Under the leadership of the Director-General and chairs of specific negotiating groups, WTO Members have intensified their negotiations over the last two weeks with a particular focus on the three key issues for the Bali meeting of trade facilitation, some elements of agriculture and specific development issues.
The Director-General was encouraged by the positive engagement in these meetings.
“Over the past week the dynamic has changed profoundly. Delegations are no longer talking past each other but are seriously engaged in finding compromises on the issues that divide them. Senior officials from capitals and Ambassadors are making good progress that has improved our prospects for a negotiated outcome by Bali”.
The Director-General was careful, however, not to underestimate the challenges that still lie ahead to get a successful Bali outcome. He also emphasised the continuing need for engagement of capital-based officials in the Bali preparation process.
“Time is not our friend and we should not underestimate the challenges ahead with positions still far apart on a number of the key negotiating issues. If we are to reach agreement for Bali we will need to continue the further intensification of our negotiations in the coming weeks which is why continued engagement by Senior Officials will be important. I have asked that they also advise Ministers and other stakeholders in their capitals about the change in mood in Geneva and that it will be critical to find the needed flexibilities in positions to ensure Bali is a success,” the Director-General said.
Director-General Azevêdo will oversee a second cycle of negotiations on the Bali issues immediately after the Trade Negotiations Committee on 23 September.