POSITIONS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ON THE EVE OF DOHA, ON THE THE DRAFT MINISTERIAL TEXT AND THE PROCESS OF TRANSMISSTING THE TEXT TO DOHA
Attached below is a report providing excerpts of the statements made by several developing countries at the WTO’s General Council meeting on 31 Oct and 1 November, which was the only occasion where the delegations had the opportunity to give their views on the draft Ministerial Declaration (and other documents) that were released late at night on 27 October in Geneva.
A majority ofd developing countries that spoke at the General Council were very critical of the process by which the draft was issued and the content of the draft. The main criticisms were that:
(1) The draft does not take into account the views expressed and submitted by developing countries but reflects the views of the developed countries, especially on the launching of negotiations on new issues and industrial tariffs, and on a broad work programme to be managed by a Trade Negotiations Commitee in a New Round. The draft is thus biased and one-sided.
(2) The draft is untransparent and deceiving, as it deliberately does not set out the differences of views of various delegations. This is especially in the paras on the “new issues” of investment, competition, procurement and trade facilitation. Even WTO officials admit that the WTO Members are “split down the middle” on these new issues. Most developing countries do not want any negotiations to begin. Yet the text commits the WTO to start negotiations on all four issues (jn the case of investment and competition, it commits the WTO to begin negotiations in two years’ time after the 5th Ministerial, thus the next two years will already see pre-negotiations or in effect the first phase of actual negotiations).
(3) The draft is thus setting up a terribly unlevel playing field, with the majority of developing countries having to argue their case without their position being reflected at all in the important operative parts of the text.
(4) The developing country statements are also critical of the section of teh text on “future of the work programme”, which contains several elements of launching a New Round with a comprehensive negotiating agenda, with the “single undertaking” (all issues to be decided in a package) and with the setting up of a super organ called the Trade Negotiations Committee. Many developing countries had criticised this section in an earlier draft. But their criticisms and alternative formulations were totallly ignored in this second draft.
(5) Finally the developing countries are frustrated and extremely upset at the process by which the Chairman of the General Council and DG of WTO secretariat are transmitting the draft to the Doha Ministers’ meeting, although there is no agreement or consensus on the text. Many delegations in their statements demanded that their views in areas of disagreement be reflected in a revised text, or at least that their views be noted in the text or an annex or cover letter. However the Chair made clear he would transmit an unrevised text. This process of transmitting a one-sided text with no indication of divergence of views is heavily criticised by many delegations in their statements.
For your information, the Chairman has subsequently (on 5 Nov) transmitted the draft Declaration to the Trade Minister of Qatar, unrevised, and with a covering letter that does not explain the differences of views, even in the important sections. This he has done despite the clear requests made by many delegations that their views should at least be reflected in his covering letter. Thus the worst fears of the developing countries have been realised. The process has been discriminatory and extremely non-transparent.
We hope that this Report will give you a good picture of the views of a range of developing countries on the eve of Doha.
The statements include those of Tanzania (made on behalf of the least developing dountries group) and Zimbabwe (made on behalf of the Africa Group). Without doubel counting, the total number of countries contained in both groups are about 50. (Some countries belong to both groups). You may want to note that the two Groups do not want negotiations to begin on the new issues. The LDCs and most African countries also do not want negotiations to start on industrial tariffs; they suggest that a study process in a working group be initiated, and its work should conclude before the commencement of any negotiations in industrial tariffs. When the views of these two groups are taken into account, it is clear that a majority of developing countries are not in favour of negotiations on the new issues, nor the broad-based work programme that is contained in the draft Text.
Whether the process in Doha is democratic and open enough for the developing countries to have their views expressed and more importantly to have their views reflected in a final Declaration is an open question. Given the untransparent processes so far in Geneva, and the poor record of previous WTO Ministerial meetings, especially in Seattle, we cannot be too optimistic.
With best wishes
Third World Network Report:
COMMENTS BY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AT THE WTO GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING (31 Oct-1 Nov) ON THE REVISED DRAFT WTO MINISTERIAL DECLARATION (WHICH WILL BE DISCUSSED AT DOHA)
On 31 Oct and 1 Nov 2001, the WTO held a formal General Council meeting to discuss the draft texts prepared by the Council chairman (Ambassador Stuart Harbinson of Hong Kong, China) with the assistance of the WTO Director-General. Among the texts were the Draft Ministerial Declaration (Job No. (01)/140/REV.1 dated 27 October 2001), which is the main document that Ministers will discuss at Doha. The following are excerpts of the statements made by the delegations of several developing countries.
The excerpts focus particularly on the Draft Ministerial Declaration and on some topics: the Singapore issues, the New Round (or organisation of the work programme), industrial tariffs, and the procedures and process by which the text is sought to be transmitted to the Ministers in Doha. As we were able to obtain the statements of only some delegations, the coverage in this report is not comprehensive, although a significant number of delegations are quoted. This compilation was made by the Third World Network.
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ALI MCHUMO OF TANZANIA OB BEHALF OF LDCs AT THE GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING ON 31 OCTOBER, 2001
On the process and the overall draft
... The current Draft falls short of the kind of text we would be comfortable with as it has not sufficiently accommodated our major preoccupations. Certainly, we did not expect all our proposals to be accepted in toto as part of a consensus text, but we did expect our major proposals or reservations to be reflected, even if they were to be put in square brackets or as separate options to be considered. ... What caused the failure of Seattle was not the mere presence of the brackets in the text, but it was the lack of the political will to resolve the differences for reasons that we all know. The Draft text which we now have is seemingly clean but as you have admitted in your introductory remarks and in the cover page, this is not an agreed text in any part at this stage, and this means that even if there are no physical brackets on any part of the text, there certainly are many “mental” brackets” to be untied at Doha. In that sense, this text may perhaps be more complex and more difficult for Ministers to use as a basis for consensus than if the differences in key areas were made more explicit.
