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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr14/06)
23 April 2014
Third World Network  

Diverging views on work programme to conclude Doha agenda
Published in SUNS #7782 dated 10 April 2014

Geneva, 9 Apr (Kanaga Raja) - The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Roberto Azevedo, and key developing countries and their groupings seemed to differ sharply this week on the post-Bali work programme and how to move forward and conclude the Doha negotiations as mandated by the Ministerial Conference held in Bali last December.

A formal meeting of the WTO's Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) this week heard some differing views from Members on developing a post-Bali work programme aimed at concluding the remaining so-called Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issues.

The views came in the statements of delegations, at the day-long TNC meeting on 7 April, following a report by Azevedo, in his capacity as Chair of the TNC.

At the meeting, Mr. Azevedo, in his capacity as TNC Chair, seemed to be favouring a move away from the 2008 draft modalities texts in agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA), and finding solutions around the texts to conclude the Round.

A large number of developing countries, perhaps the majority of the WTO membership, did not seem to agree, but rather insisted on resuming work from the 2008 texts, as a basis for concluding the negotiations as a Single Undertaking.

Brazil (for the G-20), China, India, the LDCs, and other developing country groupings, with various nuances, did not favour the course advocated by the D-G (as also the US and EU), but reiterated the need for balance in agriculture and reform of its three pillars (domestic support, export competition and market access), non-agricultural market access and services, with agriculture setting the level of ambition in other areas.

While the US and other industrialised countries, and some developing countries, spoke of the new realities, developing countries did not seem impressed. "We cannot go without the past," said China, while India accused the industrial countries of raising new issues in order to resile from past commitments. Brazil said Members had to deal with 20th century issues before tackling 21st century ones, and focus on agriculture and agriculture subsidies.

The US said work in agriculture must be based on current data and who is subsidising today and how. It said that this data must include an accurate picture of agricultural subsidies as they exist today. "We can't make progress if we are still looking to the past - sometimes decades in the past - to provide the factual basis for our negotiations." the US added.

[According to the OECD data, total agricultural support in OECD countries as a whole has nearly doubled since 1994, when the Marrakesh Treaty was concluded. In 2011, Total Support Estimate was US$406,748.81 million (1994: $358,719.02 million); of which, $123,166.94 million was transfers from consumers to producers (1994: $211,212.24 million), and $310,790.47 million was transfers from tax-payers (1994: $189,900.68 million). Through box-shifting and fudged data reports, the increases in support have been classified as non-actionable ‘green box' support programmes.

[French agronomist and civil society activist, Jacques Berthelot, has several papers at Solidarite.org, detailing the actual support to agricultural producers in OECD countries, with particular reference to the US and EU, in various commodities, and has been advocating the need for looking at agri-support, in terms of total support.

[Developing country trade diplomats noted that while the US on Monday called for work in agriculture based on the latest data, on the food security issue and developing countries providing subsidised food/grains to their poor, the US was insisting (as the Agreement on Agriculture text of 1994 provided), the difference between price of public procurement from producers and the external reference prices of 1986-88, should be treated as subsidy, resulting in countries like India hitting their allowed ceilings. This US stance at Bali brought that meeting almost to a collapse, with India refusing to agree to a consensus unless its views on food security for its poor was freed from any WTO challenge. - SUNS].

At the ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali last December, Ministers had instructed the TNC to prepare within the next 12 months, a clearly defined work programme on the remaining DDA issues.

At the TNC meeting on 7 April, many developing countries reiterated that development, agriculture and the Least Developed Country (LDC) issues must be a priority for the work programme, and that the rest of the Doha Round negotiations should be concluded as a single undertaking. They also underscored that there should be no new issues injected into the DDA until the current negotiations are concluded.

They also consider that the December 2008 draft modalities texts for agriculture (Rev.4 text) and non-agricultural market access (Rev.3 text) to be stabilised and that these should be the basis for the negotiations.

China, for instance, said: "All that [was] achieved are embodied in the Doha Mandate, Single Undertaking, Modalities and consensus reached in 2008 and relevant Ministerial Declarations and Decisions. We cannot simply ignore or skip them."

On the other hand, the United States was of the view that while Members have been negotiating the Doha Round, time has passed and the world has changed. "Any impulse to return to previous ways of working, with a rigid focus on the same negotiating texts that failed in the past, will doom our efforts now," the US added.

