> Communiqués de presse
> Allocutions: Supachai Panitchpakdi
Déclaration du Directeur général
Let me begin by speaking, I am sure, for everyone Mr Chairman in
paying tribute to the heroic efforts you have been making to follow up
on the Cancun Ministerial Statement. You continue to show tremendous
dedication and energy in pursuit of the objective of taking the action
necessary to enable us to move towards a successful and timely
conclusion of the negotiations. Nobody could be doing more.
We have discussed matters between ourselves and the analysis of the
current situation which you have just given is shared. I give my full
support to the proposed course of action for the General Council on
15 December, in particular the three point approach — a substantive
review of progress; identification of key issues; and a sense of the
way ahead. We should also, as you have said, foresee the reactivation
of the negotiating groups, bearing in mind that the “horizontal”
element of our operations will of course continue to be provided by
the General Council and the Trade Negotiations Committee. We should be
working on the DDA across the board next year through all the relevant
Let me add a few observations on recent developments and on the future
from my own perspective. As you know, and as I foreshadowed at the
last Heads of Delegation meeting on 18 November, I have been
continuing to spend a fair amount of time travelling to various
regions to meet groups of Ministers. I have been able to do so secure
in the knowledge that the consultations here are in capable hands.
This does not mean that I take this process for granted. Far from it.
I realize that it is here that progress has to be made. However I felt
that, rather than simply duplicating your efforts here Mr Chairman, I
might be able to add some extra value through further ministerial
contacts. And so, I think, it has proved, as I shall mention in a
minute. But first, let me emphasize that, even while I have been away
from Geneva, I have been kept constantly and closely in touch with
events here through a stream of reports. Indeed I have even been
quoting some of the things that you have been saying here, Mr
Chairman, to the Ministers I have met, to give them a flavour of how
things are going back in Geneva.
At the last Heads of Delegation meeting I mentioned my contacts with
some groups of Ministers in Bangkok and Cairo. Since then I have, in
addition to continuing as usual to see a number of Ministers and
Ambassadors here in Geneva, met certain other gatherings - of Central
American Ministers in Tegucigalpa, thanks to Minister Garcia of
Honduras; and of Caricom Ministers and representatives in Georgetown,
thanks to Minister Rohee of Guyana. The discussions obviously did not
go into great detail. But — as previously at Bangkok and Cairo, so
with Tegucigalpa and Georgetown — all the Ministers present strongly
reaffirmed their determination to ensure that the Doha Development
Agenda negotiations regain momentum at the earliest possible time. And
they indicated, despite varying degrees of difficulty with one or
other aspects, or a desire to see certain enhancements, a willingness
to take the Derbez text as a general starting point.
The degree of general commonality of views I have encountered among
ministers around the world in the last six weeks or so is striking. It
is absolutely clear that the initial reports in certain quarters about
the demise of the DDA are completely unfounded. The political will to
carry on and conclude the round is fully in evidence. Ministers I have
spoken to want to see Cancun not as a failure but as a stepping stone
to success. The status quo is not acceptable.
The challenge, as ever, is to translate this general sense of
commitment into concrete progress in the negotiations. Of course this
is difficult, given the complexity of both our agenda and the way in
which the WTO operates. For you, the Heads of Delegation who have this
highly onerous task, it must sometimes seem Sisyphian, as Ambassador
Seixas Correa is fond of saying.
The report to the General Council on 15 December will certainly need
to mention quite a number of the continuing problems with the
negotiations. There is no point in glossing over difficulties. We have
to be realistic. It is worrying that we have seen too little real
negotiation in recent weeks, and too little searching for common
ground. We should all reflect on what we might have done differently,
and on what we might do differently in future, in order to move into a
more urgent problem-solving mode.
Having said this, we have made some headway in the last few weeks, as
you have indicated in your introductory remarks, Mr. Chairman. We have
also in some key areas been able to identify what exactly are the main
sticking points or crucial issues. Furthermore, as I have said, the
overall sense of commitment is most definitely still there.
I believe therefore that the message that we should give both to each
other and to the outside world on 15 December should, while being
realistic, be overall a positive one, of unwavering commitment to the
DDA, determination to make concrete progress, and confidence that we
are going to succeed.
The message would be entirely consistent with what Ministers
everywhere have been telling me. It would be helpful in my view if we
could take it as a collective responsibility to get such a message
across to others.
So, in conclusion, let us not flag in our efforts. On the contrary,
let us keep working, with a renewed sense of urgencies and engagement,
taking steps forward progressively towards the ultimate objective. For
my part, I shall continue to listen closely to your views. The
Secretariat and I stand ready to assist in any way that we can with
your ongoing efforts in this noble cause.