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> Supachai Panitchpakdi’s speeches
> Director-General's statement
Introduction back to top
I would like to welcome delegations to this informal HODs meeting.
Following the terror attacks in London, allow me on your behalf and mine to
express our sympathy and profound condolences to the British people and
Government. We are outraged by the sheer magnitude of the destruction and
senseless loss of innocent life. We pledge our solidarity and support during
this difficult period.
I also want to express our sincere condolences to the delegation of Egypt
whose colleague, the Ambassador to Iraq, has been brutally murdered. We feel
his loss as a professional colleague and a brother.
As the Director-General and I mentioned in the convening Fax, the purpose of
this meeting is to have a discussion of progress in the negotiations and I
would add to exchange views on the way forward.
I would like to begin by inviting the Director-General, as Chairman of the
TNC, to give us an assessment of the state of progress in the negotiations.
The DG has given his candid assessment of the situation in the negotiating
areas as he sees it at this stage of the process. I am grateful to him for
that clear and factual assessment. I am sure that Members will express their
views and positions on, and support for, the assessment by the DG. The
present evident challenge is that it is unlikely that we will have agreed
elements of text by the end of July in any of the main areas of the
negotiations. It is my understanding that a similar situation prevails in
other areas of the DDA work programme. As Chairman of the Council this
situation is most regrettable. However, we must not dwell on regrets. We
must focus, as the DG has said, on moving forward.
I think it is important that we distinguish between our goals for Hong Kong
and what we seek to achieve by the end of July. Although July has
understandably been seen as an important marker in our process leading up to
Hong Kong, our main focus must remain on the Ministerial Conference itself.
Following the candid assessment by the DG in each of the areas of
negotiations, may I say that I have carefully, and independently, sought the
views of several and have carefully reviewed the outcomes of recent informal
Ministerial gatherings and exchanges. I believe we now would require clear
guidance to the extent possible from the membership on what we need to do
for the end of July.
Let me say a few words about the further process and the Council meeting at
the end of the month.
Further Process back to top
I believe it is imperative that we keep the focus firmly on making progress
on the substantive issues before us. With this in mind, I envisage that work
ongoing in each of the individual areas of the DDA work programme will
continue intensively through the remainder of this month, and that
delegations as well as Chairs will continue to use every opportunity to
advance our work on substantive issues. The informal Ministerial meeting in
China next week will be one such opportunity.
The Director-General and I will continue to meet with delegations in various
formats to facilitate further progress, and will also be in contact with
Chairs of negotiating groups and other bodies in their ongoing work. We will
also consider when we should meet again in this open-ended format.
The process this month will culminate with a meeting of the General Council
scheduled for 27 July, which will be the opportunity to take stock and
register progress on the basis of all work done since July 2004 and of the
reports from various bodies — including from the chairs of negotiating
groups. The reports of the Chairs will be made available to the membership.
At that meeting, the DG will provide a further assessment on the progress of
the negotiations in his regular report as Chair of the TNC, taking into
account individual reports from Chairs of negotiating groups which will be
submitted to the meeting of the TNC to be held prior to the General Council.
The Council will also receive a report from the Director-General on his
consultative process on all outstanding implementation issues under
paragraph 12(b) of the Doha Ministerial Declaration.
Furthermore, the Council will receive reports on the Work Programme on
special and differential treatment from both the Chair of the Special
Session of the CTD and from the Chairs of subsidiary bodies to whom a number
of S&D issues were referred in 2003. Also, the Chair of the Dedicated
Session of the Committee on Trade and Development will report on progress in
the Work Programme on Small Economies. The Council will, in addition,
receive a report from the Chair of the TRIPS Council on the implementation
of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public
Our objectives for Hong Kong are clear. These are the objectives around
which a consensus has been built since the July 2004 framework, namely that
we must agree to modalities in the key areas of the negotiations, if we are
to close the round in 2006.
Beyond July back to top
I believe that it will also be useful at this stage to look beyond July and
to recall the elements that have to come together by the Hong Kong
Ministerial. It is essential that we work towards an ambitious and balanced
outcome at Hong Kong. This must include not only negotiating modalities for
Agriculture and NAMA, but also real progress on substance and process for
market access and rule making in Services, significant and substantial
progress in Rules and Trade Facilitation, and tangible development gains in
accordance with the mandate of the DDA.
At the same time, we musn't forget that there are a number of other elements
of the Doha work programme — which include a number of points of particular
interest to developing countries — on which there must be concrete progress
by Hong Kong.
These issues range from the Work Programme on Small Economies to the Working
Groups on Trade, Debt and Finance and on Transfer of Technology, and from
TRIPS and Electronic Commerce to the work on environment in the regular
Committee on Trade and Environment, as well as the commitments we undertook
in respect of least-developed countries. Although developing countries have
thus far been very forthcoming in agreeing that attention should be focused
initially on what many consider to be the key areas for the negotiations as
a whole, they have put us on notice that they wish to see progress on these
other elements by Hong Kong. We must ensure that the development dimension
of the negotiations yields concrete results in accordance with our mandate.
I would also like to recall that last July we extended the Doha moratoria on
TRIPS non-violation complaints and e-commerce duties until the Hong Kong
Ministerial, and we will need to take these issues also into account in the
preparation of any text or texts in the autumn.
The summer break should allow us all a period of serious reflection. I
envisage that, following the summer break, work will begin in earnest at the
very earliest opportunity. As the DG has mentioned, we have 13 weeks from
the beginning of September until 1 December, which is the scheduled date of
the final General Council meeting prior to the Ministerial, by which time we
should aim to have a broadly agreed text to present to Ministers.
Let me emphasize that we are all now looking to conclude the negotiations in
2006, using the Hong Kong Ministerial as a platform to take us into the
endgame. Failure to get there will be a major setback for growth,
development and the multilateral system. You, the Members, will have to
decide whether that is an option.