The European Union also said that the world has changed and evolved, and that the discussions "must reflect the problems and questions we face today, and not those we faced five or ten years ago. The overall balance and the level of ambition that we seek must reflect today's world and what each one of us can deliver today."

"Although the approaches set out in the 2008 modalities did not work and did not gain the acceptance of Members, this does not mean that we have to start from scratch. To start with, the development objectives of the Round remain as valid as ever; the EU stands ready to explore with developing countries the most appropriate way of getting there," the EU further said.

In his opening statement earlier at the TNC meeting on 7 April, D-G Azevedo said that everything that he has heard in recent days and weeks suggest that "we need to be deepening our discussions, and engaging in a more direct, purposeful manner in order to identify the best way forward."

"Rather than restating old positions and aiming for our perfect outcomes, we have to accept that there are no perfect outcomes. Instead, we have to focus on the art of the possible," he said.

For example, he said, "some have been saying that we need to conclude our negotiations using the 2008 texts as they are. Of course, these texts are an important - indeed fundamental - part of how to assess the situation. They are the result of a genuine attempt by the respective Chairs to strike a balance and to move towards a zone of convergence acceptable to all Members."

However, he added, despite their obvious contribution to the negotiations, Members could not agree on those texts when they were issued in 2008. "Members could not agree on them at that time. Members cannot agree on them now."

The D-G further said: "If any of you insists that those texts are cast in stone and unalterable, then you have made a choice; a choice that irreparably condemns our efforts to failure. We therefore must resume our task of finding the balance and the convergence that would enable progress towards the conclusion of the Round."

The D-G stressed however that while it is true that the 2008 texts are not agreed, he firmly believed that they can offer "very useful parameters" to frame "our efforts in shaping a work program to conclude the DDA".

"We must build on the insights and recommendations contained in those texts. We cannot disregard all the work that was put into them. So let's use these texts as an important input to our work, but we have to look for solutions that can lead to convergence today," he said.

"Again, it is my view that we need to be creative in this exercise - rather than repeating well-known positions. I don't think that kind of discussion is conducive to where we need to go. Instead, we need to test what options we have to find new solutions," he added.

(See SUNS #7780 dated 7 April 2014 for details of his statement to the TNC.)

A number of delegations spoke following the report by the TNC Chair.

According to trade officials, Myanmar (on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations - ASEAN), said that it is very important to implement the Bali decisions. It is firmly committed to developing a work programme for the DDA, and that the major players must take the lead.

Uganda, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), said that while there has been some progress in terms of increasing the LDCs' share of world trade, it has not seen this translate into enough progress to help these countries achieve their development objectives. It said that the group is in the process of holding internal consultations to develop its Doha strategies for the rest of this year.

Uganda said that the priority should be to focus on the implementation of those agreements from Bali that are not legally binding, and that this needs to be addressed as a high priority. The LDC issues that are part of this Bali package should be addressed with the same vigour as the Trade Facilitation Agreement has been. An outcome on the LDC issues will go a very long way towards ensuring an ambitious outcome across the board. It also wants to see the LDC services waiver operationalised.

On agriculture, Uganda said that the Rev.4 text should be the basis for the negotiations, and that the elimination of all forms of export competition in agriculture is very important. On NAMA, it said that it sees the need to go beyond the issue of tariff cuts, and that the issue of duty-free quota-free market access, as important as it is, is not sufficient. Non-tariff measures have to be dealt with as well, particularly to ensure more simplified rules of origin.

On the issue of Special and Differential treatment (S&D), Uganda said that what is important is to make these S&D elements more operational and more precise. On trade facilitation, it is important to make sure that Section II of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which pertains to technical assistance and capacity-building, be handled in the right way.

The LDCs also want to see that the rest of the Doha negotiations are handled as a single undertaking, in a process that is transparent and inclusive, and with the development dimension at the heart of these discussions.

Australia, on behalf of the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters, said that the Group is prepared to work on an ambitious work programme across the three pillars in agriculture.

On its own behalf, Australia said that it agreed with what Myanmar had said in that there must be leadership by the major players, but that every country must make a contribution.

Kenya, on behalf of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries, said that the implementation of the Bali Ministerial Declaration is of the greatest importance. It agreed with the interconnectedness of the issues of agriculture, NAMA and services. It also said that the ACP is engaged in internal consultations on how to move forward, but the responsibility lies with the key players. The ACP Group is not the cause of the impasse, it added.