Transmission of text:
... This text that you will present to the Ministers is deceptively simple since it has no brackets but we all know that it hides major differences in some areas as already indicated. It would indeed have been preferable if we had time for a third draft that would have taken into account this discussion and even put square brackets where ther is no consensus, but since time is not on our side, you may wish to transmit this Draft to Ministers with a very clear covering letter to explain the areas where there were major differences and the rationale of your suggested compromise text. Of course this is not a substitute for us Ambassadors to brief our Ministers but you explanatory note will be much more authoritative and will make our job as Ambassadors much easier.
On the Singapore issues
Our views on the Singapore issues are well known and we reiterated them when reacting to your first draft by stating once again that LDCs were not ready to negotiate on them since the issues were complex and the LDCs were not fully able to understand the development implications for them, It is for this reason that with regard to investment and competition policy, we preferred the options for the continuation of the study process and we took the same view for government procurement and trade facilitation. We are therefore surprised and disappointed that in your current text there is only one option for negotiations on all these four issues. It is very clear that on these issues there has been no consensus and thus there is no basis for coming out with a draft that only reflects one view, that there shall be negotiations on all these four issues. We have studied paras 20 and 21 on investment and competition and found that in effect negotiations will begin immediately because there is already a commitment to negotiate modalities of agreements after the 5th Ministerial; therefore the work programme of the next two years on clarifying elements is in effect already the first stage of negotiations.
Mr Chairman, as there is not consensus, there cannot be negotiations, if the spirit and letter of the Singapore Ministerial decision is to be adhered to. Therefore, we propose that the option of continuing the study process for all the four Singapore issues be included in a new draft to be transmitted to Doha and this is in line with the LDC Ministers’ decision in Zanzibar.
In our statement on 2 October, the LDCs had expressed grave concern on de-industrialization faced by many LDCs and other developing countries as a result of industrial tariff cuts, resulting in closure of local firms and loss of jobs. We had then stated that we were unable to accept the paragraphs on industrial tariffs and objected to the launch of negotiations and to the sentence that “product coverage shall be comprehensive and without a priori exclusions.” We had proposed instead that a study process be initiated to examine the impact of previous tariff reductions, and that this process should determine whether there should be future negotiations, and further that LDCs and other eligible developing countries should be exempted from further liberalization in this area. Unfortunately the second draft has not fully taken these views into account and we insist that our views which have been so explicitly stated, be included in a revised draft and we have provided the necessary language to accommodate our preoccupation.
Organisation and Management of the Work Programme
When we commented on the text ... in your first draft, we reiterated the unambiguous views of the LDC Ministers that the LDCs were not in a position to undertake broad based negotiations involving new issues due to lack of capacity to negotiate and implement new commitments ...
Reading paragraphs 38-45 together with paragraph 11 of current text leaves no doubt that the Work Programme envisaged to be launched in Doha is a broad based and expanded programme of negotiations with the inclusion of a number of new issues for which we are not prepared as already indicated...While technical assistance is welcome, it should not be assumed that its mere provision will radically transform LDCs to fully implement the commitments to be undertaken as a result of such negotiations. It may well be that implications of such commitments will be so far reaching that you may need much more comprehensive effort to transform our economies before we can fully fulfil our obligations...It is for this reason that we would once again call for a programme of work that fits with our definition of a Development Agenda where the priorities of LDCs and other developing countries will be given priority, and which will not include new issues which will unnecessarily add to the already heavy burden of the LDCs and other developing countries.
As you know Mr Chairman, the TRIPS Agreement is of great concern to LDCs as evidenced by the concern expressed by the LDCs Ministers in Zanzibar. In our statement of 2 October, we had proposed several additions. Unfortunately the present text still has not improved much and the paragraphs on TRIPS (para 17-19) remain very disappointing to us. We therefore reiterate our proposal, made on 2 October, and urge that the text’s section on TRIPS be improved accordingly.
...With regard to the draft Ministerial Declaration in TRIPS, we would prefer the title to be declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, and in paragraph 4 we would prefer Option 1. With regard to paragraph 10, we appreciate the move to exempt LDCs from the obligations under Sections 5 and 7 of Part II of the TRIPS Agreement with respect to pharmaceutical products until 1 January 2016. We would only wish if such extensions were made with respect to the implementation of the entire TRIPS Agreement and we request that it be made clear that this partial exemption shall in no way prejudice our right in future to request for extension of transition or even exemption for the implementation of the entire Agreement.
AFRICA GROUP STATEMENT ON DRAFT MINISTERIAL TEXTS, 31 OCTOBER 2001 (DELIVERED BY ZIMBABWE)
On the process
... Whilst we can live with some elements in the draft declaration, we are however disappointed with the shortcomings of the text of the main Declaration to take on board a number of views expressed by African members.
We note that you used different formats in the presentation of the two draft declarations JOB(01)/140/REV.1 on the draft Ministerial Declaration and JOB(01)/155 on Intellectual Property and [Access to Medicines] [Public Health]. Particularly, we note with concern that the absence of options in the draft Ministerial Declaration could convey the wrong impression that there are no differences amongst delegations on the substance.
