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Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Since my last report to the General Council in May, the TNC has held two informal meetings, on 6 and 22 June, and one formal meeting which took place yesterday. My opening remarks at yesterday's meeting were made available to delegations in document JOB(07)/130, but I think it is important to highlight a few aspects of what I said.

The major recent development in our negotiations has been the circulation of draft modalities texts by the Chairs of the Agriculture and NAMA negotiating groups, as I foreshadowed in my report to the Council in May. As the Chairs have underlined, these are draft texts. They are not negotiated or agreed texts. The negotiation is up to the participants in the negotiations, and now they are able to negotiate at a more concrete, intense and specific level.

Both Chairs made it very clear from the start that their draft modality papers are only another step in the process and that they will have to be revised in the light of the views expressed by participants. The papers identify possible areas of convergence and areas where gaps will still need to be bridged. That is now up to the participants to undertake in the process that the Chairs are running with my full support.

Many views have been expressed on the texts in informal sessions of the negotiating groups earlier in the week, and in the TNC yesterday. I am sure we have all taken careful note of them. Delegations now have the month of August to reflect fully, and then they should be in a position to return to the process prepared to engage in an intensive negotiation as from 3 September, starting with agriculture, to be followed later in the month by NAMA.

Over the last month, delegations have responded to my call at the informal TNC meeting on 22 June to step up their level of substantive engagement in the multilateral process run by the Negotiating Group Chairs. I now urge them to step their engagement up once again. Such engagement remains the key to further progress. Intensive negotiations are ahead, so everyone will need to be fit and ready when they return after the summer break.

However, we must not forget that our immediate aim is not only to establish full modalities in Agriculture and NAMA, but also to make commensurate progress in other areas of the negotiations in line with the full Doha mandates, the July 2004 Decision and the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration. This is the only possible path to an ambitious, balanced and development-oriented outcome to the Round.

At yesterday's meeting, the TNC received reports from all of the Negotiating Group Chairs. Their reports showed that some good progress has been made across the board over the last few months. They also outlined the processes they intend to follow to build on this progress immediately after the summer break, notably on services and rules. And what I heard from delegations yesterday is support to move in the direction the Chairs suggested.

The statements made by participants at the meeting underlined that there continues to be a high level of commitment to concluding the Round. However, it is also clear that there are some significant differences which remain to be resolved. But, in my view, convergence is within our reach if you are all ready to show the necessary will and flexibility to close the gaps.

We have come a long way since the start of this Round. What we now have in sight represents a very significant package of trade opening and rule-making, and a strong collective commitment to work for a more development-friendly world trading system. The distance left to go to achieve all of this is not so great. It will require a good dose of extra effort by all participants, but it can be done.

That concludes my report on this occasion. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Statement by Pascal Lamy to the TNC (26 July 2007): Lamy calls for intensive negotiations across the board in September

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