On NAMA, it wants the Rev.3 text to be the basis for the negotiations, and that in agriculture, it wants the Rev.4 text to be the basis. It wants this supplemented with the Chairs' 2011 statements. It wants these to be the starting point for the negotiations in these areas.

Development, agriculture and LDC issues must be the priority for the work programme, it further said, adding that with respect to the post-Bali work programme, it is very interested in implementing those Bali issues that were not legally binding.

Burkina Faso, on behalf of the Cotton-4 countries, supported what the LDC and ACP groups had said. It said that the post-Bali process on cotton must be followed through, and that the mandate is to follow up on the 2004 framework agreement and the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, as well as the Rev.4 agriculture text. Cotton should be a priority of the post-Bali work programme. The conclusion of an agreement in cotton depends on contributions from all WTO Members. It wants the Rev.4 text to be the starting point.

Brazil, on behalf of the G-20, said that there is need for an agreement in agriculture that has balance internally and across the three pillars. It was of the view that the Rev.4 text is the basis for the negotiations. Agriculture is the benchmark that will determine the landing zones arrived at in the other areas. It is the determinant for the overall level of ambition in the Doha Round.

On behalf of itself, Brazil said that it is committed to full implementation of the Bali package. Pointing to the need to shift to specifics, it also said that the Bali process cannot be repeated. There is need to dedicate attention to the issues of agriculture, NAMA and services.

If we are not able to achieve a concrete result in agriculture and deal with trade-distorting support, we are not going to get an agreement elsewhere, Brazil cautioned, adding that the inability to address the distortions in agriculture are at the core of the questions about the WTO's credibility.

If we are unable to right the wrongs of agricultural trade from the 20th century, we should not be shifting our focus to the so-called ‘21st century issues', it stressed, adding that agriculture and development need to be at the centre of the negotiations.

No meaningful agreement can be achieved in the Doha context without getting a meaningful agreement in agriculture, and the core level of ambition in other (areas) can in no way exceed the level of ambition in agriculture, it said.

Lesotho, on behalf of the African Group, supported the LDC and ACP group statements. It said that the Group is also conducting a review of the DDA but it has clearly diagnosed that the Rev.3 NAMA text and the Rev.4 agriculture text should be the starting point for re-entry into the negotiations. It expressed worry that a departure from the Rev.3 and Rev.4 texts may in some way mean a departure from the Doha mandate itself, noting that some of the Bali decisions were in fact based on the Rev.4 text.

It said that the issues of cotton and export competition which were dealt with in the Bali agreements should be a priority in the post-Bali process. There is need to have negotiations covering all three pillars in agriculture, and the need to be able to make sure that there is S&D in this area, as in all areas of the DDA.

Pointing to those that have taken initiatives outside the multilateral negotiations on services and those that have proposed a plurilateral (agreement) for environmental goods, Lesotho said that these two approaches may cut Africa off from opportunities, especially if they are not implemented in a most-favoured-nation manner.

On trade facilitation, the African Group noted that implementation is underway but that it is critically important that there are available resources for trade-related technical assistance. Without this, it will compromise the overall quality of commitments made by developing countries. It also stressed that the principle of the single undertaking must be preserved and no new issues must be injected into the Doha negotiations.

Chinese Taipei, on behalf of the Recently Acceded Members (RAMs), said that there is need for a transparent and inclusive process, and that the development dimension must be central. There is a common view emerging on the interconnectivity and balance required across the issues of agriculture, NAMA and services.

There are less than nine months to go to fulfil the mandate from Ministers (at Bali) to the TNC to complete the Doha roadmap, it said, adding that there is need to build on the foundations of before and the December 2008 modalities texts should be the basis. It needs to be acknowledged that the RAMs have already made a substantial contribution and that there should be some S&D for that, it added.

Switzerland, on behalf of the G-10, said that there is a lot of support for what the D-G has outlined in respect of the interconnectivity of the issues. There are three pillars of agriculture and they must be balanced internally, and the agriculture pillar itself must be balanced against the issues of NAMA and services.

On behalf of itself, Switzerland said that there needs to be a parallel process in the three areas of agriculture, NAMA and services. The implementation of the Bali decisions is very important, and there is need for up-to-date data in terms of the latest trading landscape. There is also need to shift to a more substantive work programme. People may be tempted to go back to previous positions, but we can't simply restart from where we left off in 2008 because things are very different now. The level of ambition across the areas of agriculture, NAMA and services need to be calibrated, it added.

