Although these frameworks are not final agreements they do include
significant commitments, which Dr Supachai was able to describe as a “truly
Gruelling sessions yield results
back to top
These commitments were negotiated intensively day
and night for two weeks, culminating in a gruelling, non-stop session
involving key ministers and ambassadors, that began at 5pm on Friday 30 July
and lasted almost 24 hours. During the fortnight, there were several
meetings of heads of delegations, intensive consultations and countless
gatherings of various groups, with a number of trade ministers
During the General Council meeting many delegates
commented that the deadlock of the Cancún Ministerial Conference has now
Dr Supachai shared that view. Afterwards, Dr
Supachai listed the achievements:
“For the first time, member governments have agreed to abolish all forms of
agricultural export subsidies by a date certain. They have agreed to
substantial reductions in trade distorting domestic support in agriculture.
“As part of this agreement we have achieved a significant breakthrough in
cotton trade which offers great opportunity for cotton farmers in West
Africa and throughout the developing world.
“Governments have agreed to launch negotiations to set new rules
streamlining trade and customs procedures. We have assigned ourselves
ambitious guidelines for opening trade in manufactured products and we have
set ourselves a clear agenda for improving rules that are of great benefit
to developing countries.
“As importantly, WTO governments have sharpened the focus of the Doha round
and provided a foundation which will enable negotiators to continue these
talks from significantly higher level; greatly enhancing our chances for
successful completion of these important talks,” he said.
Dr Supachai predicted that the progress now made in agriculture,
non-agricultural market access, development issues and trade facilitation
would provide substantial momentum to WTO members’ work in other important
areas such as rules, services, environment, reform of dispute procedures and
intellectual property protection.
“I fully expect that when negotiators return in September negotiations in
these areas and all others will recommence with a high degree of
enthusiasm,” he said.
WTO members can now put behind them the deadlock 10 months earlier at the Cancún ministerial conference, he said.
“Although we were disappointed with that outcome, we have seen here today
that with political courage, commitment and sheer hard work, governments of
the WTO are capable of achieving great things,” he said.
Rewards of ‘arduous’
back to top
General Council chairperson Shotaro Oshima,
Japan’s ambassador to the WTO, said the text “has emerged from an arduous
process of discussions and negotiations”.
Just before he presented the text for the Council
to adopt by consensus, he paid tribute to the ministers, negotiators and
others “for their hard work and patience of these past few days and beyond.
There has been a tremendous amount of committed work by all delegations to
get us to where we are, and I am grateful for the spirit of cooperation and
goodwill shown by all.”
back to top
The final compromises in the package were
negotiated in the last 24 hours by a group of key delegations, including
representatives of all the coalitions that have been active in the latest
phase of the talks. General Council chairperson Oshima presided. During the
consultations those representatives also consulted their coalitions.
The resulting draft
decision was then
discussed and endorsed in an informal meeting of heads of delegations of all
WTO members, which began at 10pm on 31 July. Once a consensus had been
established, it was immediately confirmed in a formal meeting of the General
During the heads of delegations and General Council meetings several members
highlighted where they had reservations, where they had yielded in order to
achieve consensus, or how they interpreted the way ahead under the package.
statements circulated as official documents
(link opens results of document search in new window)
minutes (available some
time after the meeting)
The decision takes the form of an opening main section covering:
agriculture; cotton; non-agricultural market access (or market access for
industrial products); development (including general principles, special and
differential treatment, technical assistance, implementation issues, other
development issues and least-developed countries); services; other
negotiating bodies (rules, trade and environment, intellectual property and
dispute settlement); trade facilitation and the three other “Singapore
issues” (investment, competition policy, transparency in government
procurement); and other parts of the Doha work programme.
Annexed are more details:
a framework for “modalities” for the final
agreement in agriculture. Although a framework, the annex runs to 7 pages.
It includes outlines for formulas for reducing import barriers, export
subsidies and domestic support, which would then be turned into complete
formulas in the “modalities”
a 3-page framework for agreement “modalities in
market access for non-agricultural products
a 1-page recommendation on the services
a 2-page annex containing “modalities” (methods)
for the negotiations on trade facilitation that have now been launched
decision includes some new dates: a deferred deadline for the negotiations
beyond the original 1 January 2005; the next ministerial conference (December 2005 in Hong Kong, China); recommendations on special and differential
treatment by July 2005; revised market opening offers in services by May 2005; and on implementation issues a report to the Trade Negotiations
Committee and General Council by May 2005 with any appropriate action taken
by the council by July 2005.