> Negotiations, implementation and development: the Doha agenda
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> The Implementation Decision explained
> How the negotiations are organized
> The Trade Negotiations Committee
Statement by Pascal Lamy
I would like to welcome everyone to this
informal meeting of the TNC [Trade Negotiations Committee].
I thought it would be useful to review, before the General Council next
week, where we are in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations and
consider the road ahead. Let me report to you on my most recent
activities and meetings before we engage in an exchange of views on the
work and next steps in the DDA over the coming few months.
Since I reported to you at the May Council, the world economy has
remained fragile and the economic outlook is still uncertain. Although
financial markets have recently shown signs of stabilization, and the
trade contraction — now forecast at 10 per cent in volume - seems to be
beginning to bottom out, it is unclear how, and how long it will take
us, to exit the crisis. Although Asia is starting to see a rebound in
trade from the very low figures in the first quarter of the year, I
would caution against excessive optimism. Unemployment continues to be
on the rise and its full social and political effects are still to be
Against this uncertain backdrop, it is encouraging that many world
leaders have signalled very clearly their determination to press ahead
with the Doha negotiations and move them to a conclusion very soon.
Negotiators here in Geneva have heeded the calls of leaders and got back
to work quickly and seriously. The collective commitment to the Round
remains very strong. As I have said before, this crisis is unprecedented
in its width, depth and global impact. We must therefore act
collectively to send the right signals and establish an appropriate
trade environment for a sustainable recovery for all.
Since the May General Council I reported on a number of meetings I had
attended as well as on a series of contacts with Ministers and other
policy makers. I also previewed an intense series of meetings that I was
to attend and have just concluded with the very fruitful APEC Trade
Ministerial Retreat in Singapore.
At the meetings of Ministers and Heads of State and government in Bali,
Paris, L'Aquila and in Singapore, I have stressed three fundamental
messages: (i) we need to keep trade open and resist protectionist
measures; (ii) the best way to keep trade open is to keep opening trade,
hence the need to conclude the Doha Round as soon as possible. In light
of this, I invited leaders to give the necessary instructions and
flexibility to their negotiators and Senior Officials so as to
facilitate the narrowing of differences and accelerate decision-making
in Geneva and, (iii) we must implement on the ground commitments to Aid
for Trade and continue to provide the oil that runs the machinery of
international trade — trade finance.
From all these interactions and in the communiqués issued after these
meetings, there were firm statements of rejection of protectionist
measures. I sensed a genuine and strong renewal of political commitment
to re-engage in the Doha negotiations and to conclude it in 2010. There
were expressions of the need to fill in remaining gaps as soon as
possible and of the desire to enhance transparency and understanding of
what is on the table. I was encouraged by the determination to avoid
theological discussions and instead engage in the common purpose of
finding a pragmatic way forward. In sum, a change in atmospherics and a
point of arrival.
I will continue these contacts with the objective of keeping the focus
on the need to advance the Round, including at the upcoming Trade
Ministers' meeting to be hosted by India and the G20 Leaders summit in
Pittsburgh in September.
It is clear that for political leaders we are now entering the end-game.
Therefore, we need to urgently translate this change in atmospherics
into a clear path for engagement across the board in the negotiations in
Geneva so that we can get to the arrival point on time. My sense, from
my recent discussions with a number of you, is that it is important that
we end July with a clear view of the next steps.
Both tracks which we discussed at our last TNC need to be re-energised
and focused. Starting with multilateral work in all negotiating groups.
This has been, is and will be the centre of our negotiations.
Bilateral discussions, on which a number of you are engaged, also need
to be energised and you need to drill into specifics. We need to see
serious and honest engagement taking place now. However, bilateral
engagement should not be a reason for slowing the multilateral process
or for holding it up. The two processes now have to move simultaneously.
It also remains clear, of course, that decision-making belongs only to
the multilateral track. To reinforce this point, it is important to have
the maximum possible transparency about any bilateral contacts.
My contacts also indicate agreement that scheduling in Agriculture and
NAMA [Non-Agricultural Market Access] must follow the principle of “no
surprises”. This means that all significant issues relating to schedules
must be clear at the time modalities are established. In keeping with
the Single Undertaking, a commensurate level of certainty will also be
required in the other Negotiating Groups. This implies that delegations
must start thinking of the signals to send to all Chairs about what
would be “big-ticket” items for them. There will also have to be
collective agreement not to take “hostages”. Finally, more horizontal
processes to address political sensitivities across the board have to be
put in place from September on.
