implementation and development: the Doha agenda
Doha Declaration explained
Implementation Decision explained
the negotiations are organized
Trade Negotiations Committee
Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee
Since the last meeting of the General Council, the TNC has held two
formal meetings on 28 March and 1 May. An informal meeting also took
place on 24 April. In my report today, I would like to focus mainly on
the two most recent meetings, and to report on the state of play in the
negotiations as I see it.
At our meetings at the end of April and beginning of May, we
collectively faced up to the fact that we had not been able to establish
modalities in Agriculture and NAMA, or reach an agreement on the RTA
Transparency Mechanism, by 30 April. We faced these facts squarely, but
not sensationally. There was disappointment and a sobering realisation
of what is at stake: the more we move into the year, the more we risk to
fail in our endeavour to conclude the Round. We also shared a clear
determination to work towards modalities in agriculture and NAMA in
weeks rather than months.
The discussion at these meetings and the numerous contacts I have had
with Ministers and officials at various levels in recent days have
confirmed that WTO members remain fully committed to the Doha Round, and
to making the concrete progress rapidly. I believe we all realise that
we are now in the red zone, and that we are not far from the red part of
this red zone.
Hence our resolve to work intensively, continuously, on texts and in
The introductory remarks I made at our 1 May meeting are available to
delegations in document JOB(06)/134. In those remarks, I provided
updates on all the different areas of negotiations, and also touched
upon some issues outside the Single Undertaking. I believe that,
overall, the picture is by no means a bleak one. Progress has been made,
notably on parts of the Doha agenda which are not headline catchers.
In the interest of transparency I would want to update you on the
meetings that the Integrated Framework Steering Committee ( IFSC) and
the IF Working Group (IFWG) held last week, mainly focussing on the
preliminary recommendations from the Task Force on an enhanced IF. While
there was general support for the policy prescriptions contained in the
draft recommendations, it was made clear that in line with the mandate
endorsed by Ministers in Hong Kong, all three elements of the mandate
for an enhanced IF were intrinsically interlinked and could not be
separated from each other. The three elements are: increased, additional
predictable funding; strengthened in-country capacity; and improved
decision making and management.
In terms of next steps, the Task Force intends to finalise its
recommendations by the end of May. The IFWG and IFSC will thereafter
need to review and take a decision, possibly in June, and start the next
phase of operationalising the recommendations. It has been emphasised
that the putting in place of transitional arrangements was important to
ensure a smooth transition between the existing IF to the new
But I wish to stress, once again, that all the effort and all the
progress we have made across the whole negotiating agenda could be put
at risk if negotiators fail to unlock the modalities in Agriculture and
NAMA in the coming weeks.
Where are we today?
I believe that we have succeeded in placing Geneva at the centre of the
process. We are in an intensive and continuous negotiating process under
the leadership of the Chairs. Clearly the process they have put in place
has shifted gear in the speed of the negotiations.
However, the engagement of members in bridging gaps and finding
consensus must be improved. Members cannot rely on Chairs to produce
convergence out of thin air. They need to actively participate in
convergence-building by tabling papers, discussing hypothesis and
simulations and definitively abandoning well-know positions. It is time
for convergence towards production of texts for ministerial discussion
in the coming weeks. The more time passes, the more we are all
collectively responsible for ensuring that convergence takes place. We
all prefer to reach this convergence through a bottom-up process, with
no surprises. But in any event, we have to move on.
There is urgency. We have only a very few weeks ahead of us to achieve
consensus where it is most badly needed. The Chairs must have the
assistance of every one of you in achieving consensus.
Let me now turn to the subject of Implementation. As requested by
Ministers at Hong Kong, I have continued my consultative process on all
outstanding implementation issues under paragraph 12(b) of the Doha
Ministerial Declaration, without prejudice to the positions of Members.
I reported in detail to the TNC on 1 May, and I do not intend to repeat
that detail today. The full text of my report was contained in the
document I mentioned earlier, JOB(06)/134.
Since my last report to the General Council, good work has been done,
notably in the areas of GI extension and TRIPS/CBD and this work is
continuing. On all the other Implementation issues, the situation has
not evolved significantly. In many of these areas, the ball is
essentially in the court of the proponents. I think that the time is
fast approaching when we will need to agree on which issues to continue
to pursue. I will, of course, report again on Implementation to the next
meetings of the TNC and General Council.
At our TNC meetings over the past months, we have heard many analogies
on different themes, and last time the theme was sport. So let me add a
sporting analogy of my own concerning — quite naturally, marathon
running. In a race, it is always the last few kilometres which are the
hardest. Even the most experienced and best prepared runner can “hit the
wall”, and the trick in this situation is to find your second wind. It
can be done and often is, and there are no special tricks. Obviously,
physical preparation is crucial to running a marathon. I think we have
had a lot of that. The missing part is not training. But without strong
determination, without the mental resolve to overcome fatigue, the
finishing line may never be crossed.
I believe we are in prime physical condition to finish this race. We are
doing the preparatory technical work — but we now need to push to the
finish, with determination. Someone said that running a marathon is 80%
physical — and 80% mental ! Let's get our bodies and our minds focused
on the finish line.
We can achieve modalities — I am convinced of that, but it is going to
be hard work. We must just get our second wind. As we all know, looking
at developments in the world around us, the stakes are too high for us
Statement by TNC chair Pascal Lamy at the 15 May TNC meeting
(11 mins, 10MB)
Highlights from the statement
(2 mins, 2MB)