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Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee
Since my last report to the General Council in
May, the TNC has met informally on two occasions to discuss and review
developments in the DDA negotiations. The more frequent rhythm of
meetings of this multilateral body is in line with my undertaking to
delegations at the March stocktaking. In light of the beginning of a new
dynamic which has recently characterized the DDA negotiations, I believe
that we need to continue with these regular meetings in the interest of
transparency and inclusiveness.
At the informal TNC earlier this week Members engaged in a useful
collective assessment of the state-of-play in the DDA negotiations and
mapped together the next steps in the autumn. I also provided
delegations with a short overview of my recent activities and meetings —
external as well as internal. I will not repeat the whole of my
statement to the TNC, which has been circulated to Members, but with
your permission I will highlight a few main points.
I reported on my message to, and impressions from, the G20 Heads of
State and Government in Toronto. My message to Ministers and to Leaders
in Toronto was simple:
(i) exiting the crisis means that growth is
needed to create jobs without greater strains on national budgets and
that trade offers this; and
(ii) concluding the Doha Round has to be an integral part of the G20 co
ordinated strategy to move forward. The impression that I took away from
the G20 discussion on the DDA was one of realism — that gaps
remain on the right level of ambition and on the right balance in the
contributions by Members, but also one of determination - that there is
a an overall desire to move the DDA negotiations to a conclusion as soon
as possible, consistent with the mandate and based on progress already
Since the March Stocktaking the Geneva process
has been working according to the “cocktail” approach that the
membership endorsed at that time. This process, and its ingredients —
smaller groups in variable geometry, bilateral contacts and my own
consultations — have been working more intensively and with purpose. Of
course, these ingredients have to be given space and time, but there is
general agreement that their ultimate purpose is to energise the
multilateral process, into which they must feed. All my recent contacts
as well as the large majority of interventions at the informal TNC have
made it crystal clear that the core of the DDA negotiations remains the
multilateral process, i.e. the Negotiating Groups and the TNC.
At the informal TNC earlier this week I provided Members with a brief
outline of the state of play in each of the negotiating areas as well as
an insight into the process for work after the summer break. This
process met with wide support from delegations.
Looking ahead to our work after the summer break and the challenges in
the last quarter of 2010 I detected energy in the membership and a
belief that the various processes in place in Geneva can lead to moving
from process to tackle substantive issues. As I said on Tuesday and in
keeping with the cocktail analogy, I believe we have the ingredients for
our drink of choice. The mood music has become a bit more upbeat. It is
time we start shaking the cocktail.
Before I conclude, Mr. Chairman, let me also say a few words on
recent trade developments and on Aid for Trade, despite the
fact that these fall outside the DDA.
As you are all aware, my latest report reviewing trade and
trade-related developments in the period from 1 November 2009 to
mid-May 2010 was circulated in document
WT/TPR/OV/W/3. At the informal
meeting of the TPRB on 8 July, I cautioned that although we had started
witnessing encouraging news illustrating economic recovery in many parts
of the world, particularly in emerging economies, the world economy was
not completely out of the woods. Concerns about the fragility of
recovery, persistence of high unemployment levels and growing public
finance difficulties in some economies remained. These are some of the
challenges not only for the global economy, but also for the
multilateral trading system. I urged vigilance to ensure that our system
continued to serve as an insurance policy against the resurgence of
protectionism in difficult times.
You all know that, leaders around the world, including at the Toronto
G20 summit have reaffirmed and extended previous commitments to
resisting protectionism and their request for continued monitoring and
quarterly reporting. This is encouraging and my next report on these
issue is foreseen for early November.
On Aid for Trade, work on this front is advancing well and we
need to ensure that we sustain these efforts. A series of meetings at
the regional and national level have taken place during the first half
of this year and it is encouraging that Ministers and leaders around the
world, including the APEC, the G20, Caribbean Community, African Union
have urged that the momentum on Aid for Trade should be maintained. The
call to accelerate regional projects on Aid for Trade is also
The Enhanced Integrated Framework which is the special Aid for
Trade vehicle for LDCs is also now up and running and focusing on
concrete deliverables on the ground.
There is much reason to be proud of the progress we have achieved. But
we must not rest on our laurels. We now need to show the positive
effects of our collective endeavour. This is why we must place reporting
on outcomes and impacts at the core of the Third Global Review of Aid
for Trade a year from now, in July 2011. For us to sustain progress, we
need to be able to report on impacts and outcomes. If positive to
maintain funding; if less positive, to correct trajectory.
Two months from now we will be gathering in New York for the United
Development Goals Summit, to look at progress
achieved in combating poverty. The strengthening of the multilateral
trading system through the conclusion of the DDA and Aid for Trade are
the contributions that the WTO has to make to this goal. I hope we can
collectively respond to this challenge.
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