Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Aug09/01)
Chair reports on week of discussions
Chair, Ambassador Luzius Wasescha of
[According to an article in the "WTO Reporter" on 8 July, WTO Director-General Mr. Pascal Lamy had called on the chairs of various negotiating groups to come out with revised draft texts, and according to some media reports, had suggested that this would be for the "mini-Ministerial" to be held in New Delhi, India before the Pittsburgh G20 summit in the third week of September.
NAMA Chair had bilateral consultations with
According to trade officials, most of the week of 13-17 July was devoted to a workshop for members on how to incorporate the results of the NAMA negotiations in their schedules (so-called scheduling) once the modalities are agreed.
Trade officials said that this was a very complicated and time-consuming technical exercise, which at this stage, can only be done as a simulation.
delegations and the Chair, Ambassador Wasescha of
Chair also held bilateral consultations with
to an informal open-ended meeting of the Group on Friday, the Chair
said that his consultations with
in the case of
to trade officials, the Chair also held consultations with a group of
countries concerning a "road map" for the work in the autumn.
There seemed to be a sense among many of the countries that it was important
to send a positive signal from
With regards to the "road map", the Swiss envoy said that he will start with work on Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and on the sectoral initiative later on.
The Chair also met with the sponsors of the chemical sector (in respect of the sectoral initiative), who reported on the technical work that they are doing to increase their outreach.
According to trade officials, the Chair said that he found especially interesting the information provided on the cumulative impact of tariffs on the production of chemicals. Some sponsors of this sector though expressed regret over the lack of participation of the key players in this sector in the information meetings.
In this respect, the Chair said that there is a need for bilateral dialogue among delegations to see whether there is a common ground for a wider participation of members in this and other sectors.
Remarking on the overall picture in the negotiations, the Chair said that he was like a captain on a boat standing at the pier ready to sail, but the passengers, instead of boarding the boat, get their handkerchiefs out and bid him farewell.
He said that the interest to board the boat has to come from the members. He can provide incentives but members have to be the ones convinced to do the trip. "The boat is ready and our political leaders have given us the instruction to embark and sail, so let's do it", he said.
At a press briefing following the informal meeting, the Chair elaborated on the special circumstance of Argentina, saying that Argentina accepts the idea of a tariff-reduction formula but considers that the present proposal and the flexibilities attached to the formula does not help the country overcome its difficulties.
addition, there is the MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market) dimension,
which supposes internal negotiations between
his consultations with
In response to a question, the Chair said that he does not foresee work on the core modalities in September. "We now need to see other negotiating groups to catch up, because when you come to a final balancing, you have to have every file on the table", and not only agriculture and NAMA, he said. +