“While it seeks to take into consideration the positions expressed by all WTO members on all topics in the negotiations to date, it does not seek to reflect these positions exhaustively,” the chair highlights in her introduction to the new text, noting the revised document is without prejudice to any member's position. The revised text was presented as part of the chair's report to the General Council on 23 November.

The chair praised members for using the first draft text as a tool to advance their work since July.  “I am extremely grateful to members for their tireless efforts and constructive attitude in the talks thus far. To the extent that the revised draft negotiating text represents a useful contribution to the preparations for the Ministerial Conference, credit is due to the hard work, determination, and good faith of members,” she noted.

The chair underlined that despite intense engagement, members have not made as much progress as they had anticipated on some key issues. The revised text “reflects the reality of where we are today” and “acknowledges the current state of play in members' positions and the difficulties we face in building convergence or narrowing the gaps on some key issues,” she said.

The revised text — a more streamlined and less ambitious version in the chair's view — is aimed at providing members with as much guidance as possible. She also reminded members that “it is important that we all bear in mind our shared resolve and commitment to deliver a successful outcome on trade in food and agriculture at the Ministerial Conference”. It is members' “collective responsibility” to present to ministers a text that can be agreed upon at MC12, she said.

A potential outcome on agriculture at MC12, the chair said, will need to ensure that trade contributes to achieving progress on the goals set out in the Agreement on Agriculture, under Article 20 (Continuation of the Reform Process), and the Agreement's Preamble. Success at MC12 will demonstrate that WTO members can work together towards the achievement of their shared objectives on food and agriculture, including the achievement of sustainable development goals and addressing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and food security, she said.

The chair will present the revised text to all members at a meeting of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session on 25 November, where members will have the opportunity to discuss it.




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