on the Seventh WTO Ministerial Conference
> Negotiations, implementation and development: the Doha agenda
> The Doha Declaration explained
> The Implementation Decision explained
> How the negotiations are organized
> The Trade Negotiations Committee
would like to welcome delegations to this meeting whose purpose is to
provide a “wrap-up” to the Senior Officials' week and to share with you
my assessment of this week's activities, including the Green Room that I
held yesterday afternoon.
I met this morning with the Negotiating Chairs to briefly exchange views
on their evaluation of the past week and the signals they had detected
in their various meetings. We all agreed that this Senior Officials Week
had been both a timely and useful exercise with the Ministerial
Conference just around the corner.
Let me briefly provide you with my assessment of the activities in each
of those areas that held consultations over the past five days.
In Agriculture, the Chair continued his consultations during this
week, including a Room E meeting with Senior Officials yesterday. The
outcome of these consultations is that on templates, Step 1 is moving
towards initial outcomes with some outstanding issues to be taken up in
the week of 7 December; at that time, Step 2 (drawing up the draft
templates) will also be engaged. Separately, there will be a start to
the verification process of some base data. On modalities, the Chair
expects to consult on technical work in various issues, including the
SSM [Special Safeguard Mechanism] and tariff simplification and expects
to receive a report on ongoing work between delegations on tropical
products and preference erosion. He will also look to engage with
members on the work plan for the new year.
On NAMA [non-agricultural market access], there is a feeling that
progress is being made on NTBs [non-tariff barriers], but that more
technical work is required. The NTB proposals appear to be at different
levels of maturity, with one or even a few almost ripe for a text-based
discussion. On preference erosion, as in the past, there is a shared
sense that this subject has to be handled with care. The sectoral
negotiation remains a proponent-led process, with the proponents
pursuing their number-based outreach activities. On the case-specific
flexibilities, namely Argentina, South Africa and Venezuela, members
appear open to further discussion. A NAMA week has been scheduled for
the week of 7 December. NTBs will again be the main focus of attention.
The Chair has called for updated texts as well as for submissions of any
outstanding proposals by that date.
On Services, the discussions this time round focused on the
rule-making negotiations in services and the implementation of LDC
[least-developed countries] modalities. On rule-making, namely, Domestic
Regulation, Emergency Safeguard Measures, Subsidies and Government
Procurement, there was a sense of good engagement among Senior Officials
and Heads of Delegations. There was recognition that, as expected,
Domestic Regulation is at a much more advanced stage than the other
three subjects. In the Working Party, negotiations have been taking
place on the basis of a revised draft text presented by the Chairperson.
Of course, the text will be subject to subsequent revisions in the light
of future progress. There are still, however, divergences that need to
be resolved. On the other three areas, more intensive work is needed to
clarify the way forward.
On the implementation of LDC modalities, the discussions focused on a
proposed text for a waiver allowing members, notwithstanding the MFN
[most-favoured nation] obligation, to extend preferential treatment to
services and service suppliers of LDCs. Fernando will be convening
another Enchilada meeting in the week of 14 December when senior
officials return to Geneva.
On Rules, the Negotiating Group met in an open-ended informal
format with the participation of senior officials and heads of
delegation. The Chair provided an overview of the evolution of the
negotiations, the state of play, and the process he envisioned going
forward. On AD [anti-dumping] and CVD [countervailing duties] he
observed that there had been no further convergence on the big political
issues over the past year, and that participants would not negotiate
compromises until the overall direction of the Round became clearer. On
fisheries subsidies, the Chair envisioned completing the roadmap
discussions in December, beginning the consideration of alternative
proposals by participants, and considering various issues such as
specificity. On RTAs [Regional Trade Agreements], the Chair proposed to
consult the Chair of the CRTA [Committee on Regional Trade Agreements]
to see the extent to which the work of the CRTA, specifically a work
programme on topics suggested by members, could feed further discussions
in the Negotiating Group.
The Chair plans to advance the Group's work by holding a series of
technical meetings in December.
On TRIPS [trade-related intellectual property rights] Special
Session, the Chair held a formal meeting this morning where he presented
his report in document TN/IP/19 containing an assessment of the status
of the issues. The report identifies areas of emerging convergence and
potential compromise in the key areas of the negotiation, namely legal
effects and participation. To guide future work, the report sets out
five Guiding Principles that are intended to focus the future
negotiations on the gateway issues. Members appreciated the Chair's
balanced reflection of members' positions and, although they did not see
all their concerns reflected in the report, they accepted the Chair's
constructive suggestions as a basis for future work.
As you all know, Amb. Clarke is stepping down as chair of the Special
Session after the Ministerial Conference to take up a senior appointment
in WIPO. We thank Trevor wholeheartedly for his patience and his
creative efforts in this difficult task and wish him well with his new
On Environment, consultations by the CTESS [Committee on Trade
and Environment — Special Session] Chair showed overall strong support
for moving forward on all parts of the mandate pursuant to the Work
Programme and the timeframes contained therein. On the issue of the
relationship between the WTO and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs),
participants generally agreed that the proposals on the table provided a
good basis to develop a text for negotiation.
As regards the work on Environmental Goods, the Chair emphasized the
need for broad-based engagement and substantive inputs from members,
both on environmental goods of interest and cross-cutting issues, in the
lead-up to the February meeting. It was further noted that linkages with
other areas of the negotiations should not prevent the work from moving
ahead. Several senior officials observed that the work in the
environmental pillar should achieve a level of clarity and
predictability by the time that an agreement is reached on Agriculture
and NAMA modalities.
The overall assessment of work undertaken since September shows that
progress has been made on a range of technical issues across the board,
even if for the moment we have not seen closing gaps in so-called “big
ticket items”, which will need to be accelerated. The sense that I got
from my consultations is that you very much want to keep the negotiating
machine moving, including with the regular involvement of Senior
With respect to the next steps, I also get the sense that you are
willing to build on progress made to date and to build on the current
level of ambition across the board. The Delhi work programme will come
to an end with the Senior Officials Week beginning on 14 December and
there is a general feeling that it would be useful to also use that week
to discuss the further process, including collectively taking stock
during the first quarter of next year whether the 2010 deadline remains
With respect to MC7, the general assessment was that Ministers were
coming to Geneva to review and provide guidance on the WTO and the
multilateral trading system. I believe it would also be useful to get
their guidance as to how they see engagement in the Doha negotiations
post-December, so that this could inform the December Senior Officials
I hope this relatively detailed overview of this week's activities is
helpful to delegations as they prepare to receive their ministers over
the weekend. As I said on Monday, we all have an interest in approaching
next week's meeting in a constructive and positive manner and I hope
that by applying the General Council Chairman's principle of Full
Participation, Inclusiveness and Transparency we have set the tone for
the ministerial gathering.
I would now like to pass the floor to the General Council Chair for a
few practical announcements.
Finally, since this will be our last meeting before the Opening of the
Ministerial, if any delegation has any question or observation to make
regarding MC7, both Mario and myself will be happy to address them.
The floor is open.
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