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,
Amb.Oshima echoed those sentiments by urging
members not to submit texts to the chairs but to negotiate compromises with
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
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
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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.