... The Africa Group participated actively in the consultative process ably conducted by you and the Director General after publication of the first draft text of the Doha Ministerial Declaration. The group also conveyed both within the informal General Council consultative process and directly to you in a letter, the Declaration by African Ministers adopted at Abuja on 23 September 2001 expressing Africa’s positions and negotiating objectives on issues of primary interest and concern to Africa.
The revised draft Declaration dated 27 October 2001 does not reflect a sizeable number of positions taken by African Ministers and supported by a large number of developing countries which were discussed after circulation of the first draft Ministerial Declaration.
...Regarding the process for submitting draft texts to the Ministerial Conference, we have taken note of your statement but our preference is that you obtain the consent and/or approval of the General Council before such draft texts are transmitted. Whilst the Africa Group notes that due to time constraints it may not be feasible to produce a third draft, we however, request that a clear communication be sent to the Ministerial Conference highlighting the lack of consensus in a more detailed manner than is currently presented.
The General Council has a responsibility to submit a report to the Ministerial Conference. In this regard statements being made by delegations on the draft texts you have prepared for the Fourth Ministerial Conference should be submitted to Ministers as a formal record of our meeting today.
New issues and industrial tariffs
We note with concern that the new draft does not present options particularly on sections dealing with Trade and Investment, and Trade and Competition Policy. Further, specific preference for the development of non-binding rules and/or general guidelines was expressed by a large number of developing countries on Trade Facilitation and Transparency in Government Procurement. Again the draft before us gives the wrong impression that delegations are has failed to reflect the concerns of a large section of the membership. eas.
Members also expressed differing views on the treatment of Non-Agricultural Market Access. Again the draft Ministerial Declaration fails to reflect these differences.
Organisation of Work programme
In view of the African Ministers’ decision to limit the negotiating agenda (e.g. exclusion of Singapore issues from the negotiating agenda), it is not envisaged that there will be a comprehensive broad agenda. Thus the references in the section dealing with Organisation and Management of the Work Programme (paras 38-45) to elements of a greatly expanded agenda will have to be changed. This section should have a short and simple text, such as that the work programme shall be carried out in the relevant bodies under the supervision of the General Council, and that the General Council will present a progress report to the 5th Ministerial Conference.
We take not of the draft declaration on Intellectual Property and [Public Health] [Access to Medicines] as a basis for advancing work in this area. Clearly, there are some elements in this draft which had not been fully discussed in the General Council, which raise a number of complex technical and political issues which still need to be resolved. Further we are disappointed with the section on TRIPS in the draft Ministerial Declaration JOB(01)/140/REV.1. You may recall that the Africa Group made a substantive input on TRIPS and which was circulated to all members during the consutlations but is not adequately covered in paragraph 19 of the draft Declaration.
NIGERIA’S COMMENTS/VIEWS MADE AT GENERAL COUNCIL OCTOBER 31, 2001
On the process
Nigeria has submitted to you our comments and concerns on the Draft Ministerial Declaration for Doha...We have also requested that our comments and concerns be distributed to members and attached as an annex to Job No. (01)/140/ Rev.1, before forwarding to Ministers.
...Mr Chairman, my delegation requested you at the General Council meeting of 19th October, 2001 to reflect the different views/proposals of various delegations in square brackets for clear reading and understanding by Ministers, and in order to show that consensus has not been reached on those issues. This was not done. The revised draft you now present to the General Council gives the impression that the whole membership agreed to it. Mr Chairman, you know we have not agreed on this Draft. Our views and positions have not been reflected. During the General Council meeting of 19th October my delegation requested that you presented a square bracket where consensus had not been reached. Perhaps I had angered the Chairman by this request because even the small square brackets that existed in the first Draft Declaration were completely removed in the present Revised Draft.
... My delegation has congratulated you ... for the transparent and inclusive manner in which the consultations have taken place. However, Mr Chairman we are disappointed that the draft is not balanced, it is one sided. This Draft supports only the views of one side of the table, notwithstanding your statement on the cover page of your Draft that “this Draft does not purport to be agreed in any part at this stage.” Under this circumstance, the draft is not acceptable to my delegation and we urge you to please reflect our views either in brackets, as an annex or in an explanatory letter to enable Ministers see their way clearly in Doha.
... What is not clear to my delegation is what will the Chairman do with the interventions we have heard today. In view of what the Chair said in the morning that he did not intend to revisit the Draft Ministerial Declaration? Whatever decision may be taken, we wish to reiterate our request that the views of other delegations be reflected in the draft you are transmitting to Ministers.
My delegation raised our objection to the opt-in/opt-out concept, which you mooted to the General Council at its meeting on 24th October. ... A number of delegations also spoke against it. Without discussing this concept or framework, or agreeing to it by a large number of the membership, you have gone ahead to propose its implementation in paragraph 20 and 21. Mr Chairman, this proposal is fraught with danger and we reject it. It has the potential to make us poorer and will create a two tier system in the WTO. There must be ways of working further on these matters in order to close up remaining differences. We assure the Chairman that we are ready to work with him, the DG and the membership to realize equitable results in Doha. But this revised Draft Ministerial Declaration Job No. (01)140/ Rev.1, in its present form, will not help to achieve those results.
