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statement distributed to G-90 Ministers
With only three weeks to go before the end of July deadline, the
Director-General asked G-90 ministers to consider the substantial
benefits which will accrue to them should the round succeed but he
warned them that it would be the developing countries which would pay
the heaviest price in the event of a failure.
“Should we reach agreement this month, the Doha round will be back on
track. An agreement would lock in a firm commitment by developed
countries to eliminate all forms of agricultural export subsidies. It
would pave the way for a final accord which would open markets for
developing country exports of agricultural and non-agricultural
products. It would also result in more equitable WTO rules for
developing countries. But should we fail, we will have nothing to show
for nearly three years of work in the Doha round and I believe it will
be quite some time before we have another opportunity to advance these
negotiations,” Dr. Supachai said.
Dr. Supachai, together with General Council Chairman Shotaro Oshima, is
currently preparing a draft package for negotiators to consider. The
text, which will be issued this week, will seek to bridge
differences among the 147 WTO Members in non-agricultural market access,
trade facilitation, services, development-related issues and in
agriculture, including the question of cotton subsidies. The
Director-General had intended to go to Mauritius for the G-90 meeting,
but with only a few days to go before the draft package is to be
released and with the highly sensitive agriculture section still to be
drafted, Dr. Supachai was required to stay in Geneva to oversee
completion of the document. He has sent his deputy, Kipkorir Aly Rana,
to speak to the ministers on his behalf.
Dr. Supachai said that while he understood the frustration of many G-90
Ministers over the slow pace of the Doha negotiations, he pointed out
that considerable progress had in fact been made since the round was
launched in November 2001. He pointed out too that key industrial
countries had shown considerable flexibility in important areas of the
negotiations and said that all members must indicate willingness to
compromise. In the case of the G-90, he said, it was critical that they
too show flexibility in key outstanding areas.
“I hope the G-90 will address these issues in an understanding manner.
All members have a responsibility to these negotiations and everyone
must make a contribution if we are to have a successful outcome,” he
Since the Cancun Ministerial Conference in September, Director-General
Supachai has flown more than 250,000 kilometres to meet with Ministers
and build support for an agreement. He has paid particular attention to
developing countries making six trips to Africa and four trips to Latin
America and the Caribbean.