Doha Declaration explained
Implementation Decision explained
the negotiations are organized
Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Since I last reported to the General Council in July, work in the DDA
negotiations was taken up again at the level of the Negotiating Groups
following the summer break. The TNC held an informal meeting last week,
to take a look at where we are in these negotiations and to consider the
In my opening statement at that meeting, which was subsequently
circulated to delegations in document Job(08)/100, I noted that it was
encouraging that negotiators here had got back to work quickly and
seriously after the July setback. However, I also noted that it was
necessary to situate these encouraging signs against the sombre backdrop
of the global financial crisis, which has given added importance and
urgency to our work.
In my July report, I highlighted the fact that many delegations had
signalled very clearly their determination to press ahead with the
negotiations. Since then, the responses I have had in my contacts with a
wide range of Members have confirmed that the collective commitment to
the Round remains strong. Although it is clear that the Round will not
be concluded this year, I believe it is still possible to reach
agreement on modalities and the Ministers with whom I have spoken are
all determined to push ahead. As underlined by many of you, considerable
progress has been made, in July and earlier, and I believe a renewed
effort could bring us to the point where agreement on modalities is
The work in the Negotiating Groups has now resumed in earnest. The focus
is now, as it should be, on the multilateral process, which will
continue in all areas of the negotiations in the spirit with which we
have worked up to now Ś a step-by-step and bottom-up approach. All the
Negotiating Groups have programmes of meetings and consultations over
the coming weeks, in particular Agriculture and NAMA which remain key to
further progress across the board. Any ministerial involvement which
might become necessary will take place when the moment is right.
Let me now come back in more detail to the financial crisis. I suggested
at the informal TNC that this may also be having a direct impact on
developing-country access to financing of imports and exports. As
everyone is aware, we have held a number of meetings on this issue at
the WTO with both multilateral institutions and private banks, the last
one in April this year, to check availability of trade financing at
affordable rates. Up until then, the situation seemed to be stable with
volumes and rates at normal levels. But just this week Brazil brought
this issue to the forefront.
Given the deterioration of the financial landscape, and despite the
welcome announcement last week by the World Bank International Finance
Corporation of an increase in its trade financing programme by $500
million, I have reconvened major providers of trade finance to a meeting
on 12 November to examine this issue and find ways to alleviate the
situation if it was to deteriorate. One third of the world economy,
mainly in emerging countries, still has a big growth potential and we
must try and make sure that this engine can work through trade.
We will follow this up in the Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance
at the end of November. I have also constituted a Task Force within the
Secretariat to follow up the effects of financial crisis on our
different areas of work. If there are indications that the financial
situation could be having serious implications more generally for trade
or the trading system, I shall consult with you, Mr. Chairman, on the
possibility of convening a General Council meeting under our Coherence
mandate. I suggest we keep the situation under review, and be ready to
act as necessary.
Finally, yesterday trade took centre stage with the award of the Nobel
economics prize to an economist who has spent a great part of his life
trying to better understand trade and its economic underpinnings, the
relationship between trade and inequality or the relationship between
multilateralism and regionalism. I see this as an encouraging signal to
all of us.
That concludes my report today, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
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