[ In a letter submitted to the Chairman and Director General (dated 29 Oct), Nigeria had also stated:
“(The text) pushed vigorously the New Issues in favour of major delegations. The Singapore Ministerial Decision is that negotiations on the New Issues will take effect if a consensus is agreed. We have not reached a consensus on them...On the new issues, the study process should continue pending such a time that there will be consensus on them as mandated by the Singapore Declaration...Consequently we reject the opt in/opt out proposal in paragraph 20 and 21 in whatever form it is preseented.” ]
[ In the same letter, Nigeria stated: “In the area of industrial tariffs, Nigeria had co-sponsored a proposal by Kenya and several other countries that a study should be initiated on the implications of previous negotiations in the area of industrial tariff on the economies of developing countries before engaging in new negotiations in this area. Here again the draft has failed to reflect the concerns of a large section of the membership. The text shows not much regard for our countries. ]
STATEMENT BY EGYPT, GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING, 31 OCTOBER 2001
On the process and overall text
... But transparency, as we have repeated on many occasions is not only a matter of flow of information or expression of a Member’s opinion, as important as these may be. More crucial, it should guarantee the participation of all Members in the process of decision-making and ensure a sense of ownership by all Members of the final outcome. We thought it is important to start with this note because we are deeply astonished that theRevised Draft Declaration issued on the 27th of October seems to ignore many of the views and positions expressed by my delegation, as well as - according to our notes - those of many developing countries.
... What is surprising and unexpected is to find that the Revised Draft Declaration does not reflect the disagreement or divergence in many areas through, for example, although not limited to, providing options in the text that will be transmitted to the Ministerial Conference. This approach would have given Ministers a better opportunity to assess the overall situation and decide on important compromises and trade-offs that would be necessary to reach an agreement at the end of the day.
In addition to our deep concern that the centrality of development (despite all what we heard and what appears to be mere lip-service about a so called “Development Round”) and the developing countries’ concerns are not adequately reflected in the Revised Draft Declaration, we would like, Mr Chairman, to mention a few serious examples to demonstrate why we do not feel comfortable with the Revised Text and believe that it stands short of transmitting a realistic reflection of the intensive consultations that were undertaken here in Geneva over the last few weeks. ...
On the Singapore issues, we have, along with many others, repeatedly and explicitly indicated that we are not ready yet to participate in negotiations on these issues, and that we wish to study processes agreed to at the Singapore Ministerial to be continued and concluded, with a view to achieving the institutional maturity of these issues. We have referred on more than one occasion to the explicit mandate given at Singapore that “It is clearly understood that future negotiations, if any, regarding multilateral disciplines on Investment and Competition, will take place only after an explicit consensus decision is taken among WTO Members”. We have also referred to the mandate given on Transparency in Government Procurement “To conduct a study on the issue, and, based on this study, to develop elements for inclusion in an appropriate agreement”. We have reiterated that these mandates have to be fulfilled.
Our Minsters’ instructions have all been put aside, and the Revised Text provides for negotiations on all the Singapore issues. On Investment and Competition, the two options included in the previous text—and which we have requested to maintain in the text transmitted to Doha—have been replaced by one proposal that implicitly commit Members up-front to negotiations after the Fifth Ministerial. On Transparency in Government Procurement and Trade Facilitastion, the only option given in the first text, that is to negotiate, has been maintained.
In addition, the Revised Text provides for a possibility for what has been labeled during the consutlations as an “Opt-in/Opt-out Approach” in the areas of Investment and Competition, despite repeated warnings that proliferation of plurilateral agreements will definitely undermine the multilateral nature of the organisation and the very credibility of the Multilateral Trading System.
On Market Access for Non-Agricultural Products, we have supported a proposal put forward by a group of African countries, and supported by some other developing countries and the Least Developed Countries - more than fifty countries in total - to conduct a study on the impact of tariff reductions on the production capacities of developing countries to precede any negotiaitons in this area. However this proposal, or the notion behind it, were not reflected in the Revised Text, not even through proposing an “initial phase” as was suggested for some other areas of work. We find that neglecting a proposal by such a considerable number of countries in this manner is difficult to comprehend, explain or justify. Again, and not withstanding our position, we were surprised to see in the Revised Text a reference to “High Tariffs” when this was opposed by many developing countries.
Concerning the Separate Draft Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health ... It is regrettable that the extensive consutlaiton process has left major issues for the Ministers at Doha. However, we would like to note at this stage that a proposal by one country for a moratorium on resorting to WTO Dispute Settelement Mechanism against developing countries in part of Africa was not thoroughly discussed during the consultations and even among the regional group and its memebrs, and was obviously far from being agreed to. Therefore we, together with other members of the African Group, were surprised to see that this proposal found its way to the Revised Text. In this regard, it is also important to underline the fact that even the implications of such a proposal on other related issues under consideration in the TRIPS Council, such as non-violation complaints have not been assessed. As for the options in the draft declaration, we do not consider that the second option is a viable one. We will only support a meaningful declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.
STATEMENT BY INDIA, GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING, 31 OCTOBER 2001
On the process, and transmission of the text
Mr Chairman, I find that you have come out with a draft Ministerial declaration without square brackets and without options. To the best of my understanding, the purpose of the preparatory process was to agree as much as possible and where there is no agreement, give options to our Ministers or put the controversial language in square brackets so that the Ministers could focus on the differences and take appropriate decisions. By opting for a text which does not bring out the differences in crucial areas, especially in respect of new issues, you are probably forcing many of us to put the entire text in square brackets.
