19 July 2004

<Supachai urges members to reach agreement as talks start on first draft Doha Agenda text

Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi called on WTO member governments on 19 July 2004 to make every effort over the next two weeks to strike a deal on a framework accord in the Doha Development Agenda which would pave the way for the elimination of all forms of farm export subsidies, enhanced trading opportunities for all countries and more equitable rules for global trade.

He made the statement as delegations began talks on a draft decision for the General Council’s end-of-July meeting, circulated by the chairs of the General Council (Ambassador Shotaro Oshima of Japan) and Trade Negotiations Committee (Dr Supachai) on 16 July 2004.

Drawing on months of negotiations and recent converging positions among the WTO’s 147 member governments, the chairs stressed that the text is “a first draft whose purpose is to provide a basis for further negotiation among members”.

The text includes “frameworks” in key areas such as agriculture and industrial market access. These form a first of three steps towards final agreement. Once adopted, the frameworks would focus negotiations on fuller “modalities”, which would include completed formulas for tariff reductions, that would then be applied to detailed commitments on thousands of products as well as new or revised rules.

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