Under the arrangements agreed by the General Council on 3 and 8 May, Member Governments
will begin in June a series of Special Sessions of the General Council dedicated to tackle
the thorniest implementation issues and concerns. Those meetings will focus on finding
mutually-acceptable solutions to address the issue of implementation which many Member
Governments believe is the most pressing matter before the WTO. Member Governments have
pledged to complete this process by the Fourth Ministerial Conference which will be held
before year end 2001.
"Since the beginning of
the year, we have sought to build confidence in the WTO and the trading system. In
February, the General Council took decisions to facilitate negotiations on services and
agriculture (see ( February 2000Press Release). Since then, General Council Chairman Kňre
Byrn and my Deputy-Directors General have held intensive consultations with Member
Governments in an effort to put the WTO on course to do the important work that is needed
to raise living standards for working families everywhere. The decisions taken in recent
days, and progress we have made in other areas, set us very much in the right
direction," Mr Moore said.
General Council also agreed today on a method for addressing requests by several Member
Governments for extending the transition period for implementation of the Agreement on
Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs). The General Council directed the Council for
Trade in Goods "to give positive consideration to individual requests" to extend
the transition period, which expired on 1 January 2000. In cases where Member Governments
have not notified the WTO of any measures which may not be in conformity with the TRIMs
Agreement, the General Council agreed that priority should be given to consultations,
under the General Councils aegis, aimed at resolving differences between
Moore also praised 13 Member Governments for taking "a significant step in a
continuing process" of further opening their markets to products from the
Least-Developed Countries. "Collectively, these measures are beginning to add up to
tangible and meaningful market access improvements in favour of LDCs. There is, of course,
more that can and should be done in improving LDCs market access, but this is a good
starting point," Mr Moore told the General Council.
measures taken in the last several days have been of great importance to the future of the
global trading system. Governments have given high priority to the problems faced by the
developing countries in their efforts to become fully engaged partners in world trade.
What the Council has done, sets the right tone for our work this year and next," Mr.
by the General Council in recent days on addressing key problems affecting developing
countries and on seeking procedural improvements to enhance participation by all member
governments, marks a significant step in raising confidence among Member Governments that
the WTO and the multilateral trading system can offer important contributions in promoting
economic growth and development.
Director-General noted that Member Governments were in agreement that technical
cooperation work is a core activity of the WTO and must be funded in a stable manner. In
line with growing support among Member Governments for funding technical cooperation
activities through the regular budget, Mr. Moore indicated that increases in this area
would be reflected in proposals for next year's budget. The Director-General has asked
Member Governments to increase the core budget for technical assistance to CHF 10 million
over three years, from the current level of about CHF 750,000. Over 90% of technical
assistance expenditure is financed through bilateral donations.
Moore also reported to the General Council on his consultations with heads of other
International Organizations on improving co-ordination between them on the Integrated
Framework of Technical Assistance for the LDCs. The six core IF agencies agreed on a
programme of support in October 1997 and Mr. Moore has undertaken to enhance those efforts
by working to make the programme more efficient and better suited to the direct needs of
Moore informed the Council that the six agencies will meet at senior level in New York in
July to report on suggested improvements in the Framework.
a report to the General Council, Chairman Bryn of Norway said that his consultations on
improving internal transparency and the effective participation of all Member Governments
had already yielded some positive results. Since February, Chairman Bryn has sought input
from delegates on how information flow between governments could be improved, how
participation in debate can be enhanced and how all delegates can be made to feel part of
those discussions, he said, member governments have suggested holding more informal
sessions of the General Council and using more effective application of information
technology to ensure better and faster dissemination of information. He suggested that the
Member Governments consider organizing an open-ended information meeting at which
Chairpersons of main WTO bodies can provide delegates with an overview of the state of
play in their various Councils and Committees. The chairman said he would continue to hold
consultations on this matter in the future.
is important to recognize that, while there remains room for improvement, the on-going
debate on internal transparency and the effective participation of all Members has already
positively influenced the way in which informal consultations are conducted in the WTO.
This, however, does not mean that more cannot be done," Chairman Bryn said.
General Council also resolved the question of outstanding chairpersons. Amb. Jorge
Voto-Bernales of Peru will chair the Special Sessions of the Committee on Agriculture
which take up new negotiations. Mr. Yoichi Suzuki of Japan will be the vice-chair
responsible for heading the committees regular business sessions. Amb. Chak Mun See
of Singapore was selected to chair the Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual