TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Dec10/06)
11 December 2010
Third World Network

Intensive work programme proposed for Doha talks
Published in SUNS #7051dated 1 December 2010

Geneva, 30 Nov (Kanaga Raja) -- An intensive programme of work advancing on all fronts of the Doha negotiations at the same time now appears to be on the cards from the beginning of next year.

This emerged at an informal meeting of the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) Tuesday, where TNC Chair Pascal Lamy outlined a work programme for the Doha negotiations that he has proposed to the full membership.

According to the work programme proposed by Lamy (together with the Chairs of the Negotiating Groups), from 10 January 2010 onwards, the rules, trade facilitation, trade and environment, TRIPS and development groups will begin intensive sessions, to be joined from 17 January onwards by agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA), services and dispute settlement.

A plan for the greater involvement of senior officials is also envisaged as the work intensifies in the months ahead.

Lamy, who is also the Director-General, further indicated to the membership that revised texts in all the areas of the negotiation will have to be developed "so that they appear towards the end of the first quarter of 2011."

The programme of intensified efforts at the WTO over the coming months follows from the so-called political signal concerning the Doha Round that was sent from the G20 leaders at their Seoul summit on 11-12 November.

In their declaration, the G20 leaders stated their strong commitment to direct their negotiators "to engage in across-the-board negotiations to promptly bring the Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on the progress already achieved.

The G20 leaders added: "We recognize that 2011 is a critical window of opportunity, albeit narrow, and that engagement among our representatives must intensify and expand. We now need to complete the end game..."

(A full report on the informal TNC meeting will appear in the next issue of SUNS.) +