Indonesia, on behalf of the G-33, said that it is extremely important that those issues coming from the Bali outcomes that are not now legally binding are implemented in accordance with the mandate from Ministers. And those who believe that the draft modalities texts from 2008 are not the basis for negotiations, have the responsibility to come up with alternatives.

Dominica, on behalf of CARICOM (Caribbean Community), said that it is not feasible to have another ‘early harvest' or staggered approach. There is need to develop a work programme that is ‘doable' but also follows the single undertaking approach. There is also need to ensure that the development dimension remains the core objective of the Doha Round. It considers that the draft modalities texts for agriculture and NAMA to be stabilised, and that these should be the basis for the negotiations.

On services, the CARICOM said it puts primacy on the multilateral framework. Some Members think that two approaches - a multilateral and a (plurilateral) process - can work in parallel, but CARICOM is not convinced (of this).

Jordan, on behalf of the Arab Group, said that the single undertaking is the only principle that will allow for the right outcome, and that there should be no new issues for the DDA until these negotiations are completed. Agriculture has a central role and that the Rev.4 text should be the basis for the negotiations.

Guatemala, on behalf of the Small and Vulnerable Economies (SVEs), said that there must be a transparent, inclusive and bottom-up approach. The development dimension must remain as the main objective and the Rev.4 text should be the basis for the negotiations. The flexibilities for SVEs (in the Rev.4 agriculture text) must be preserved, just as the flexibilities in the Rev. 3 NAMA text must be preserved for the SVEs. It prefers a multilateral approach on services and it wants to make sure that the GATS flexibilities including targeted technical assistance will be preserved for the SVEs.

Pakistan said that priority should be given to the non-legally binding Bali issues. Members generally acknowledge that the Rev.3 and Rev.4 texts are a good basis for the negotiations.

The European Union (represented by Ambassador Angelos Pangratis) said that it remains strongly attached to the objective of concluding the DDA and is ready to engage in preparing a balanced and reasonable outcome.

"It is important for the next steps to draw lessons from the past and avoid getting bogged down in unhelpful discussions. We all know the reasons for previous failures and should steer well away from them. The world has changed and evolved; our discussions must reflect the problems and questions we face today, and not those we faced five or ten years ago. The overall balance and the level of ambition that we seek must reflect today's world and what each one of us can deliver today," said the EU.

"In order to move forward, we need to confront the question of how to achieve a balanced and satisfactory outcome on agriculture, NAMA and services. This is not an easy question, but we have a wealth of experience from previous years to inspire us in this task. What I take from our previous attempts is that, first, we need to simplify our approach, second, we need to adjust our expectations and, third, we need to address the issues with a genuinely open mind," the EU added.

"Although the approaches set out in the 2008 modalities did not work and did not gain the acceptance of Members, this does not mean that we have to start from scratch. To start with, the development objectives of the Round remain as valid as ever; the EU stands ready to explore with developing countries the most appropriate way of getting there," the EU further said.

It is important to bear in mind that the biggest development benefits will come from an agreement on the core negotiating areas, the EU emphasised, adding that on these, all Members will have to contribute according to their level of development - with special attention given to the interests of the Least Developed Countries.

The EU Ambassador said that his impression from the discussions "we've had over the last 3 months is that the only way to move forward is to aim for an outcome that is ambitious but realistic, reflecting both a clear balance between the core areas and reflecting developments in global trade, while being doable and agreeable to Members."

"In this context, we need to ensure work advances with appropriate parallelism and with a similar level of ambition on all of the key issues: agriculture, NAMA, services and rules. Striking the right balance within and between these issues will require to evaluate and calibrate our expectations: the EU is ready to do this as long as others are ready as well and this is done across the board. Conversely, maintaining high ambition in one area while decreasing the ambition in others would not bring results," said the EU.

On agriculture issues, the EU said that Members will need to work on export competition and domestic support, and that the questionnaire on export competition is an important first step.

"Market Access for agricultural and non-agricultural products are two sides of the same coin and should be handled as such, in a balanced manner, together with services. They will be challenging, but if we calibrate our ambitions and look at approaches that have worked in the past, then we can move forward, provided that we all engage and seek solutions."

