Director-General Roberto Azevêdo briefed WTO members today on developments in efforts to break the impasse on implementing the Bali package.
This followed a meeting of all members on Monday 24 November when three texts were put to members. These texts were: a General Council decision to clarify the Bali decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes; the Protocol of Amendment to insert the Trade Facilitation Agreement into the WTO rulebook along with a General Council decision that formally adopts the Protocol and; a statement that the Chair of the General Council would make recommitting members to an immediate resumption of work on all Bali Decisions and the post-Bali work programme on the remaining DDA issues.
At today’s meeting the Director-General said that the feedback from his conversations with members has been "overwhelmingly positive". He explained that during consultations many members expressed the desire to have a General Council Decision on the post-Bali work. This would essentially replicate the language of the General Council Chair’s statement as circulated on Monday, and would give equal prominence to the work program and all other areas of the post-Bali work, as is provided for Public Stockholding and Trade Facilitation, which take the shape of General Council Decisions
Therefore a General Council Decision on Post-Bali Work was presented to members today, containing the elements which were previously contained in the General Council Chair’s statement. Under this Decision members would:
- decide that work shall resume immediately and all Members shall engage constructively on the implementation of all the Bali Ministerial Decisions, including the work programme.
- decide that “as per paragraph 1.11 of the Bali Declaration, Members agree that the issues of the Bali package where legally binding outcomes could not be achieved, including the LDC issues, shall be pursued on priority”.
- agree that the deadline for agreeing on the work program will be July 2015.
At today’s meeting DG Azevedo said:
“We are very, very close to a successful conclusion of our efforts to overcome the impasse. Everything presented to members today in this Decision is either a simple statement of fact, or a reiteration of text from the documents circulated on Monday. Significantly the Decisions on Public Stockholding and Trade Facilitation have not changed at all. They remain exactly as they were presented on Monday.”
“The idea here is to capture the elements of the previous General Council Chair’s statement that emphasised the importance of our post-Bali work, and the priority that was attached to it. As a result of this new Decision, it was also necessary to make changes to the Chair’s statement. All of the language on the work program and the other Bali decisions is now contained in the new General Council Decision. But other than that the changes to the statement are very limited. The delicate balance of the texts has been preserved.”
“We are at the end of a very long journey. Tomorrow we just have to take the final step.”
The final texts will be put to members for agreement at the General Council on Thursday 27 November. This meeting was postponed until the 27th to allow delegations the opportunity to consult with their capitals on the texts, even though nothing has changed in substantive terms.