Mr Chairman, I have very serious problems with the suggestion that your text should be transmitted as it is to the Ministers. Such a course of action, we strongly feel will not be appropriate. I do not think it is fair to cause any disadvantage to any Member of the Organisation through a Chairman’s text. WTO is a forum for negotiations. Sometimes, we acquiesce when a Chairman comes out with a text after wide ranging consultations. Today we are dealing with a momentous issue, which will have tremendous impact on the commercial, economic and social life of billions of people. This is, therefore, not an ordinary issue....It is not possible for me to acquiesce in a situation where a draft ministerial declaration is transmitted to the Ministers without reflecting concerns and objections from a large number of countries including mine.
You will recall, Mr Chairman, the Seattle text was transmitted with the consensus of the General Council contained various options relating to various issues in square brackets. I know that it has been a fashion to criticise that text saying that is was unmanageable. However, that text had the merit of not prejudicing anybody’s position. We feel that by opting for a clean text without appropriately reflecting the different positions at least on major issues, we have swung to the other extreme. If appropriate revision of the text is not considered possible at this stage, at a minimum, there should be a clear covering letter as an integral part of the DMD explaining the main differences encountered and options suggested on critical issues during the preparatory process. We visualise this covering letter to deal with substance and not on process alone.
... I would like to emphasise again the need to accommodate the expressions and positions of a singificant number of countries in the draft Ministerial Declaration when it is transmitted to the Doha Ministerial Conference.
...The manner in which the four Singapore subjects have been dealt with in general and in particular, the language suggested for “trade and investment” and “trade and competition policy” is extremely disturbing. Mr Chairman, my delegation has repeatedly expressed its inability to accept commencement of negotiations either explicitly or implicitly, in respect of the four Singapore subjects. In your text of 26 September you had provided two options each for investment and competition. In a number of consultations, multilateral, plurilateral and bilateral, many delegations, including my own, have voiced our strong opposition to the negotiating option as well as the so-called “opt-in/opt-out” approach in respect of investment and competition. In the context of competition policy, a large number of delegations including my own had expressed serious reservations on a number of occasions about commencement of negotiations in this complex area, without first acquiring at least some minimum experience in implementing domestic competition law.
It is surprising and, upsetting, to find that the earlier paras giving options on Investment and Competition have been dropped and the draft now has, according to our reading, only the option of negotiations. We strongly urge that the option of continuation of study with a report to the fifth ministerial conference be reintroduced. We are also of the view that the way these two subjects have been handled in the draft of 27 October clearly prejudices my delegation’s interest. We would urge that our position is reflected as an option in your draft, especially because of your own acknowledgment that on these two Singapore subjects the opinion is more or less equally divided.
The fact that the option proposed by our delegation and a large number of delegations in respect of investment and competition, does not find place in your draft is particularly disturbing in the light of the fact that the Singapore Ministerial Declaration gave a solemn undertaking to the effect that in these two areas, the study mode will not be converted into negotiation mode unless there is explicit consensus. It has been clear to everybody including yourself that such a consensus is nowhere in sight. When a significant number of WTO Members have serious concerns, I do not think the system will be well served by going along the route indicated in paragraphs 20 and 21 of the revised draft declaration.
As regards para 22 and 23 relating to transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation, the draft clearly proposes negotiations, while we have all along been urging for continuation of the study process, in as much as there is no consensus yet even on the elements like scope and definition.
Organisation of the Work Programme
... The last section of the draft on organisation and management of the wrok programme continues to cause us concern. In particular, we do not see any need for a separate Trade Negotiation Committee and the negotiations should be conducted through the existing bodies under the direct supervision of the General Council.
As regards market access for non-agricultural products, we repeatedly pointed out that the word ‘comprehensive’ in the second sentence would create serious problems for countries like mine in relation to some extremely sensitive sectors. Moreover, we are not clear about the inclusion of the phrase “high tariff’ in the draft which can lead to asymmetry in the outcome of negotiations to the developing and least developed countries...In the last General Council meeting, my delegation had associated itself with the suggestions made by Kenya, Tanzania and other countries that there should be a study process to assess the impact of tariff reductions already carried out by a number of developing and least developed countries. We feel that this suggestion needs serious consideration.
TRIPS and public health
... On the Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. First, the title should be changed to the “Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health” as suggested by other delegations. Second, the most important issue in the whole declaration figures in paragraph 4 as two options. We strongly suggest that retention of option 1 in paragraph 4 and the deletion of option 2. We have other concerns relating to other paragraphs, which we will raise at an appropriate time.
STATEMENT BY INDONESIA AT THE GENERAL COUNCIL 31 OCT 2001.
On the process, overall text and transmission of the text
Mr. Chairman, In view of the significant changes found in the revised draft some delegations have said that the current draft is well balanced and accommodate the demands of both developed and developing countries. Indonesia however cannot agree with these statements..In entering negotiations for the preparation of this fourth ministerial meeting, developed countries had tabled far higher demands than developing countries, which tended to be on the defensive. For this reason we cannot say that the current revised draft Declaration provides equal benefit for both developed and developing countries... Having said this and in our efforts to be constructive, Indonesia recognizes that there are some positive changes in the revised draft. However, it would be remiss of me if I do not convey Indonesia’s deep concerns that the revised draft still does not take away the serious problems faced by Indonesia on certain contentious issues.
