Agriculture negotiations chairperson Ambassador Crawford Falconer and non-agricultural market access (NAMA) chairperson Ambassador Don Stephenson circulated their revised draft “modalities” on 17 July 2007. The drafts are based on WTO member governments’ latest positions in the negotiations and are an assessment of what might be agreed for the formulas for cutting tariffs and trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, and related provisions.

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The two papers were circulated at the same time because members link the two subjects. Their release kicks off another intensive series of meetings for members to try to reach agreement, and probably to amend the draft.

The drafts are by no means the final word. They put the possible areas of agreement on paper so that members can react and further revise the texts.

They are drawn from WTO member governments’ positions over several months in the latest phase of the negotiations. They are the negotiations’ chairpersons’ judgements of what governments might be able to agree — based on what members have proposed and debated in over seven years of negotiations and their responses to the chairs’ previous papers.

Therefore, these are not “proposals” from the New Zealand and Canadian ambassadors in the sense that “proposals” are normally understood. In other words, these are not the chairs’ opinions of what would be “good” for world agricultural trade, but what might be accepted by all sides in the negotiations.

> Press release: Lamy backs agriculture, NAMA texts — urges closing the gaps

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