By Shefali Sharma
IATP and Trade Information Project
Wednesday, 31 October: Chairman Makes a Statement of the Process undertaken by the Secretariat and the Chair himself.
The Chair highlights the process undetaken over the past year to prepare for the text. He mentions over "fifty written submissions" of individual or group of countries and esstimates over a 100 meetings since February on issues related to the drafts. He concludes, " As far as the process in Geneva is concerned, it is our judgement that we have taken it as far as we possibly can, and that further consultations will not take us any closer to improving the texts. For the same reason, and while I clearly do not want to limit the right of delegations to speak, I believe it would not help the process for delegations to engage in a substantive discussion in the General Council at this stage on specific portions of the text.
"The Director-General and I do not plan to revise these texts further. We intend to transmit them to Ministers on our own responsibility. It is our hope and expectation that Ministers will be able to build on the good work that has been done in Geneva, and create a basis for reaching agreement at Doha."
Wednesday, 31 October 2001 and Thursday, 1 November 2001, Countries make statements on the process of Ministerial Draft Preparation and on Implementation. Many countries express once again their frustration and discontent with the process. Some raise critical issues on whether the process undertaken by Stuart Harbinson, the Chair of the General Council and the DG are even allowed under the WTO rules i.e. transmitting the text to Doha without approval at the General Council.
Inspite of many blatant objections on the process, the Chair maintains that he will send the existing drafts to Doha with "mental" rather than real brackets. He said that he will attach a covering note. Many countries , as highlighted in statements below, suggested that since there seems to be no time or political will to do a third draft before Doha, that the Chair attach a covering note to the Ministerial texts that highlights explicitly where differences still exist between positions.
The Chair, in concluding the General Council Meeting on the Ministerial Declaration states that he would send a covering note to the Ministers at Doha. He has indicates that he will think about the best way to formulate such a covering note with the help of the Director-General. This note will be transmitted directly to Doha and not be shared at the General Council. Most delegations will not get an opportunity to see this covering note. According to delegations, they do not think that the covering note will be a "Ruggiero Model" type where each paragraph details where differences and convergence exist in the Ministerial text.
This poses serious problems in process once again since there is no way to ensure, apart from trusting the Chair and the DG's "judgement," that this time differences will be reflected adequately. The majority of the countries have maintained up to the last minute (31 October and 1 November) that the process has failed to reflect real and critical differences between countries.
For instance, the LDCs (30 countries) said, "Certainly, we did not expect all our proposals to be accepted in total as part of a consensus text, but we did expect our major proposals or reservations to be reflected, even if they were to be put in square brackets or as separate options to be considered. I commend your effort in trying to avoid the kind of text we had for Seattle with so many brackets and options, but at least in that text it was clear what was accepted to the membership and what were the differences which had to be addressed by our Ministers. What caused the failure of Seattle was not the mere presence of the brackets in the text, but it was the lack of the political will to resolve the differences for reasons that we all know. The Draft text which we now have is seemingly clean but as you have admitted in your introductory remarks and in the cover page, this is not an agreed text in any part at this stage, and this means that even if there are no physical brackets on any part of the text, there certainly are many "mental" brackets to be untied in Doha. In that sense, this text may perhaps be more complex and more difficult for Ministers to use as a basis for consensus than if the differences in key areas were made more explicit."
Ambassador of Haiti, Renald Clerisme stated to the Chair," This morning, you said that you did not have the intention to modify the text. You arrived at this decision without consulting the General Council. This poses problems regarding procedure." He added that he did not believe that text could be transmitted to the Ministerial without approval at the General Council and stated that this has never been done before.
The seven newly acceded countries reiterated that they had agreed to WTO plus commitments to join the WTO and that the new issues would thus even further burden their economies. They also reiterated that their concerns had not been reflected in the text.
India and Egypt also made strong statements about the poor process and lack of transparency. India, "Mr. Chairman, I have very serious problem with suggestion that your text should be transmitted as it is to the Ministers. Such a course of action, we strongly feel will not be appropriate. I do not think it is fair to cause any disadvantage to any Member of the Organisation through a Chairman's text. WTO is a forum for negotiations. Sometimes, we acquiesce when a Chairman comes out with a text after wide ranging consultations. Today we are dealing with a momentus issue, which will have
tremendous impact on the commercial, economic and social life of billions of people. This is, therefore, not an ordinary issue. While we appreciate your constraints, I must say that it is not possible for me to acquiesce in a situation where a draft ministerial declaration is transmitted to the Ministers without reflecting concerns and objections from a large number of countries including mine."
