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Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee
Thank you Mr Chairman.
Since my last report to the General Council in February members, of
course, met for a week at the end of March to take stock of where we are
in the context of the Doha Development Agenda. I do not intend to
reiterate what was said during the TNC [Trade Negotiations Committee]
meeting other than to repeat that I found the exercise both useful and
constructive, particularly as it clearly demonstrated that nobody is
contemplating dropping the ball. Everyone remains very much committed to
the mandate of the Round and to its successful conclusion. That was the
spirit which I saw during the stocktaking exercise and I think the
message that went out to the world reflected this.
The multilateral stocktaking exercise has also provided a very useful
input to the contacts which are continuing among members, including at
ministerial level. I have taken part in a number of such meetings and
have also been able to follow up on a bilateral and plurilateral basis.
As you know, I have recently attended the 35th Cairns Group Ministerial
Meeting, in Punta del Este, Uruguay. I also had the opportunity to meet
with a number of colleagues in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. At
the end of April I also participated in the Spring meetings of the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, where I took
advantage of the presence of a number of ministers to argue in favour of
sustaining our efforts on Aid for Trade. The agreement reached to
recapitalise the World Bank as well as progress made in recapitalising
Regional Development Banks is certainly a positive step in that
My principal impression from all of these contacts and meetings
reinforced the commitment and determination expressed by members in this
room at the end of March. I also found that ministers were well-informed
and up-to-date on the latest state-of-play from Geneva — something I
believe is of crucial importance for our further process. Everyone I
have met has reinforced the need to maintain the centrality of the
multilateral dimension of the negotiations, to build on what is already
on the table in the form of Chairs' texts and to keep development as
central to the outcome of the Round.
In terms of process, since the stocktaking we have begun implementing
the so-called “cocktail approach”. Ingredient number one: the Chairs of
the different negotiating groups have either already begun their
consultations or have scheduled meetings over the coming weeks. They are
ready to foster a discussion among members respecting the rhythm of work
and maturity of individual issues. But they will not be able to work out
of thin air and they will need your input and contributions.
Ingredient number two: members have started meeting among themselves in
a variety of formats and configurations, on specific areas, as well as
on a horizontal level. These are still very preliminary contacts. It is
now important that these discussions move into specifics so that some
“give and take” can take place. This will not happen overnight and I am
sure they need to be given adequate time and space. Of course, in due
time, we all expect to hear more about these initiatives in the interest
of transparency and inclusiveness.
Third ingredient, I am also starting my own consultations with
delegations in various formats to explore the horizontal stage of the
negotiations. To maintain an overview of the entire negotiating
landscape, I intend to hold more frequent meetings with groups, in order
to ensure that all voices are heard and the principles of transparency
and inclusiveness are fully respected.
Now, Mr Chairman, let me turn to a brief overview of the individual
The negotiations in agriculture continue on two
tracks, templates and on the bracketed or otherwise annotated issues in the
draft modalities. On templates, and on the associated work on base data,
Step 2 has been engaged to draw up drafts of the actual proposed formats for
the scheduling process. An informal open-ended meeting was held yesterday on
this exercise; it will continue in the week of 17 May. Members are actively
involved. On modalities, the Chair will continue his consultations in the
week of 17 May, including, of course the SSM [Special Safeguard Mechanism].
NAMA [non-agricultural market access]
The next NAMA week is scheduled for the week of 17
May. The focus during that week will be on NTBs [non-tariff barriers]. The
Chairman has also requested that any input for that week's discussion be
submitted before 7 May in order to provide adequate time for all delegations
to come prepared.
Since the stocktaking exercise, an informal
open-ended Special Session was held, on 20 April, to begin a detailed
examination of the draft text for the LDC [least-developed countries]
Waiver. A productive exchange of views took place on the draft, with a
moderate momentum to the discussion. During the week of 26 April, the main
services negotiating groups — the Special Session, the Working Party on
Domestic Regulation and the Working Party on GATS [General Agreement on
Trade in Services] Rules — met formally, to continue their technical
discussions. The next negotiating meetings in services are set to take place
during the week of 28 June.
On trade facilitation, members are preparing for
the upcoming negotiating cluster scheduled to begin at the end of this month
(31 May — 4 June). Several exchanges are taking place amongst delegations in
a variety of formats and configurations. The Draft Consolidated Negotiating
Text has been revised to reflect the outcome of the last session of the
Group. It will be the basis of further negotiations at the May meeting.
