implementation and development: the Doha agenda
Doha Declaration explained
Implementation Decision explained
the negotiations are organized
Trade Negotiations Committee
Informal TNC meeting at the level of Head of Delegation
Chairman's Introductory Remarks
Thanks a lot for coming here today at a very short notice but events
have precipitated in the last hours and I feel it is essential that we
lucidly look together at where we are and what remains of our goal of
concluding the Round by the end of the year. I cannot hide the sad
truth: we are in dire straits.
On 1 July, the TNC requested me to conduct intensive and wide-ranging
consultations with the aim of facilitating the urgent establishment of
modalities in agriculture and NAMA. I was also requested to report to
you as soon as possible. As I stated at the time, my aim in these
consultations would be to facilitate and catalyze agreement among
Members, who continued to remain the main actors in the process.
Since then I have undertaken this consultative process as requested,
starting with the members of the G6 and then progressively widening the
circle of my contacts with individual delegations and with groups.
I also attended the outreach session at the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg,
where a number of your Heads of State and Government were present.
very frank with the Leaders, and told them that they needed to revise
their instructions to you and give you more flexibility. My request for
flexibilities was twofold: one, that they improve the numbers on the
table and two, that they agree to adjust what they are ready to pay with
what they can reasonably expect for that price. I also warned them that
failing this, they risked the very situation in which we now find
ourselves. During the meeting there were some encouraging signs of
additional flexibility at that highest political level.
To follow up on these signals, the G6 Ministers held a meeting here
yesterday, chaired by myself with the assistance of the Agriculture and
NAMA Chairs. This was a lengthy and detailed meeting, but at its
conclusion, it remained clear that the gaps remain too wide.
From the discussions over this weekend, it is clear that the main
blockage is on the Agriculture legs of the triangle of issues the G6 has
been trying to address. Despite some improvement on numbers which were
informally floated and in particular on market access for developed
countries, the gap in level of ambition between market access and
domestic support remained too wide to bridge. This blockage was such
that the discussion did not even move on to the third leg of the
triangle — market access in NAMA.
The situation is now very serious. Without the modalities in Agriculture
and NAMA, it is now clear that it will not be possible to finish the
Round by the end of 2006. For one thing, the time necessary to prepare
and finalize the schedules of concessions is just not there.
Furthermore, while discussions among the G6 on a limited number of key
issues have been a precondition to further progress, we need always to
remember that the G6 does not negotiate for the rest of the membership.
There are also many other issues than the so-called triangle which would
remain to be addressed in order to reach agreement on full modalities.
The timing has always been very tight, but the continuing blockage on a
few key points means we have simply run out of time for the rest.
Faced with this persistent impasse, I believe that the only course of
action I can recommend is to suspend the negotiations across the Round
as a whole to enable the serious reflection by participants which is
clearly necessary. Time-out to review the situation, examine available
options and review positions.
In practical terms, this means that all work in all Negotiating Groups
should now be suspended, and the same applies to the deadlines that
various groups were facing.
It also means that the progress made to date on the various elements of
the negotiating agenda is put on hold, pending the resumption of the
negotiations when the negotiating environment is right. Significant
progress has been made in all areas of the negotiations, and we must try
together to reduce the risk that it unravels.
This is what I will suggest at the General Council meeting on Thursday.
I do not intend to propose any new deadlines or a date for resumption of
activity in the Negotiating Groups. This can only come when the
conditions exist to permit renewed progress, and this means changes in
entrenched positions. The ball is clearly in your court. I have
discussed this suggestion with the Chairs of the Negotiating Groups just
before this meeting and they agree with me that this is the best course
of action at this moment.
In the meantime, I urge you all to use this period of reflection for
precisely that — for serious and sober reflection on what is at stake
here. We all know that this is the most ambitious of all the trade
rounds over the past 50 years. In fact, what is already on the table
today is potentially worth two to three times more than previous rounds,
whether for developed or for developing countries.
As I told leaders in St Petersburg, failure of this Round would be a
blow to the development prospects of the more vulnerable Members, for
whom integration in international trade represents the best hope for
growth and poverty alleviation. This is why it is called “the
development round”: it is intended to be a contribution to the
Millennium Development Goals.
Failure, in my view, would also send out a strong negative signal for
the future of the world economy and the danger of a resurgence of
protectionism at a time when the pace of globalization is weighing
heavily on the social and economic fabric of many countries and when
geopolitical instability is on the rise. This is only too obvious if one
looks today at the international situation out there, I mean, outside
All your leaders and governments have repeatedly stressed their desire
to conclude the Round, and it cannot be acceptable that this commitment
is not acted upon. If the political will really exists, there must be a
way. But it is not here today. And let me be clear: there are no winners
and losers in this assembly. Today, there are only losers.
For my part, I will of course continue my contacts with participants at
every level, and I will also remain available to all Members, as will
the Negotiating Group Chairs, for any contacts you may wish to have with
us. My priority as Director-General will continue to be to defend the
integrity of the WTO system and to continue to assist the membership to
You can count on me to do everything I can to keep up the pressure for
the political movement which would permit a resumption of the
negotiations. However, it should remain clear that this must come from
you, the Members. It is how you can achieve this movement that I urge
you all to reflect upon during this time out.
suspended. ‘Today there are only losers.’
Statement by TNC chair Pascal Lamy at the 24 July TNC meeting
(20 mins, 11MB)
Audio from the press conference following the 24 July TNC meeting
(30 mins, 36MB)