BACK TO MAIN  |  ONLINE BOOKSTORE  |  HOW TO ORDER

TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr07/08)

24 April 2007

 
 
Agriculture Chair to prepare "challenge" paper at end of week
 

The chair of the WTO's Doha agriculture negotiations, Ambassador Crawford Falconer will issue a provocative "challenge" paper at the end of this week that he said will be a precursor to a revised draft of an agriculture text.
 
Speaking last Friday to journalists Falconer said it would be a "challenge paper", designed to challenge the WTO members to make decisions, said Crawford. The paper would also indicate where the "centres of gravity" are.
 
In June 2006, Crawford had issued a paper containing draft texts on various agriculture issues, many of them in brackets, and with alternative options, based on different positions of the members.
 
Below is a report of Crawford's stated intentions.  It was published in SUNS of 23 April.
 
With best wishes
Martin Khor
TWN
 
---------------------------------------
 

Agriculture Chair to prepare "challenge" paper at end of week  
By Martin Khor (TWN), Geneva, 20 April 2007
 
 
The chair of the WTO's Doha agriculture negotiations, Ambassador Crawford Falconer of New Zealand, said Friday that he would be preparing a provocative "challenge" paper at the end of next week that would be a precursor to a revised draft of an agriculture text.
 
Speaking to journalists after the Trade Negotiations Committee meeting, Falconer indicated that his paper would be issued in the two days following the informal agriculture meeting of Wednesday, 25 April.
 
The paper would not be in the form of questions, but it would be a "challenge paper", designed to challenge the WTO members to make decisions, said Crawford. The paper would also indicate where the "centres of gravity" are.
 
By this, Crawford presumably was referring to the middle grounds on various issues, around which different positions are held by different countries and groupings.
 
In June 2006, Crawford had issued a paper containing draft texts on various agriculture issues, many of them in brackets, and with alternative options, based on different positions of the members.
 
He said that his paper next week would not be a new version of this draft, but a "precursor to the next revised text."
 
A draft text is not like instant pot noodles, he said, that could be produced and eaten just like that. There may be many drafts. Only in the WTO has there been the practice and expectation to produce one single text, while in other organisations like the United Nations, many drafts are produced and negotiated in a process, such as in the talks on climate change, said Falconer.
 
Asked how the G4 process interfaced with the Geneva process, which received a boost at the TNC meeting, Falconer said convergence among the G4 would of course help. But although it is a necessary condition, it is not a sufficient condition for overall agreement, as everyone would have to agree.
 
"There is one thing worse than the G4 reaching agreement, and that is that they agree but there is no time for others to consider what they agreed, and to reach their own agreement."
 
Asked on what the deadline should be for reaching agreement on agriculture modalities, Falconer said he was not interested in deadlines per se but he was interested in substance. Deadlines are important, because at some point all the oxygen goes out of the room, he said. But what matters now is the substance of members' positions.

 


BACK TO MAIN  |  ONLINE BOOKSTORE  |  HOW TO ORDER