TWN Info Service
on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar10/17)
following launch of
The week-long stocktaking exercise was kicked off at a formal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) on Monday and is being conducted at the level of senior officials.
According to trade officials, the Director-General will be consulting this week with all the country groupings in the World Trade Organization.
A "Green Room" (of some 30-35 delegations) is expected to be held by Lamy on Thursday and a final formal TNC meeting is to take place on Friday for Members to wrap up the exercise and voice their views.
In his opening statement at the TNC on Monday, Lamy had said that at the TNC meeting on Friday, he will also provide Members with his impressions of the week's activities, and expressed hope that Members "will collectively get a sense of gaps remaining, the size of these gaps and the dynamic with which to address them."
He further expressed hope that "on the basis of our exchange of views on Friday, we will be able to send a strong signal to the outside world and focus the political energy that is needed to move the Round into the concluding phase." (See SUNS #6889 dated 23 March 2010.)
On Tuesday, the G90 group of developing countries in the WTO held consultations with the Director-General.
The G90 comprises the
African Group, the African,
According to a participant in the consultations, the meeting was about an exchange of views on the substance and process of the stocktaking exercise.
It was also an opportunity for the G90 to register its specific concerns, namely, on the centrality of the development dimension in the negotiations and ensuring that the multilateral process is maintained.
The G90 also called for an early harvest on cotton, duty-free quota-free market access for LDC products and a services waiver for the LDCs, said the trade diplomat.
Also on Tuesday, the G20 group of developing countries in the agriculture negotiations held its own internal coordination meeting in order to get its members' views on what they can expect from the stocktaking exercise and the way forward.
According to a developing-country
trade diplomat who attended the meeting, one assessment is that is
there anything the G20 can do to help foster the
The trade diplomat also noted that the G33 group of developing countries in the agriculture negotiations held its consultations last week and had made a statement at the formal meeting of the TNC on Monday. So far, he did not expect the G33 to hold its own meeting this week.
In its statement at
the formal TNC meeting on Monday, the G33 said that the stocktaking
provides the opportunity to renew Members' commitment to the development
objectives of the Round and generate new political momentum to conclude
the Round that delivers the development dividends it promised in
The G33 further said that the developing countries, especially the less-developed among them, stand to gain from a successful conclusion of the Round that is faithful to its development mandate. The conclusion of the Round, therefore, is most imperative. It has to result in enhancement of the role of the WTO in advancing the development goals of developing countries and make its provisions of special and differential treatment (S&D) operational.
In agriculture, the Doha Round must fulfill its mandate requiring that the S&D provisions be operationally effective to enable developing countries to adequately take into account their food security, livelihood security and rural development needs, the G33 told the formal TNC meeting on Monday.
It reiterated that while the agriculture Chair has been rightly focusing on the bracketed and annotated portions in the Rev. 4 text (draft modalities text), there are other unresolved issues in the text which still remain to be negotiated.
"It is our expectation that this path of intensive technical consultations on SSM is commensurately matched by parallel intensified work in other areas of the Round where gaps remain. SSM is just one of many other pending issues in the draft Agriculture Modalities," said the G33.
"We would therefore want to see that the Stocktaking exercise conclude with the nomination of all the pending issues that Members want to further address," it stressed.
Meanwhile, the European Union hosted a dinner on Monday evening with some 14 delegations.
Asked about this meeting,
a developing-country trade diplomat told SUNS that the
(Mr Punke's confirmation
remains blocked in the US Senate. Meanwhile, media reports have cited
the European Union's new trade commissioner Karel de Gucht as saying
that the first move has to come from the
The trade diplomat
said that the
As to concluding the Doha Round by 2010, the trade diplomat was of the view that it could not be done this year, by any stretch of the imagination.
Another developing-country trade diplomat told SUNS that the process is now far beyond reach.