As you will
all be aware, the Trade Negotiations Committee held its first meeting
on 28 January and 1 February. At that meeting, the General Council
Chairman reported on his informal consultations on the tasks facing
the TNC which he had outlined in his statement at the meeting of the
General Council held on 19-20 December 2001. As he said at that time,
these tasks included:
of a Chair for the TNC;
on the structure for the negotiations; and
of the chairpersons of the bodies under that structure.
order to facilitate the work of the TNC, the statement the General
Council Chairman intended to make at the meeting was circulated as an
informal paper to all delegations in an informal Heads-of-Delegations
meeting on 31 January. In this statement, he set out his understanding
of the broad lines of opinion that had come out of his consultations,
identifying some practices and principles for the work of the TNC and
the negotiating bodies, and making a number of proposals. On 1
February, the TNC took note of and endorsed this statement, and agreed
to the proposals set out in it.
this basis, the Director-General has been appointed ex officio
to chair the TNC until the deadline of 1 January 2005
established in the Doha Declaration. The TNC also adopted a structure
for the work ahead, and agreed that the General Council Chairperson
would consult on the chairmanships of the individual negotiating
bodies, and he has already reported to you on these consultations.
Following the TNC meeting, the General Council Chairman's statement
was issued in document TN/C/1, dated 4 February, and it will also
be reflected in the minutes of the TNC meeting.
the meeting, delegations had the opportunity of expressing their views
and understandings of the sense of the points the General Council
Chairman had put forward in summary form in his statement, and their
statements will also be recorded in the minutes.
think our thanks are due to the General Council Chairman for having
paved the way for the negotiations to get off to a good start. The
Chairman has worked hard and I am sure he appreciates your dedication,
patience and, even more, flexibility during his consultations, and I
agree with him that he needs everyone to maintain the momentum in the
months to come. There is a lot at stake for everybody in both the
negotiations and the overall work programme, and I am sure we all want
to make good progress on all fronts.
delegations have expressed, both to me and to the General Council
Chairman, the importance of moving rapidly into the negotiating phase
in line with our mandate in the Doha Declaration. This is what
Ministers expect of us, and we are almost in a position to do this.
I would like to note that the TNC will be reporting to the General
Council at each of its regular meetings. I will advise delegations of
the date of the next TNC meeting in the near future.