...In conclusion, my delegation is strongly of the view that the positions of delegations which were not reflected in the draft.-text to be transmitted to the Ministers, should not be prejudiced in any way by the transmission of the current Draft Declaration to the Ministers in the present form. [If the draft Declaration is to be transmitted in the present form, for the sake of fairness, my delegation would like to urge you to give in your covering note a brief summary reflecting the state of play of various issues. The covering note should be incorporated as an integral part of the Draft Declaration. ]
Indonesia has grave difficulties with Paragraphs 20 and 21, where the current text contains commitments for members to negotiate on investment and competition policy. As currently drafted, our interpretation of the text is that the negotiation will even begin immediately after Doha, under the term “clarifying elements”. My delegation has repeatedly and clearly stated that Indonesia is not in a position to begin negotiations on any of these issues without firstly knowing and understanding the costs and full implications of such proposed agreements to Indonesia’s national interests. Furthermore, we are not clear on what the text exactly meant by “the question of participation”. If this means or refers to a “plurilateral agreement’ or an “opt-in-opt-out approach”, Indonesia has difficulties to support such an approach, as we believe it will undermine the multilateral character of the WTO. My delegation deeply regrets that despite repeatedly stating our position that a more focused examination by the Working Groups in these areas should be continued, this option has however been removed from the present text.
With respect to the issues of transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation, the option of negotiation is retained as the only alternative for paragraphs 22 and 23. Indonesia cannot support these paragraphs as the text proposes immediate negotiations. On various occasions, Indonesia has repeatedly expressed its position on government procurement, that we should complete the identification of elements to be developed for an appropriate agreement before commencing the negotiation on transparency in government procurement. A similar position applies to trade facilitation. Indonesia wants to fully comprehend the implications of negotiations on trade facilitation before agreeing to negotiate. The reference to ensuring that appropriate arrangements will be made for the provision of technical assistance and support for capacity building will not take away our concerns.
Organisation of the work programme
My delegation is deeply concerned to see that the revised draft fully retains paragraphs 38 to 45, without brackets. We reiterate our position, that we consider the provisions of the Organisation and Management of Work Programme, which signify the launching of a new Round in the WTO, as still being controversial.
On TRIPS, while Indonesia welcomes the insertion of paragraph 17 which acknowledges a separate declaration for TRIPS and Public Health, we are however unable to agree with the current formulation of the of the paragraph, as it limits the scope of public health to only the promotion of access to existing medicines and research and development of new medicines. With regards to the separate draft text on TRIPS and Public Health, Indonesia would like to emphasis that as a political declaration, option 1 (one) on paragraph 4, is fundamental to the whole exercise of making a separate declaration, as this will send a positive signal to our constituency and to the world community, that TRIPS does not impede on members’ ability to protect Public Health. For this reason Indonesia is of the position that option 1 (one) for this paragraph is thus the most appropriate option.
STATEMENT BY BARBADOS AT GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING, 31 OCT 2001
On the process, overall text and transmission of text
We wish to thank you, the Director General and the Secretariat for the very hard work which all of you have undertaken during the past weeks. However, we must let you know that we are deeply disappointed with the end product of that hard work. Like many things in this life, depending on the vantage point from which delegations view this text, they will react to it in a particular manner. Those who stand to benefit most will describe it as a “balanced text” and will encourage those of us who will benefit accept it as a good working document. However, countries like mine whose share of world trade is so insignificant that the WTO Secretariat has had so much difficulty in quantifying it that they record it as 0.00%, are compelled to regard the draft Declaration as falling short of what is necessary to enable us to rise above that level.
Mr. Chairman, this is the context within which we go to Doha and within which we must, of necessity, view the text before us. Regrettably, we must admit that there is nothing in the text which causes us to feel that our situation will be any different after Doha except that we will come away with more obligations but still with 0.00% of world trade...A careful examination of the language which is used in the paragraphs of interest to the developed countries and that which is used in the paragraphs of interest to the developing countries will show why we are concerned...An outcome which will lead to more skewed distribution of the benefits of international trade than currently exists will not serve those wider interests and will certainly not enhance the image of this Organisation in the eyes of those who look at it in a critical and objective way.
With regard to the preambular paragraphs 1 to 4, Barbados is of the view that the minimal amendments that have been undertaken in Rev.1 represent a rather feeble attempt to respond to criticism from developing countries that (a) the draft Declaration does not pay sufficient attention to development issues and that (b) the preambular paragraphs suggest, incorrectly, that all Members have benefited from the multilateral trading system. Many developing country delegations, including Barbados, have emphasized that a major lacuna of the text is the absence of a concrete action plan on the development dimension. These delegations have noted that the text should focus on the issue of the redressal of the imbalances existing in the multilateral trading system and the objective of a more equitable distribution of gains.
...In concluding, Mr. Chairman, let me indicate that we have difficulty with the present text and the manner, and format, in which it is proposed that the text will be transmitted to our Ministers. Our major concern is that unless there are changes to the text, the marginalisation about which Ministers were so “deeply concerned” in 1998 in Geneva will become a reality under the terms of this Declaration. Mr. Chairman, we are sure that everyone will understand the reason for our apprehension because having a share of trade of 0.00% is certainly nothing for us to be proud about.
With regard to paragraphs 20 & 21, we would wish to note that these revised texts ignore the fact that there is still an absence of consensus on the matter of negotiations in these areas. The new texts effectively ignore the positions articulated by many developing countries, including Barbados, that (a) it is neither appropriate nor necessary, at this stage, to commence negotiations on these issues with a view to formulating binding rules, (b) that negotiations in these areas should commence only on the basis of explicit consensus and (c) that the existing study processes should be continued on the basis of the mandates contained in the Singapore Ministerial Declaration. It may be useful to recall that with respect to the issues of investment and competition policy, the Singapore Ministerial Declaration states “It is clearly understood that future negotiations, if any, regarding multilateral disciplines in these areas, will take place only after an explicit consensus decision is taken among WTO Members regarding such negotiations”. While the amendments in JOB 140 Rev. 1 delete any explicit reference to negotiations, the paragraphs nonetheless effectively bind Members into preparations for negotiations in investment and competition policy. The 2-phase approach which is utilised merely delays the launch of negotiations until the Fifth Ministerial Conference. Furthermore, we feel that the precedent of an opt-in/opt-out (i.e. plurilateral) approach to negotiations is extremely dangerous and may have grave systemic consequences.