Against this background, I now wish to turn to each of the negotiating
areas and provide you with a brief outline of the state-of-play as well
as an insight into the sort of road map envisaged by Chairs of
Negotiating Groups in the weeks after the summer break.
As you know, work in agriculture is continuing, particularly in light of
the renewed political mandate from the G20 and G8. The Revision 4
bracketed and annotated areas needing further work have been identified.
These include SSM [Special Safeguard Mechanism] (especially the
architecture), cotton, issues related to sensitive products, preference
erosion and tropical products, TRQ [Tariff Rate Quota] expansion as well
as tariff simplification. The Chair has indicated that consultations are
underway to determine how best to broach these issues, with a view to a
steady programme of technical work in late-summer through to the autumn.
The aim is to complete as much as possible of the outstanding technical
work so as to set the stage for decisions on more political issues.
Discussions are on-going on the templates for scheduling and on the
required format of support tables and data needs — both for completion
of the templates and for the establishment of modalities and of the
time-lines and process for scheduling and verification. It will be
important for members to take ownership of this matter so that you can
be fully ready, with agreed time lines and formats, to complete the
scheduling process in agriculture once modalities are established. This
is a very necessary, non-political work that should continue with
greater focus through the autumn.
In NAMA, apart from a number of open-ended transparency sessions in the
first half of this year the Negotiating Group has also held two
dedicated sessions on NTBs [Non-Tariff Barriers]. These sessions were
useful in that they helped delegations to focus on the legal texts. The
Group has also been looking at scheduling issues, and a Workshop on
Electronic Negotiating Files was organized the week of 13 July. The
feedback I have received concerning that Workshop has been very
On sectorals, the process continues to be led by the sponsors of such
initiatives. During the first half of this year, the sponsors have been
doing detailed technical work with a view to engaging with their trading
partners on a factual basis with numbers, sector-by-sector simulations
and country-by-country analysis. I know that the Chair has met
separately with a number of these groups, who seem to be at the stage of
completing the technical work and commencing their outreach activities
with trading partners.
Consultations on the case-specific flexibilities have also taken place
in order to see whether there have been any developments on those
issues. I believe that at this moment there are no developments to
Concerning the work programme for the coming months, the Chair has
planned three NAMA weeks starting in September at which time the
emphasis will be on advancing the NTBs negotiations. This is an area
where much work remains to be done. Regarding the other open issues, the
Chair's intention is to take them up when members are ready to engage on
In connection with the scheduling workshops in both Agriculture and NAMA,
I am aware that some of you have raised the need to provide technical
assistance for your capital-based officials so that they can be fully
prepared for scheduling when the time comes. This need is now factored
into our Technical Assistance planning for the coming months. As always,
this planning is being done in cooperation with all delegations
concerned who are invited to contact the Secretariat concerning specific
needs that may arise.
Over the past few months, activity in the Services Special Session has
focused mainly on technical work. This has taken the form of bilateral
and plurilateral discussions, as well as friends' groups gatherings,
held on the margins of the usual services clusters. The technical
discussions have centered on understanding better the requests and
potential offers, and obtaining further precision on the results of last
July's Ministerial Signalling Conference. The subsidiary bodies have
also met and a Seminar on Financial Services and a Scheduling Workshop
have taken place.
The implementation of LDC [Least-Developed Countries] modalities has
always been an important topic in the services negotiations and
consultations are continuing on an anticipated submission regarding an
LDC Waiver mechanism.
Looking ahead, Members agree that, in the context of the DDA, work in
services should continue on the basis of last July's Report by the Chair
of the Special Session, as well as Annex C of the Hong Kong Ministerial.
Work in this area should also be accelerated, both on market access as
well as GATS [General Agreement on Trade in Services] rules. The next
cluster of services meetings has been fixed for the week of 5 October.
