TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Jan11/01)
17 January 2011
Third World Network

Negotiators at WTO gear up for intensified talks
Published in SUNS #7065 dated 13 January 2011

Geneva, 12 Jan (Kanaga Raja) -- Following the year-end break, the various negotiating groups including those on agriculture, non-agricultural market access (NAMA), rules and TRIPS are gearing up to intensify their work from early this year.

This is in line with a plan that was proposed by World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy and the Chairs of the negotiating groups whereby an intensive programme of work will commence from the beginning of this year on all fronts of the Doha Round of trade negotiations.

The aim of the plan is for revised texts in all the areas of the negotiations to emerge towards the end of the first quarter of 2011. (See SUNS #7052 dated 2 December 2010 and SUNS #7062 dated 16 December 2010.)

The Chair of the agriculture negotiations at the WTO has informed negotiators of his plans for the week of 17-21 January this year.

The Chair of the NAMA negotiations, for instance, has proposed a plan for the organization of the work in the NAMA negotiating group for the weeks of 10 January and 17 January 2011.

According to the work plan on NAMA, in the week of 10 January, "Friends of the Chair" meetings (involving about 11-12 delegations) will be held on the issue of transparency, the horizontal mechanism and on re-manufactured goods.

The week of 17 January will kick off with an open-ended informal transparency session.

This is expected to be followed during the week by "Room D" sessions (involving about 40 delegations) on conformity assessment and international standards in the on-going discussions on Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), the proposal on textile labelling, the chemical, electronics and auto proposals, as well as the Non-Tariff Barriers Framework. (See SUNS #7063 dated 17 December 2010.)

Concerning the work plan for agriculture, the Chair of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture, Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand, told negotiators that an open-ended informal meeting of the membership will be held on 17 January.

According to trade officials, the Chair will be inviting Members to report on developments that have taken place since the last meeting of the Special Session (last December) and to present new documents, if any, including on "templates".

During the week, Ambassador Walker will continue with his consultations on the various issues in the negotiations, trade officials added.

Another open-ended informal meeting of the full membership on 21 January will close the week of negotiations.

The Chair is expected to report on his consultations during the week at this meeting.

Ambassador Walker had last held informal meetings on 6 and 10 December, at which he outlined a plan that would enable the negotiators to commence an end-game in the negotiations from 17 January, with the aim of coming up with near-final draft modalities text by the end of March.

The Chair had said that the work on the draft text would have four components, including issues proposed by some Members: outstanding issues; clarifying points that have emerged as unclear in the December 2008 draft text; correcting typographical errors; and completing data that will have to be attached to the draft modalities text. +