With regard to paragraphs 22 & 23, we note that the amendments to these texts would seem to take into account the concerns expressed by some members on the issue of compliance. However it is our view that the deletion of the word “compliance” does not remove the spectre of the concept from the amended language. We note the inclusion of the linkage between implementation of the outcome on one hand and developing countries’ capacity and technical assistance provided on the other hand. However, we consider that the commitment to technical assistance is fatally flawed by the qualification “adequate”. In effect, it must be recognised that the substantially unchanged texts effectively ignore the lack of consensus on the appropriateness or necessity of negotiations in this area and the opposition of many Members to the formulation of binding rules in these areas.
With regard to paragraph 16, we would wish to note that the revised text does not reflect the fact that there is still an absence of consensus on the matter of these negotiations. In the eventuality of future negotiations, we consider that the removal of the explicit reference in the text to “less than full reciprocity” for developing countries is unfortunate. We are also concerned that the revisions to the text have ignored the calls repeatedly made by developing country delegations that any future industrial product negotiations will have to be on the basis of bound tariffs. We note the introduction of the reference to the reduction or elimination of “high tariffs” and judge it to be unfortunate. It should be recalled that many developing countries have repeatedly called for the completion of a study process aimed at analysing the effects of previous and future tariff reductions on developing country economies prior to the launch of new market access negotiations. We have difficulty with the fact that this call, which we fully support, has been ignored.
Organisation of Work Programme
With regard to paragraph 11, Barbados notes that although there is still no consensus on a new round, this text, which remains unchanged from the first draft, has been formulated with the objective of launching a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. Barbados still has significant concerns on this matter.
With regard to paragraphs 38 to 45, we are concerned that the revised texts remain effectively unchanged, barring the addition of new language in paragraph 43. This lack of substantive amendment ignores many concerns expressed by many developing countries, including the concern that there is no need for the creation of a separate Trade Negotiations Committee, since any future negotiations can be conducted in the relevant existing bodies under the supervision of the General Council.
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR B.M. BOWA OF ZAMBIA TO THE GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING OF 31 OCTOBER, 2001
On process and overall text
Mr Chairman, my delegation strongly supports the statement made by the Coordinator of the LDCs. Zambia, like other LDCs, has been an active WTO Member and we have made every effort to fulfil and implement our obligations and commitment in the hope of gaining a share in the expected benefits of being a part of the multilateral trading system. This is why we are extremely disappointed by the text before us, not just that our participation has so far not yielded any material benefits but indications are that they may never materialise and we will continue to be perpetually marginalised.
... As this text clearly shows, our priorities and needs continue to be largely ignored. Let me emphasise that at no time have we tried to place our point of view above others. Rather, we have been asking for a balanced and equitable text which reflects the interests and needs of the range of the membership and not just a few, as is the case with the current draft before us. The WTO cannot continue to ignore our views if it is genuinely serious about integrating LDCs and putting development at the heart of its work. This situation should be of great concern for all Members.
... The above points are of crucial importance to use and to the future of the WTO as a fair and equitable rules based system. If we have fallen on deaf ears up until now, we hope we are loud and clear at this critical juncture. In view of the time constraints to allow changes to be made to the current draft Ministerial Declaration to incorporate our views, we request that the statement by the LDC and African Coordinators, be transmitted to the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference.
New issues and industrial tariffs
... In the text before us what we have been referring to as the new issues, that is, trade and investment, trade and competition, transparency in government procurement, trade facilitation and market access for non-agricultural products are presented as items for negotiation. But as you are aware, Mr Chairman, this does not reflect the wish of a significant portion of the membership and is therefore highly problematic. Our position on this has been and continues to be clear—we are simply not in a position to undertake new negotiations in these areas.
Similarly, Mr Chairman, Zambia associates itself with the proposal put forward by Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe calling for withholding negotiations on industrial tariffs pending a study process, in light of the negative experiences of a range of developing countries in this area so far.
Therefore, the option put forward by LDCs and many developing countries to continue a focussed study process without any commitments to launch negotiations at a later date is a serious one and need to be included in the draft and tehn put to the Ministers in Doha for a final decision. To leave out this option would not be an accurate reflection of the positions of the wider membership.
STATEMENT BY KENYA AT THE GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING, 31 OCT 2001
On the process, the overall text and transmission of text
Mr. Chairman, Kenya wishes to associate itself fully with the statement made by Zimbabwe on behalf of the African Group. While the process you undertook to prepare for the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference may have been right, the end product falls short of our expectations. We see it as work in progress because you have clearly stated that the texts do not purport to be agreed. Following this, we would have expected you to point out in these texts the divergent views held by different delegations to assist our Ministers take appropriate decisions at Doha. In the absence of an explicit consensus by the Council, to transmit these documents to the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference, all of them remain bracketed. We, therefore, appeal to your good office to highlight in the same texts the main areas of disagreements and the different views held by delegations. You have already attempted to do so in the text on TRIPS and Public Health. The same standard should prevail in other texts as well. In Kenya’s view it is the responsibility of the General Council to ensure that the texts submitted to the Ministerial Conference faithfully reflect the views expressed by members during the consultative process.
