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> More on the modalities phase

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If a clear agenda of issues develops then he would propose reconvening “Room E” negotiations among about 30 representative delegations, he said.

He was speaking in the first agriculture negotiations meeting of the full membership since the new year and since he circulated his latest version of the draft “modalities” on 6 December. The meeting lasted 15 minutes and no delegate spoke.

Use this link to download the audio file or to listen to what he said in the meeting:

Audio: Chairperson Falconer’s statement
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This meeting

This was an informal agriculture negotiations meeting of the full membership, officially an “Informal Open-Ended Special Session” of the Agriculture Committee.

The latest texts and a number of related issues can be found with explanations here, including what “the text” is and says, and a “jargon buster”.

The current phase of the negotiations is about “modalities”, explained here.

Ambassador Falconer uses the term “walks in the woods” to describe consultations he held in the latter part of 2008 outside the WTO. He has explained that these involve about 15 delegations, the exact numbers depending on the subject.



Explanations of the issues are available for the chairperson’s 2008 drafts and reports.

Ambassador Falconer uses some shorthand in his statement, including:

  • “Room E”: meetings of a representative group of about 30—37 delegations as part of a process that is controlled by the full membership.

  • “Walks in the woods”: meetings among small groups of delegations outside the WTO. These are explained here (see “where and who?” box on the right).

The story so far

2000: Agriculture negotiations launched (March). See backgrounder

2001: Doha Development Agenda launched. Agriculture included (November)

2004: “Framework” agreed (August)

2005: Further agreements in Hong Kong Ministerial Conference (December)

2006: Draft modalities (June)

2007: Revised draft modalities (July)

2007-2008: Intensive negotiations with working documents (September-January)

2008: Revised draft modalities (February, May and July)

2008: The July 2008 package full coverage and the chair’s report


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