Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Nov08/06)
This emerged from
the discussions at a Green Room meeting of some thirty-plus WTO members
convened by Director-General Pascal Lamy on Monday following the conclusion
of the G-20 leaders' summit in
Paragraph 13 of
the communique issued by the G20 leaders related to the
It says: "We underscore the critical importance of rejecting protectionism and not turning inward in times of financial uncertainty. In this regard, within the next 12 months, we will refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports. Further, we shall strive to reach agreement this year on modalities that leads to a successful conclusion to the WTO's Doha Development Agenda with an ambitious and balanced outcome. We instruct our Trade Ministers to achieve this objective and stand ready to assist directly, as necessary. We also agree that our countries have the largest stake in the global trading system and therefore each must make the positive contributions necessary to achieve such an outcome."
Speaking to journalists
after the Green Room meeting, Ambassador Faizel Ismail of
He said that from
He added that South Africa made the point that if the developed countries simply demand what they want and what flexibilities they require, "we are not going to get the necessary political signals translated into leadership, and what we require now is leadership, particularly from the developed countries, to ensure that we see the flexibilities that is required to solve some of the outstanding issues."
"We are ready to work, but of course, our concerns have to be addressed in these negotiations," the South African envoy said.
Ambassador Roberto Azevedo of Brazil told journalists that there was no real discussion on the specific dates for a ministerial, but there were several comments made that "we needed some check points along the way just to establish whether we were in the right path and whether the Chairs had the elements to produce the texts."
"Essentially, it is a text-driven process. We need a text to get the ministers here. The question is, have we given enough to the Chairs so that they can produce a text that is useful for a ministerial meeting..."
The Brazilian envoy also said that there is going to be an acceleration of the process from now on. "That's also the consensus that we need to step up the pace," he said.
He noted that there is a General Council meeting on 19 December, so ministers have to finish their work before 19 December. "The earlier they (ministers) come, the more time they have to get things right and finalized.... Which means we don't have a lot of time."
The Brazilian envoy said that there will be another Green Room meeting on Sunday which would assess the work done this week, which is still the Chairs-led process.
Then, on Sunday, the Director-General holds a Green Room and "we could start into a horizontal mode from that point on."
He said that everybody
agreed that there was a clear political signal coming from the G-20
According to the Brazilian envoy, no one expressed reservations about holding a ministerial meeting.
According to Uruguayan
Ambassador Guillermo Valles Galmes, everyone at the Green Room meeting
made a reference to the G-20 communique and welcomed the paragraph relating
The Chairs-led process will continue and will be backed up by some horizontal discussions that will start from Sunday, with the Director-General chairing those meetings, he said.
He added that no dates were mentioned for a ministerial but everyone kept in mind that the General Council meets on 19 December.
Manuel Teehankee, referring to the political signal from
He said that to comply with the G-20 leaders' mandate, a ministerial would be required.
He pointed to two ingredients for modalities, namely, political leadership and momentum, and actual substantive technical work and consensus building by senior officials.
"So, we have condition number one, and so what remains is to fill in the second condition, which is the real substantive work," the Philippine envoy said.