Special and differential treatment
On special and differential treatment, work in the
Special Session has focused on fine tuning elements of the Monitoring
Mechanism. Largely undertaken in the small group format, the work has been
carried out on the basis of the Chairman's non-paper of 3 November 2009.
Some progress has been made, albeit slow, on elements of the Monitoring
Mechanism. However, there are still a number of areas where members continue
to have divergent views, including on their perception of the mandate under
which this Mechanism is being established, as well as the whole 'sequencing
issue'. Clearly, members will need to further focus and intensify their
efforts in order to reach convergence on the different elements of the
In the coming weeks the Chairman of the CTD [Committee on Trade and
Development] Special Session intends to revise his non-paper on the
Monitoring Mechanism, so as to capture the progress made so far. This
non-paper will then form the basis of future work. The Chair also intends to
take up the Agreement-specific proposals in these meetings as well as
continue his contact with the Chairs of other WTO bodies to expedite
progress on Category II proposals.
The CTE [Committee on Trade and Environment]
Special Session is tentatively scheduled to meet at the end of June. Further
to his report in TN/TE/19, the Chair will hold discussions under Paragraph
31(i) focusing on the five clusters of issues identified in the report with
the objective of achieving more clarity and specificity in terms of
language. With respect to Paragraph 31(iii), members will need to review the
proposals on the table put forward under the work programme. It is hoped
that by the time of the next CTESS [Committee on Trade and Environment
Special Session] meeting, there will be new outcome-specific proposals for
members to consider, in particular as regards the universe of environmental
goods of interest.
As announced at the stocktaking in March, the
Chairman of the DSB [Dispute Settlement Body] Special Session intends to
start a more intensive process, in which it will be necessary for
delegations to engage on the basis of the comments received in the previous
phase. Over the coming months, he will conduct the work around group
meetings in variable geometry depending on the subject to be discussed. The
first week of negotiations in this more intensive phase of the DSU [Dispute
Settlement Understanding] negotiations is scheduled for the week of 17 May.
TRIPS [Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights]
With respect to TRIPS Special Session, Ambassador Darlington Mwape
circulated a report to the TNC for the purposes of the stocktaking exercise.
As indicated in this report, the Chairman will hold a formal meeting of the
Special Session on 10 June. He will consult delegations in the week of 31
May-4 June to prepare for the formal meeting.
Finally, turning to the two TRIPS issues, as you are aware, I have been
mandated by paragraph 39 of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration to pursue
consultations as Director-General, and not as Chair of the TNC, on the
relationship between TRIPS and the Convention on Biological Diversity and on
the extension of Article 23 GI [geographical indications] protection.
Pursuant to my report at the 22 March meeting of the General Council, I am
consulting with Members as to the best way forward.
In sum, we have the blender, we know which are the ingredients, it is just
about time we start shaking them to be able to serve the cocktail before the
[At the end of the meeting]
This morning I got so carried away with the
preparation of the cocktail that I forgot to mention the state-of-play in
the Rules area. You have all been kind enough not to notice it, probably
because like me, you have been the victim of this Freudian slip which is
that life of the Rules negotiations goes on but our friend Guillermo leaves
us. That is probably what has generated this confusion in my mind.
As we all know Guillermo has had to deal with
extremely tough issues and has spent quite a lot of time trying to adjust,
and convince as all Chairs have to do. For instance, he had to argue that
zero was not one, but no zero was zero. He had to argue that fisheries
subsidies don’t need to produce more fish, but less fish. He also had to
argue that substantially all trade is of course all trade, but not exactly
all trade. He made his best efforts to convince us that below-cost financing
may sometimes be above-average cost financing. These are a few issues which
he has been playing with. Of course a number of these issues are left to his
Let us conclude that Guillermo has no default. He
may recognize at the extreme borderline that he may have a few non-qualities
but he will, I am sure leave it there. Above all, he is a friend, a personal
friend, a friend of the organization, and a friend of the system. Not
surprisingly given his nationality we all know good friends may leave
physically but they remain with us and I am sure like a number of his
illustrious Uruguayan predecessors they will remain with us. Our doors will
be open to you as they are open to them, and we know full well that there is
a huge reservoir of wisdom, and experience which for sure we will use for
the future. So in my name, and in the name of the Secretariat, Guillermo,
best of luck!
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