implementation and development: the Doha agenda
Doha Declaration explained
Implementation Decision explained
the negotiations are organized
Trade Negotiations Committee
by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Since the Sixth Session of the Ministerial Conference, the TNC has held
one formal meeting on 7 February 2006. This first meeting of what can
only be a crucial year for the negotiations launched at Doha, confirmed
three clear messages I had received from my contacts with a wide range
of Members since the beginning of the year:
first, that there is widespread commitment to making good on what was
agreed at Hong Kong,
second, that there is a shared intention to move ahead across the whole
of the DDA, making progress on all issues, and
third, that all interlocutors understand that they will all have to move
from their current positions and are willing to do so by moving “in
Obviously, Agriculture (in particular market access and domestic
support) and NAMA remain the flagships of the convoy, but no-one is in
any doubt that our convoy is a large one. These two issues have an
important role in leading the convoy to port, but we all know that the
convoy must arrive together, this is the very essence of our common
principle of the “Single Undertaking”.
From what was said at the TNC, it was also clear that everyone attaches
the highest importance to making progress in all the various areas of
our negotiations in keeping with the Single Undertaking. For everyone,
the calendar of work set out by Ministers in the Hong Kong Declaration
clearly governs the work ahead of us.
Most delegations saw the paper on timelines which they had received
ahead of the TNC meeting as a useful working tool, and a number of
suggestions were made as to how it might be improved. But as I
underlined, this paper should not become an item of negotiation in its
own right, it does not impose any new obligations on Members and it was
not proposed for adoption by the TNC. It is simply a tool to focus
minds. As also expressed during yesterday's meeting, the only way we can
improve in the area of timelines is by accelerating the work in the
different negotiating groups.
On process, we all share the view that our work must continue to be
based on a bottom-up approach. We also believe that the process should
be open, transparent and inclusive. I think it is only fair to say that
much has done in improving the functioning of the process and ensuring a
good balance between efficiency and legitimacy. I am also certain that
there is room for improvement and indeed we should all continue to try
to improve it.
Finally, and as I said in my concluding remarks at the meeting, we
cannot just continue to talk about calendar and process, we must now
turn to substance. The only way to make progress across the board in
these negotiations is focus on the two main elements we must now develop
– numbers and words, texts. It is only by making progress on these two
crucial components of the final outcome of the negotiations that we can
ensure that the Round is a success. And the only way to do this is to
reduce our remaining differences, but not at the cost of the overall
level of ambition.
Let me now turn to the issue of Implementation, and make my first report
in my role as Director-General, as mandated in the Hong Kong Ministerial
Declaration. Ministers have asked me to intensify 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 have also been asked to report to each regular meeting of
the TNC and the General Council, and the Council is to review progress
and take any appropriate action no later than 31 July 2006.
I have already started intensifying the consultative process, with the
assistance of a number of the Chairpersons of concerned WTO bodies
acting as my Friends and two of my Deputy Directors-General, Valentine
Rugwabiza who will take up the TRIMs issues and Rufus Yerxa for the
issues of GIs and TRIPS/CBD. I have already met with my Friends and
asked them to resume informal consultations as early as next week. I
will report on progress achieved at the next TNC meeting in March and at
subsequent General Council meetings.
The report I made on these issues to the last TNC meeting in November
2005 showed that the situation had not evolved significantly since July,
when the General Council renewed the mandate given to the
Director-General in the July 2004 Decision. It was for this reason and
with the aim of fulfilling the commitment on this issue they undertook
at Doha, that Ministers instructed that we continue this process. They
also reiterated their instructions to all relevant bodies to find
appropriate solutions as a priority. As I have said before, we will need
both flexibility and creativity in our approaches to these issues if we
are to be able to respect our mandate. I count on the co-operation of
all of you in this task.
Thank you, Madam Chair.