Egypt, in its concluding remarks commented that the multilateral trading system increasingly appears to be about "politicized or politically motivated trade" rather than free trade.
Repeated statements of poor process with regards to developing and LDC concerns have been made throughout this year in the run up to Qatar (See "A Mockery of a Multilateral Trading System" by Shefali Sharma, October 29, 2001). This continues to be dangerously ignored, even as delegations and their ministers prepare to arrive in Doha this week.
Please find pasted below:
General Council Meeting
Wednesday, 31 October 2001
Note for the Chairman
Item 9: Preparations for the Fourth Ministerial Conference
I would like to recall that on 8 February, the General Council accepted an offer by Qatar to host the Fourth Ministerial conference and, at the same time authorized me, in cooperation with the Director-General, to start consultation on both organizational and substantive matters related to preparations for that meeting, and to report back to the General council on progress made.
Accordingly, I would like to report to you on the results thus far from the process I have been conducting since early this year. As delegations are aware the preparatory process has been conducted in informal meetings in which both the Director-General and I have made transparency and inclusiveness a top priority. A key element of this consultative process has been the open-ended informal meetings of the General Council, where work undertaken in all of the consultations has been brought back for consideration by the broader membership, and where Members have been able to monitor progress on individual issues as well as the situation overall.
Following our early consultations in this process, the Director-General and I circulated on 20 April a checklist of possible issues to be included on the agenda of the Conference, which formed the basis for the intensive discussions in the subsequent months. At the end of June, I convened an informal meeting of the General Council at the level of Senior Officials to evaluate the state of the preparatory work and to try to develop a common understanding on the objectives and parameters for the end-July "reality check" meeting. The reality check meeting of the General Council allowed for a collective stocktaking of the state of our preparatory work and for the sharper focus on the elements of the challenge ahead. Prior to that meeting the Director-General and I circulated a report (Job (01)/118) which provided a frank and rather sobering assessment of the results of the work until then.
Following that meeting, and on the basis of a series of intensive consultations held during the month of July with individual and small groups of delegations, the Director-General and I circulated a first draft text of a Ministerial Declaration on 26 September. As you know, certain areas of that text were more fleshed out than others, which reflected the level of development of our work in each area at that time. In some areas, such as agriculture and TRIPS and health, fuller texts remained to be developed, and I indicated that this needed to be undertaken with a sense of urgency.
I also indicated that that (sic) draft text was a starting-point, a basis for further, more intensive work that would be necessary before it could be finalized for submission to Ministers. In the weeks since then, I have consulted intensively with delegations in various formats, including very frequent open-ended informal meetings at the Heads-of-Delegation level, with the aim of producing a revised draft text before the end of this month, including a draft text on TRIPS and Access to Medicines/Public Health. I have continued to rely in this process on the invaluable and indispensable assistance of the director-General and his Deputies.
These meetings have been extremely useful in identifying areas where language needed to be modified, or specific issues needed to be amplified. I have also benefited from the more than fifty written submissions from individual and groups of delegations on various elements of the first draft, many of which have highlighted ways to improve and clarify the text. I would like to express my appreciation for these efforts, and to use this opportunity to assure Members that I have considered all views attentively.
I would like also to pay tribute to the enormous effort that has been put in by all delegations, as well as by the Director-General and his colleagues, and also to the patience and cooperative spirit with which all have participated in this process. Many hours of sincere and serious work have been committed to preparing the draft texts that will form the basis of our governments' further deliberations and to finding appropriate middle ground. Indeed, in the Secretariat's estimate, we have held over 100 meetings in total since February, in a variety of configurations, and that number does not include the series of intensive bilateral meetings held in mid-September.
Nevertheless, although delegations have shown a willingness to engage constructively and have made considerable efforts to bridge gaps and increase comforts levels on key issues, the distance between positions in some critical areas has remained. The Director-General and I have therefore used our best judgement in putting forward draft text of a Ministerial Declaration as well as a Declaration on TRIPS and Access to Medicines/Public Health on 27 October in an effort to provide a basis for meeting the concerns of a broad range of Members.
