WTO NEWS: 2004 NEWS ITEMS
DDA JULY 2004 PACKAGE:
meeting summary 23 JuLY
Brief report on on-going work, with revised text planned by Wednesday
General Council chairperson Shotaro Oshima and Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi reported briefly on work in key issues when heads of delegations met informally on Friday 23 July 2004. A revised draft will be available by Wednesday 28 July at the latest, Ambassador Oshima said. It would be the last substantial draft although some further changes could be negotiated, and Friday 30 July remains the absolute deadline, he said.
THIS BRIEFING NOTE IS DESIGNED TO HELP JOURNALISTS AND THE PUBLIC UNDERSTAND DEVELOPMENTS IN THE DOHA AGENDA NEGOTIATIONS. WHILE EVERY EFFORT HAS BEEN MADE TO ENSURE THE CONTENTS ARE ACCURATE, IT DOES NOT PREJUDICE MEMBER GOVERNMENTS' POSITIONS.
The meeting was called to keep delegations informed about the various consultations taking place during the week. It began shortly after 5pm and lasted about an hour. Ambassador Oshima also called on the representatives of the various groups of members to keep their groups informed about the consultations in order to ensure maximum transparency among members.
On agriculture, Dr Supachai, who chairs the Trade Negotiations Committee, said the farm talks’ chair, Ambassador Tim Groser, began intensive discussions on the text that same morning.
On non-agricultural market access, Ambassador Stefán Jóhannesson’s group was looking at the possibility of using an appropriate vehicle such as a cover letter, statement or other means to reflect some concerns that members have raised, Dr Supachai said.
Work is also underway in development, and the Singapore issues, Amb.Oshima and Dr Supachai reported.
The director-general also urged delegations to appreciate the urgency and be realistic. They should not continue with tactical points or submit more texts if they have little or no chance of attracting consensus. A “Christmas tree approach” (i.e. adding more and more demands like adding decoration to a tree) would mean Christmas for no one, he said.
Amb.Oshima echoed those sentiments by urging members not to submit texts to the chairs but to negotiate compromises with each other.
Benin said the cotton initiative was now being discussed in agriculture and called for a serious response from other countries to the proposers dropping their insistence that the issue be discussed separately.
Two other countries announced new papers, each signed by several members, on trade facilitation.
Least-developed countries wanted a paragraph on least-developed countries added to the draft’s section on development.
Ambassador Oshima observed that some ministers will be in Geneva next week. He said that the General Council meeting remains a regular general council meeting and not a ministerial meeting although members are free to decide who their representatives will be. He said he stressed this to assure delegations that will not be represented by ministers.
Consultations will continue over the weekend. Another informal heads of delegation meeting will be convened early in the week.
The General Council will begin on Tuesday 27 July to discuss agenda items not related to the negotiations. Then the meeting will be suspended while consultations continue, to be reconvened for the Doha work programme agenda item when the informal meetings and consultations are completed, Amb.Oshima announced.