — by the language in the Doha Ministerial Declaration. Some language in the Facilitator's draft outcome goes further than what was agreed at Doha. It is of course for Member States to decide if they can now go beyond Doha. In this connection, the Secretariat has encouraged its membership to ensure that internal coordination mechanisms are adequate to ensure that representatives at the WTO fully brief the New York based representatives on any issue of concern to them, so that a country's individual views on the outcome of the Doha Ministerial meeting, and any subsequent developments, could be voiced.

The WTO hopes that this meeting will give strong support to the Doha Ministerial Declaration and the other decisions taken at Doha. We are also looking forward to finding international support at the highest political level at the Conference itself, for the results of Doha, through, for example, an acknowledgement by the Heads of Government and States that the outcome of the Doha Ministerial is a significant contribution to the FFD process.

Finally, let me once again thank Ambassador Jacoby, who, in her capacity as Co-Chair of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee, kindly attended our last Committee on Trade and Development meeting and updated our Membership with respect to the FFD process and the issues involved in this diverse Conference.

I can also inform you that Mr. Mike Moore, the Director-General of the WTO, has accepted the invitation to attend the High-Level International Conference in March this year and is looking forward to the results of this Preparatory Committee meeting, and to receiving additional details with respect to his participation in the Summit element of the Conference in particular.

In closing, I should like to emphasise that the WTO Secretariat will continue to be available to provide any assistance it can to the preparatory process. We have a joint interest in the success of the Conference, as financing for the very substantial programme of work on building capacity in the developing countries both to participate more effectively and fully in world trade (and thus growth) and to play their full role in the negotiations launched by Doha must be an important part of the results of the Conference. I therefore, on behalf of the WTO Secretariat, hope that we will have a very productive preparatory session which will help to ensure the success of the Conference itself.