In the Rules area, the Chair circulated new texts on anti-dumping and
horizontal subsidies in December 2008. The Negotiating Group has met
regularly to review those texts, with sessions in February, March, May
and June/July of this year. Delegations are working systematically
through the issues, taking up both bracketed and un-bracketed issues in
the texts, as well as reverting to issues not addressed in the Chair's
texts. Members have also begun a process, based on documents prepared by
the Secretariat at the request of the Chair, to consider whether
differences between the anti-dumping and countervailing provisions of
the two Agreements might benefit from harmonization. The Chair expects
to continue this work in the Autumn, with a meeting scheduled for
mid-September and a further meeting expected in October.
With respect to fisheries subsidies, delegations continue to work
through the road map circulated at the same time as the December 2008
texts. The Chair has indicated that he expects to complete the
discussion of the road map during the course of the Autumn, with a next
meeting already scheduled for September and a further meeting expected
in October. Following the completion of the road map discussion, the
Chair intends to provide delegations with an opportunity to present any
alternative visions as to the structure and substance of fisheries
You will recall that the Chair emphasized when he issued his December
2008 text that he was taking the bottom-up approach to negotiations that
delegations had requested. It is his hope that the intensive ongoing
discussions will put him in a position where he will be able to issue
texts, hopefully reflecting some degree of convergence, which can only
come from members.
On regional trade agreements, there are two issues that need to be
discussed: one is a review of the Transparency Mechanism with a view to
making it permanent, and the second is systemic issues. On the first,
members still feel that they are building up experience in the
implementation of the Mechanism and therefore prefer to wait before
undertaking the review. On systemic issues, discussions are dependent on
the submission of text-based proposals by members. And although ideas
have been floated on this issue in the context of preparations for the
Ministerial Conference, no specific text-based proposal has yet been
tabled. I understand that the Chair intends to hold an informal meeting
of the Group to determine how to take the process forward.
With respect to the Special Session of the Council for TRIPS (the work
on the register of geographical indications (GIs) for wines and
spirits), the intensification of technical work since November 2008 has
led to useful clarifications of the written proposals on the table,
including with regard to how the various proponents for a register of
GIs for wines and spirits would see their proposals implemented at the
national level. Considerable work has already been done on certain
issues such as those relating to the elements of notification and
registration of the Register. But further progress is likely to depend
on resolution of two key issues on which members remain divided: first,
the legal and procedural implications for national law and
administration of registering a GI for wines and spirits; and second,
the voluntary or mandatory character of members' participation in the
register. Other issues, such as costs and burdens and special and
differential treatment, also need further negotiations.
The Special Session Chair has called for a structured, substantive
discussion on the outstanding issues. To this end, he will intensify as
from September consultations with members and substantive discussions.
The Chair has also called for a new or revised member paper and, if no
such paper emerges, he would not exclude the possibility of a Chair's
text identifying the outstanding issues and options for resolving them.
As regards the CTE [Committee on Trade and Environment] in Special
Session, informal open ended transparency meetings were held in March
and July, with Chair's consultations on the way forward also taking
place during this period. While there may have been a lack of “traction”
to move ahead with the work in the first part of the year - given
obvious linkages with the work of other negotiating groups - there now
seems to be a sense of readiness to proceed on the basis of the July
2008 Work Programme.
The Committee will be meeting again in September and a Workshop on
Environmental Goods and Services will be held back-to-back. This event
will provide an opportunity for further analysis and discussions of
environmental goods and technology sectors, in addition to addressing
development-related aspects of the mandate.
The roadmap for work after September is set out in the July 2008 Work
Programme. On sub paragraphs 31(i) and 31(ii), apart from certain issues
that will require further consultations, the next step will be
text-based negotiations on the basis of members' proposals. As regards
sub paragraph 31(iii), members will be invited to put forward
submissions identifying environmental goods of interest including goods
that may be targeted as part of a request-offer process — as well as
concrete proposals as to how the Committee may address cross-cutting or
development related issues under the mandate.
Work on special and differential treatment this year has mainly focused
on the elements of a Monitoring Mechanism. This work, which has largely
taken place in small groups, was initially based on the submissions
tabled by a few developed and developing country members. Later, based
on these submissions and the discussions that took place, the Chairman
tabled a non-paper highlighting the possible areas of convergence. This
non-paper seeks to identify elements on which there is a greater degree
of convergence and those elements on which further work is required.