These texts are clearly do not purport to represent agreed elements in nay way at this stage, although we may be closer to agreement in some areas than in others. However, nothing can be considered to be agreed definitely in the absence of agreement overall, and that is a decision that will be for Ministers to take in Doha. As far as the process in Geneva is concerned, it is our judgement that we have taken it as far as we possibly can, and that further consultations will not take us any closer to improving the texts. For the same reason, and while I clearly do not want to limit the right of delegations to speak, I believe it would not help the process for delegations to engage in a substantive discussion in the General Council at this stage on specific portions of the text.
The Director-General and I do not plan to revise these texts further. We intend to transmit them to Ministers on our own responsibility. It is our hope and expectation that Ministers will be able to build on the good work that has been done in Geneva, and create a basis for reaching agreement at Doha.
I propose that the General Council take note of the report I have just made in cooperation with the Director-General on progress in the preparations for the Fourth Session.
LDC Statement, 31 October 2001
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR ALI MCHUMO OF TANZANIA ON BEHALF OF LDCs AT THE GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING ON 31 OCTOBER, 2001 ON DRAFT MINISTERIAL DECLARATION
Let me on behalf of the LDCs thank you for convening this meeting and for putting the revised texts for the Fourth Ministerial Conference only 10 days before we go to Doha. I wish to join others in commending you and the Director General, ably assisted by the Deputy Directors-General and other members of the Secretariat for your dedication and efforts in managing the process to where we now are.
Mr. Chairman, this has been a long process and we are anxious to bring it to an end where we can have results satisfactory to all of us. When you issued your first Ministerial Draft Declaration (Job No. 1/140), a month ago, I made a detailed statement on behalf of the LDCs on 2 October 2001 commenting on your draft and putting forward a number of proposals which would properly reflect the concerns of the LDCs as clearly put forward by the LDC Ministers who had met in Zanzibar, Tanzania at the end of July to take a common position with regard to the Fourth Ministerial Conference. Although we acknowledge that some changes have been made in the Draft to reflect some of our concerns, the current Draft falls short of the kind of text we would be comfortable with as it has not sufficiently accommodated our major preoccupations. Certainly, we did not expect all our proposals to be accepted in toto (sic) as part of a consensus text, but we did expect our major proposals or reservations to be reflected, even if they were to be put in square brackets or as separate options to be considered. I commend your effort in trying to avoid the kind of text we had for Seattle with so many brackets and options, but at least in that text it was clear what was accepted to the membership and what were the differences which had to be addressed by our Ministers. What caused the failure of Seattle was not the mere presence of the brackets in the text, but it was the lack of the political will to resolve the differences for reasons that we all know. The Draft text which we now have is seemingly clean but as you have admitted in your introductory remarks and in the cover page, this is not an agreed text in any part at this stage, and this means that even if there are no physical brackets on any part of the text, there certainly are many "mental" brackets to be untied in Doha. In that sense, this text may perhaps be more complex and more difficult for Ministers to use as a basis for consensus than if the differences in key areas were made more explicit.
Mr. Chairman, it is not my intention to explain in detail paragraph by paragraph as to the kind of text we would want. We intend to submit to you a more detailed proposal package that would fully meet our expectations and we shall ask you to transmit it to the Ministers in Doha as well as circulate it to the Membership here in Geneva and in the meantime let me just highlight a few major areas of concern to us.
1) The Centrality of Development and the need to redress the imbalances in the Multilateral Trading System.
Although there is some reference to development in the existing text, we would want to see stronger language to express the tangible commitment to development in the multilateral trading system and the commitment to redressing the existing imbalances. It is for this reason that we already have proposed a Development Agenda for the multilateral trading system whose elements we have defined in a statement I made on 22 October 2001 and which has been circulated to Members. It is our view that what the MTS needs is a Development Agenda that will give first priority to the needs of LDCs and other developing countries in a framework of sequencing which will also accommodate the preoccupations of developed countries after sufficient time is allowed for developing countries to understand and prepare for the necessary adjustments. It is for this reason that we proposed to add a new paragraph or strengthen the existing paragraphs in the preambular part of the text to reflect this major preoccupation for us.