We are, therefore, concerned that these texts are being transmitted to the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference without agreement to do so by the council. Moreover we would like to point out the glaring contradiction of non-consensual documents under the title of the General council being transmitted to the conference. Many delegations have expressed their views that the texts are biased towards one side and transmitting them in their present form will have far reaching consequences for the credibility of the multilateral trading system.
The General Council meeting of February 8, 2001 authorized you and the Director, General to start consultation on both organizational and substantive matters related to the preparation of the 4th session of the Ministerial Conference and to report back to the General Council on progress made. Indeed your cover note for the first draft states: “The attached draft Ministeria1 Declaration is submitted for the consideration of delegations by the Chairman of the General Council in co-operation with the Director-General. Lt represents what they judge to be the best possible basis at the present time for reaching an eventual consensus on a balanced text to be put before Ministers in Doha. This draft does not of course purport to be agreed in any part, and it is understood that agreement must be reached on the text as a whole. The present draft presents options in certain areas, and in other areas text remains to be developed. These are indicated by notes in italics which are not to be read as part of the text proper. Further intensive consultations based on this draft are envisaged, with the aim of resolving outstanding differences before a revision is issued.”
Your revised texts seem to deviate from your earlier approach as you indicate that they are for transmission to the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference yet they are not agreed in any part at this stage. There are several parts of the texts that do not meet our expectations....
On Singapore issues, we are still committed to the Ministers’ decision contained in, Singapore Ministerial declaration that “future negotiations, if any, regarding multilateral disciplines on these areas will take place only after an explicit consensus decision is taken among the WTO Members regarding such negotiations.” The consultations held thus far did not engender convergence of views and as such the language of your text pertaining to the Singapore subjects is heavily tilted towards the view point of those Members, who have been seeking to engage in negotiations.
I now turn to paragraph 16. You will recall that Kenya on behalf of 7 countries submitted to you a proposal on a study process to precede negotiations on the issue of non-agricultural market access. This proposal was supported by a large number of countries and we were taken by surprise when your revised text remained silent on the proposal. Mr. Chairman the proposal was simply reiterating the African Trade Ministers’ decision taken in Abuja that a study process to assess the impact of the past and future tariff reductions in this sector precedes negotiations. We request that you circulate the proposal as a WTO document to Members as well as our Ministers in Doha.
Organisation of the Work Programme
If the WTO is committed to improving internal transparency in decision making, then it should consider very carefully how it would handle the future work programme. Developing and least developed countries with small Missions have consistently said that even with the current work programme, they are unable to follow all deliberations in the WTO. Small Missions like ours will be disadvantaged by the creation of additional bodies to handle future work programme. It is our contention that the existing WTO bodies are competent to handle any trade issues that may form part of the future work programme. We are also concerned that the more issues on the agenda the more meetings will be required and this will be very difficult for the small delegations to effectively engage in the process. Hence pursuing what is being touted as broad and balanced agenda risks continuing marginalization of poor developing countries in the WTO and carries an attendant risk that any final deal will not be perceived to be democratic and will not be politically acceptable
STATEMENT BY MALAYSIA AT GENERAL COUNCIL, 31 OCTOBER 2001
We maintain the position that in agreeing to the future work programme, it should enhance the WTO system and not place unnecessary burden on developing countries. In this connection, we believe that initiating negotiations, albeit at the Fifth Ministerial Conference, on investment and competition when it had been clear that many developing countries are not ready for such a commitment, does cause us concern. We appreciate that the Chair has forwarded a two-step approach that was what we had envisaged as a way out of the impasse. However, the Chair’s appraoch and ours differ in its outcome. Malaysia’s two-step approach would allow Ministers to decide based on the focussed study whether negotiations would be undertaken. The purpose of the focussed study period should actually provide us with the necessary inputs to determine whether these issues would be of benefit. On the other hand, the thrust of the Chair’s proposed approach automatically leads to negotiations. The text as it stands now presupposes that there is already agreement to negotiate and Ministers at the Fifth Ministerial Conference only having to decide on the modalities of negotiations. We also mainatain our position that the two=-step approach be applicable to issues relating to transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation, We cannot agree to negotiations upfront.
Our concern is also based on systemic grounds. When the House is fuindamentally divided on certain issues, we would believe that more thought should go into the process rather than having these issues imposed on the other party. We find this an unhealthy trend. We belive Ministers should reconsider these matters in Doha.
Organisation of Work Programme
We would like to state that some members especially our major trading partners have argued forcefully that a new round of negotiations was in the interests of developing countries. They have also given the assurance that it would be a development Round. Indeed if this is the desired objective, then from our perspective, it would be logical that the WTO’s future work programme should as a matter of priority correct the systemic concerns of the multilateral trading system. Consequently, it would make little sense to burden the WTO system with even more new issues. These systemic concerns have to do with fair and just trading system where the benefits of free trade are more evenly distributed among trading partners especially developing countries....It is imperative that we do not ignore concerns about fairness and justice in the current trading system. Therefore it is crucial that the WTO’s future work programme that we agree on at Doha is not only one which incorporates the development issues but also provides sufficient flexibility by taking into account the diversity of levels of development of developing countries. Indeed this is the only pragmatic way forward. If we choose to ignore this approach we may actually be undermining the only multilateral trading system that we are supposed to be steering.