> Press release:
Week” focuses on preparations for Doha
participants and delegates, distinguished ambassadors, representatives
of regional and international intergovernmental organizations, let me
begin by welcoming you to this 3rd Geneva Week for non-resident
Members and Observers.
the outset, may I express my gratitude to those friends who have made
this week possible. I would particularly like to thank the governments
of Germany, the Republic of Korea and the United States for providing
indispensable financial support. I would also like to thank the
international intergovernmental organizations who have sent
representatives to contribute their expertise to this initiative. I am
pleased to see the enthusiasm of our members and colleagues in pulling
together to help meet the needs of our non-resident Members and
of my main objectives as Director-General has been to improve the
level and quality of our participation by all our Members. I am
pleased that a number of our non-residents have taken an active part
in various WTO work processes over the last year, not least by
submitting different proposals in the important mandated negotiations
on services and agriculture.
our side, we, as a Secretariat have undertaken a number of activities
to assist non-residents. We prepare regular news summaries, giving an
overview of work in the WTO. We are forming an internal secretariat
task-force on small economies, which has as one of its aims to better
coordinate our activities in favour of non-resident Members and
Members with small and capacity-constrained missions. Over the past
twelve months we have had important conferences and workshops, in
Gabon for African Countries; Fiji for countries of the Asia Pacific;
Jamaica for Caribbean countries; and Guatemala for Central American
countries, to name only a few. Secretariat staff have also regularly
travelled to other European capitals where non-residents are present
to brief them on on-going work in the WTO.
these and other regular contacts, we have also been working closely
with the secretariats of regional intergovernmental organizations who
service non-residents. I am particularly pleased to welcome to this
gathering a large number of representatives from such organisations,
and I look forward to their input on how we can better service the
needs of our Members at a dedicated session on Wednesday morning.
in Geneva is tough to achieve for small, financially constrained
Governments. Various agencies like the ACP, the Commonwealth
Secretariat and AITIC are working on this. AITIC, with the help of the
Swiss Government, has opened a non-residents' centre, providing a
certain amount of office space for non-residents visiting Geneva for
WTO and other meetings. I congratulate them on having achieved
this. On Wednesday, you will be hearing from the Commonwealth
Secretariat, as well as AITIC, on their activities in relation to
non-residents and proposals that they will make for better
representation of non-residents. I hope that this discussion will lead
to constructive thinking by all our Members on how to encourage
representation of smaller and modest countries in Geneva.
the needs of non-residents requires two main elements: means to help
them to be represented in Geneva, and a rational and integrated
programme of technical assistance to their Governments covering both
the ability to take part in WTO activities and the ability to trade
and, through trade, to develop. On our side, over the past few months,
we have restructured the organization of our technical cooperation and
training activities, and have been working on developing a more
effective strategy for the delivery of technical assistance. You will
be hearing more about this in the course of the week, particularly on
Friday morning when specialists from the WTO and our sister agencies
will talk about our new approach to technical cooperation.
we have a packed week ahead of us. Preparations for the Doha
Ministerial Conference form the backdrop to our meetings and I pleased
to be able to count on Ambassador Harbinson to provide an overview of
the state of play, in his capacity as Chairman of the General Council.
The Secretariat and a representative of the Mission of Qatar will also
you brief you on the logistics of the preparations for Doha. Over the
course of the week we shall have extensive briefings on a range of
specific issues and topics: implementation-related issues, on-going
negotiations in agriculture and services; intellectual property;
market access; trade and investment; trade and competition policy;
standards; and technical assistance. On Friday, a number of
Ambassadors of resident missions in Geneva will be giving you their
own perspectives on the Doha process.
me address more directly our preparations for Doha. We cannot pretend
the meeting in Doha will merely be a “routine” Ministerial meeting
at which Members will discuss general economic trends and progress in
the WTO's built-in agenda. The context in which Ministers will be
meeting ensures that a fundamental decision needs to be taken at Doha,
whether positive or negative, which will have long term implications
for the future of the multilateral trading system and the way we
conduct our business. As the Chairman and I stated in our joint report
at the end of July, failure to reach consensus on a forward work
programme that would advance the objectives of the multilateral
trading system, particularly in the light of Seattle, would lead many
to question the value of the WTO as a forum for negotiations. It would
certainly condemn us to a long period of hibernation, because it will
not be any easier next year, or the year after.
questions facing Ministers in Doha will be the same as at Seattle: are
they ready to launch a wider process of negotiations — a new round,
in fact — and if so what should its content be? I have made no
secret of my conviction that a new round is necessary. There is no
better way in which we can effectively address the problems of
economic slowdown or prevent the further marginalization of many
developing countries through the weakening of the multilateral system.
There is no better way in which we can make sure that the legal system
embodied in the WTO responds to economic reality. There is no better
way in which we can sustain the momentum of the negotiations on
agriculture and services. Nowhere in the world, as far as I know, is
the need for negotiation on agriculture disputed; but nowhere else in
the world, if not here, is that negotiation going to happen.
of the rules in this system have been negotiated — that is their
strength and the source of their legitimacy. But by the same token
they can only be changed by negotiation. Any inequities in the system
— and they exist — can only be removed by negotiation. It is my
conviction that we will only achieve the fundamental breakthrough in a
wider situation where there can be trade-offs. Not to negotiate means
accepting the status quo, which was yesterday's compromise. A strong,
vibrant, predictable and rules-based multilateral trading system is in
the interest of all countries, particularly developing countries. They
should seize this opportunity to fashion the system in such a way that
it would be responsive to their development needs.
preparatory process is in its final stage. Members are all agreed that
the process thus far has been transparent and inclusive. Since
February 2001, there have been 28 open-ended meetings at which 112
hours have been spent discussing various issues of interest to
delegations. This excludes meetings which have been held on the
implementation review mechanism. Members no longer feel that decisions
are being foisted upon them, and there is a collective sense of
responsibility that the process should produce results which would
strengthen the multilateral trading system to the benefit of all
have less than 60 days to go before the Doha meeting. This means that
we need to inject a sense of urgency into the process. It is clear
that consultations on single issues have run their full course and it
is necessary to begin holding consultations simultaneously on multiple
issues, so as to enhance the possibility of linkages and trade-offs.
As was announced by the Chairman last Tuesday, it is our intention to
produce draft elements which would form the basis of a Ministerial
Declaration for the consideration of Ministers at Doha by the end of
works therefore needs to be done between now and the end of September.
We expect all delegations to engage constructively and show
flexibility where necessary. Clinging to well-known positions would
not advance the process and might spell disaster for the rules-based
multilateral trading system. Members should be prepared to make
trade-offs and take into consideration the interests of other Members
as well bearing in mind the over-arching objective of strengthening
the multilateral trading system to make it more relevant in the 21st
Century. It is imperative that all Members participate in the final
build-up to Doha and it is my great hope that the many initiatives we
have undertaken in the last two years to assist non-residents will
help ensure your views and aspirations are fed into our processes.
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