The EU said that services will need to reflect the overall level of ambition and Members should try to identify areas of common interest where progress could be achieved. Finally, any DDA package will need to contain a rules component: traders and industry around the world are looking to the WTO to address such issues as horizontal subsidies, in addition to agriculture subsidies, and Members need to be in a position to deliver. TRIPS issues, in particular GIs, are also an important element of this component, it added.

On trade facilitation, the EU said that good progress is being made to meet the deadlines set by Ministers on trade facilitation. It added that it will, together with other donor countries, organise a conference here in Geneva in June to showcase successful arrangements and concrete examples of cooperation in the area of trade facilitation.

According to trade officials, Nigeria said that the Rev.4 text is the basis for discussions on agriculture. It noted that trade-distorting domestic support continues to undermine development prospects in many developing countries. Referring to the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration objective of eliminating export competition by 2013, Nigeria said that it is a shame that this deadline was not achieved. It stressed on a transparent and inclusive process, as well as a bottom-up approach.

Colombia said that many developing countries believe that agriculture is the priority and it believes this to be the case too. There is need for a balanced outcome acceptable to all and there is sufficient value on the table for everyone if we keep an open mind, it added.

Japan said that with respect to the modalities texts, Members should not feel obliged to fully adhere to the modalities texts, and that there is need for more flexibilities and to take a step back from these texts and to look at them with hindsight and reflection based on the world of today.

Ecuador said that the single undertaking and the existing modalities texts are crucial. The post-Bali work programme must focus on the implementation of those Bali issues that are not legally binding. On services, it said that it is very important that there be sufficient flexibilities so that developing countries can preserve their regulatory objectives. And there must be specific flexibilities for LDCs and SVEs.

The United States (represented by Ambassador Michael Punke) said that as "we move forward, it will help all of us to remember the significance and lessons of the Bali Ministerial. We can't rest on past accomplishments. But we can draw practical inspiration from what we accomplished."

"In Bali, we achieved the first new multilateral agreement in the WTO since its creation. The Bali outcome is substantial, but the credibility of the WTO will depend upon our ability to finish what we started, completing the steps necessary to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and indeed all elements of our Bali outcomes, so that all can benefit."

The US said that targeted, practical technical assistance is a key part of the equation of successful implementation of the TFA (Trade Facilitation Agreement), and that in this context, it is pleased with the successful engagement it has already undertaken with Members such as Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Macedonia, Tunisia, Morocco, the Philippines, and a number of Central American countries.

According to the US, the parameters that the D-G laid out in the first post-Bali TNC - development, doability, balance, creativity, inclusiveness and transparency, and urgency -"reflect exactly the factors that led us to success in Bali. If we abandon these tenets and return to the stale debates and impasse that prevailed prior to MC8 [eighth Ministerial Conference], we certainly will fail."

"The inescapable reality is that, while we have been negotiating the Doha Round, time has passed, and the world has changed. The term ‘recently acceded', for example, had a different context in 2001 - or even 2008 - than it has today, years later. We can pretend otherwise, but it won't help us to solve problems," said the US.

"What we need most are new ideas and an ability to break away from engagement modes that have simply not been successful. Rather than opportunities to repeat rehearsed narratives, we need creativity and a spirit of pragmatism. We will welcome and give our closest attention to any new idea, from any quarter, that is genuinely motivated by a desire to take us forward," the US added.

On the key areas of agriculture, NAMA, and services, the US said that as it noted in each of these negotiating groups, "it is essential that our work in these areas is well-informed by the latest data on trends in trade and barriers to trade."

According to the US, this data must include an accurate picture of agricultural subsidies as they exist today.

"Agricultural subsidies may be a 20th century issue, but to address this issue in the 21st century, we must understand who is subsidising today and how. In a global commodities market, no other approach can be effective. We can't make progress if we're still looking to the past - sometimes decades in the past - to provide the factual basis for our negotiations. This starts with required and in many cases long-overdue notifications. Members who clamor for progress in Doha but fail to meet this basic obligation will have little credibility."

Furthermore, said the US, "any impulse to return to previous ways of working, with a rigid focus on the same negotiating texts that failed in the past, will doom our efforts now. This shouldn't mean that we can't draw on ideas that may have been circulating at earlier stages of the Doha negotiations. But nor should it mean that we can't draw on new ideas. Again, pragmatism represents the key."

