implementation and development: the Doha agenda
Doha Declaration explained
Implementation Decision explained
the negotiations are organized
Trade Negotiations Committee
Informal TNC meeting at the level of Head of Delegation
I would like to start by thanking you all for coming to this meeting at
Since I reported to the General Council last month, I have continued my
contacts with participants at every level in order to try to facilitate
the restart of the negotiations. I was pleased to be able to report then
that the desire to come back to the negotiating table was widespread and
genuine. This continues to be the case, and perhaps now even more so,
which is why I have called this meeting today.
As I reported to the General Council, at the meetings I have attended
since the summer — meetings of the G20, the Cairns Group and World Bank-IMF,
among others — I have repeatedly stressed the costs to the global
economy and the multilateral trading system if we fail to resolve the
current impasse. I am continuing to make these points at every suitable
I have recently had further contacts with a number of Ministers and
Senior Officials, and I have visited among others Brussels and
Washington. This morning, I have just returned from the APEC Ministerial
Meeting in Hanoi, where political and business leaders underlined that
failure to conclude the DDA would send a very negative signal for both
the regional and world economies. In my contacts with the 20 Ministers
present in Hanoi I have detected a general feeling of urgency.
Everyone continues to be very much aware of what is already on the table
in this Round, of what remains to be done, and of the potential benefits
for every Member and for the global economy if we are able to
successfully conclude it. But we must not forget that our window of
opportunity is limited. There must be significant progress by the early
spring if we are to have a chance of finishing the Round next year.
Here in Geneva, I have been carrying out a series of contacts, including
with various delegations, coordinators of regional and other groups and,
of course, the Negotiating Group Chairs.
As we all know, informal contacts among Members, both in Geneva and
beyond, have been going on since the summer. The number and frequency of
these contacts have now increased, which I think is another sign of this
growing and widely-shared desire to make the most of every opportunity
to lay the foundations for further progress.
Today there seems to be widespread support for multilateralizing these
contacts and bringing them back to the Negotiating Groups. There is also
a view that this should be done across the spectrum of the different
areas on the agenda.
In practice, this means increasing the number of contacts in the various
negotiating areas and broadening them in the interests of transparency
and inclusiveness — a point many delegations I have consulted with have
insisted on. It means increasing the opportunities for participants to
start again to test each other's positions and to explore possible
options to take the negotiations ahead. The Negotiating Group Chairs are
ready to play a key role in this.
I am therefore encouraging the Chairs to carry out contacts and
consultations as they judge most appropriate, bearing in mind the
different circumstances of the various Negotiating Groups. A number of
the Chairs have started doing just that — for example, Crawford Falconer
organized a transparency forum last week, which I understand was well
I would suggest that such work should now take place across all areas of
the negotiations. However, I would also underline that it is the
respective Chairs, in consultation with delegations of course, who are
best placed to determine the way ahead in each area and the speed with
which the work should take place.
Today we are somewhere between the quiet diplomacy of the last months
and the fully-fledged negotiations which will only come when Members are
ready to put numbers to the flexibilities they have already expressed in
general terms on key issues, in particular on agriculture market access
and domestic support. While I believe we are ready to start technical
work at the level of experts, it would be, in my view, premature to move
on to ministerial negotiations. What I am suggesting to you we do is
prepare the ground for fully-fledged negotiations to take place when the
conditions are right.
While we intensify the work in the Negotiating Groups in Geneva I
believe it is crucial that bilateral contacts among Members continue to
test numbers and explore flexibilities. It is an essential component to
prepare the ground for a deal.
All the ships in our convoy have been in dry dock for repairs over the
last few weeks. We are obviously not going to push them back into the
water without preparing them adequately beforehand. This also requires
the ship-owners to give the right sort of orders to their crews. You can
rely on me to keep on pressing them to do so.
I thank you all for your contributions and your encouragements. I would
like to encourage you in turn — we all need to be encouraged.
I note a consensus on the working method I suggested earlier. The
Negotiating Group Chairs have thus the green light to take up again the
normal process, with the habitual transparency. It is their
responsibility to determine the rhythm of their work, in consultation
This is the end of our discussion today. “Au boulot”(1),
as we say in French.
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