On the six Agreement-specific proposals on which Members had been
focusing, the Chairman indicated that the positions were not too far
apart. But he had put the discussion on these proposals on hold because
it had appeared that there was not the necessary flexibility to move the
On the Category II Agreement-specific proposals, the Secretariat has
attempted to identify those proposals that are being addressed, either
in part or in their entirety, in the ongoing work in the different WTO
bodies including in the negotiating bodies. The next stage will be to
consider, in collaboration with the relevant Chairpersons, the best way
to expedite progress on these proposals, particularly those that are not
being addressed as part of ongoing work.
On the way forward, the Chair has indicated that he intends to continue
concentrating on further refining the elements of the Monitoring
Mechanism on the basis of his non-paper. This work will continue in
small group consultations, but with the usual open-ended transparency
meetings to keep all members up to speed on any developments.
On the Agreement-specific proposals, the Chairman has informed me that
he may consider attempting to close the remaining gaps on the six
proposals, which members had earlier been addressing. I believe that the
gaps are few and that we are not too far from convergence which would
then enable us to add these six proposals to our existing list of 28
proposals agreed to in principle.
The Trade Facilitation negotiations have advanced to a stage where the
parameters of the envisaged Agreement are beginning to take clear shape.
After several rounds of reviewing the proposed texts, members have
reached a point where they now have a good sense of the measures it is
going to contain. Progress has also been made on the S&D side where
elements of the targeted implementation mechanism are starting to
Having recently concluded a round of revising their negotiating texts,
members agreed on taking the refinement and consolidation process to the
next level by moving into a focussed drafting mode. A first test of the
new working method was undertaken earlier this month and will be rolled
out more broadly in the fall. To that end, two meetings have been
scheduled starting at the beginning of October.
Work on the implementation pillar will have to advance as well. Progress
will be captured in a summary document prepared by the Friend of the
Chair. Combining the current three documents, it will bring the
different elements together in a sequential manner, allowing members to
base their negotiations on a comprehensive package of ideas.
Allow me now to address dispute settlement, even if it is not part of
the Single Undertaking. Work in the Special Sessions since the beginning
of the year has focused on a discussion of the draft legal text
contained in the Chairman's document of last July, which members
recognized as the basis for future work at the end of last year.
During the last consultations the Chairman announced that he expects to
hold another three sets of consultations before the end of the year. The
Chairman's objective is to be in a position to present a revised draft
legal text as soon as possible.
Let me now briefly move to the issues related to GI extension and the
relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD [Convention on
Biological Diversity]. I have continued consultations pursuant to the
mandate given to me in paragraph 39 of the Hong Kong Ministerial
Declaration to intensify this process and to report to you regularly. I
have undertaken these consultations personally since March 2009, so far
convening four meetings with a group of delegations and focusing on
technical aspects of these issues. I will provide the full membership
with a detailed report on this process at an open-ended consultation
this Monday, 27 July. I will subsequently report to the General Council
next Tuesday, 28 July.
A few words on Aid for Trade. I think the timing of the Second Global
Review of Aid for Trade here in Geneva a couple of weeks ago was
important both in terms of assessing the overall performance of this
initiative and in seeking additional and substantial commitments from
donors in the quest to build capacity to trade for developing countries.
The presence of Ministers, the United Nations Secretary General and the
heads of international and regional institutions, including financial
institutions, sent a strong signal of the importance of international
cooperation in the face of the current economic down-turn. Of course,
Aid for Trade is not part of the ongoing DDA talks, but I firmly believe
that the objectives of enhancing growth prospects by helping countries
overcome their supply-side constraints and increase their
competitiveness and their effective participation in world trade places
Aid for Trade at the centre of our trade and development agenda.
This brings me to the end of my report. I am sorry it has been lengthy,
but I believe it is important at this stage of our work to share a full
and clear picture of the road ahead.
We have come a long way, and we are not far from our journey's end. But
we know that the last stretch will be a tough one.
From the road map I have just described the autumn will be a very busy
period. We have to ensure that the whole caravan moves forward together
and arrives on time. I am confident we can do this if we keep our
commitment strong and match it with action. I hope you will all make the
most of the holiday period so that we can come back refreshed and ready
for a busy and productive autumn.
The floor is open for your comments.
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