Balance will be the key to finding a successful path forward, said the US, adding that any deal must be balanced among agriculture, NAMA, and services, and that it must be balanced within individual pillars, and with regard to individual issues.

"As many have reiterated today, this remains a round of negotiations with development at its core. We made deliveries on that at Bali, and we need to follow-through. A post-Bali work program that is broad-based and increases global trade will surely deliver additional development results," it said.

According to trade officials, Argentina said that there is need for balance among the three areas (of agriculture, NAMA and services), but that agriculture will determine the level of ambition in the other areas. In agriculture, Members have lagged behind the other two issues in terms of the process of reform.

The high level of trade-distorting domestic support today in industrial countries, especially the large countries, through Amber and Blue box subsidies, is a source of great trade distortion today. The elimination of export competition and all forms of export subsidies is the first priority that must be addressed and this was the mandate coming from Ministers from Bali, it said.

This is a very important contribution to achieving the development dimension, it said, adding that the key issue for development overall is agreement in agriculture and that the Bali agreements that were reached, while important, must be implemented to become more legally binding.

On NAMA, it said that S&D and the principle of less than full reciprocity are central and that there is no possibility that there could be more ambition in NAMA than in agriculture.

China (represented by Ambassador Yu Jianhua) supported the G-33 and G-20 statements. It said that faithful implementation of all the decisions of MC9 (Bali Ministerial Conference) remains the top priority for all Members, and that the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) represents an important outcome achieved with the joint efforts of all Members.

"We should ensure that all the implementation work be completed comprehensively before the end of July this year as set out in the Bali Ministerial Decision," said China, adding that in the meantime, the rights of developing and least developed country Members under the TFA should be fully guaranteed and special and differential treatment, including the provision of assistance and support for capacity-building, should be materialised, in order to ensure due implementation of the TFA.

Sharing some of its observations and reflections, China said that first, "we have to put things in perspective. We cannot go without the past. Where did we come from? Where are we going? What are we working for?"

China said that the DDA is not a short journey, and that from its start back in 2001 in Doha, until before Bali, "we were at the other side of the river. The Bali Ministerial was a bridge, which helped us get across the river and reach this side. But we are still on the same road, following the same traffic rules and road signs. Now we are still searching the way out to the destination. We know that we are not far from it. Our greatest assets are our experiences and lessons gained from the past, which would surely shine on our way forward."

"All that [was] achieved are embodied in the Doha Mandate, Single Undertaking, Modalities and consensus reached in 2008 and relevant Ministerial Declarations and Decisions. We cannot simply ignore or skip them," stressed China.

Second, said China, the DDA stands for development, which should be the centrepiece for the discussion in the coming second stage. It said that development is about materialisation of the Special and Differential Treatment and Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building (TACB), and it also means how much help and assistance the Post-Bali package can offer to the developing and least developed Members, helping them narrow the development gap.

"The existing S&D clauses are evidently not enough, and some core concerns of the developing and least developed Members are not fully addressed. Something more needs to be done. In this spirit, any Member, or anyone should not raise any new request or new concept which is at odds with the DDA mandate and detrimental to the completion of the work program."

Third, China said that "time is not on our side and we only have 9 months to work out the Post-Bali Work Program. For the Second Stage, we need to have a sense of urgency, which calls for frankness and trust among our Members, who are actually in the same boat. How to strike a balance between ‘the doable' and managing the level of ambition? The lessons we have learnt from the failures in the past is that ‘too many' and ‘too much' were requested in the negotiations. We made it in Bali because we succeeded in managing the level of ambition in terms of ‘too many'. If we want to repeat the success in Post-Bali, we must bend ‘too much' to a doable and realistic level. We must not challenge each others' red lines."

Mexico said that there is need to change gears and move to a new phase. There is an interconnectivity of the issues, it added.

Honduras supported the G-33 and the SVEs, while Saudi Arabia supported the Arab Group and the RAMs.

Egypt endorsed the G-20, Arab Group and African Group statements. It said that there is need to be guided by the single undertaking, both in letter and in spirit. It is concerned about the tendency to try and reopen the 2008 modalities texts on agriculture and NAMA, and that this could in fact undermine the development objective of the DDA.

On NAMA, it said that it is important that the principle of less than full reciprocity and S&D are preserved and that the formulas and flexibilities accorded to developing countries must also be preserved.

 


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