(2) The need to strengthen the development paragraphs 32-37
To operationalize the Development Agenda we have referred to above, we need to strengthen the paragraphs in the text that deal with development issues. In this respect paragraphs 32 and 33 which deal with technical cooperation and capacity building ought to be strengthened to sufficiently emphasize the need to address supply side constraints faced by the LDCs and other developing countries. Similarly, the existing paragraph 35 on LDCs ought to be further strengthened to highlight the need for a more predictable market access to the LDCS, fast-track accession to LDCs and a more tangible commitment to implement in full the Programme of Action for the LDCs as decided in LDC 3 Conference in Brussels. At the same time, we need to ensure that the operationalisation of the Special and Differential Treatment provisions is made more effective by making them binding.
(3) Trade, Debt and Finance and Transfer of Technology
We believe that the relationship between trade, debt and finance and transfer of technology are important for the development problematique and the WTO must address the issues urgently by setting up appropriate Working Groups to deal with them and so the relevant paragraphs must be strengthened accordingly.
(4) Market Access for Non-Agricultural Products
In our statement on 2 October, the LDCs had expressed grave concern on deindustrialization faced by many LDCs and other developing countries as a result of industrial tariff cuts, resulting in closure of local firms and loss of Jobs. We had then stated that we were unable to accept the paragraphs on industrial tariffs and objected to the launch of negotiations and to the sentence that "product coverage shall be comprehensive and without a priori exclusions." We had proposed instead that a study process be initiated to examine the impact of previous tariff reductions, and that this process should determine whether there should be future negotiations, and further that LDCs and other eligible developing countries should be exempted from further liberalization in this area.
Unfortunately the second draft has not fully taken these views into account and we insist that our views which have been so explicitly stated, be included in a revised draft and we have provided the necessary language to accommodate our preoccupation.
(5) On the Singapore issues
Our views on the Singapore issues are well known and we reiterated them when reacting to your first draft by stating once again that LDCs were not ready to negotiate on them since the issues were complex and the LDCs were not able to fully understand the development implications for them. It is for this reason that with regard to investment and competition policy, we preferred the options for the continuation of the study process and we took the same view for government procurement and trade facilitation. We are therefore surprised and disappointed that in your current text there is only one option for negotiations on all the four areas. It is very clear that on these issues there has been no consensus and thus there is no basis for coming out with this draft that only reflects one view, that there shall be negotiations on all these four issues. We have studied paras 20 and 21 on investment and competition and found that in effect negotiations will begin immediately because there is already a commitment to negotiate modalities of agreements after the 5th Ministerial; therefore the work programme of the next two years on clarifying elements is in effect already the first stage of negotiations.
Mr. Chairman, as there is no consensus, there cannot be negotiations, if the spirit and letter of the Singapore Ministerial decision is to be adhered to . Therefore we propose that the option of continuing the study process for all the four Singapore issues be included in a new draft to be transmitted to Doha and this is in line with the LDC Ministers decision in Zanzibar.
(6) On TRIPS
As you know Mr. Chairman, the TRIPS Agreement is of great concern to LDCS, as evidenced by the concern expressed by the LDCs Ministers in Zanzibar. In our statement of 2 October, we had proposed several additions. Unfortunately the present text still has not improved much and the paragraphs on TRIPS (para 17-19) remain very disappointing to us. We therefore reiterate our proposal, made on 2 October, and urge that the text's section on TRIPS be improved accordingly.
(7) Organisation and Management of the Work Programme
When we commented on the text under this heading in your first draft, we reiterated the unambiguous views of LDC Ministers that LDCs were not in a position to undertake broad based negotiations involving new issues due to lack of capacity to negotiate and implement new commitments and we had requested you to review this matter with a view to evolving a programme which would be manageable and that will accommodate LDCs interests. Reading paragraphs 38 to 45 together with paragraph 11 of current text leaves no doubt that the Work Programme envisaged to be launched in Doha is a broad based and expanded programme of negotiations with the inclusion of a number of new issues for which we are not prepared as already indicated. We note that in your current text there is provision for technical assistance at the end of all the paragraphs that call for negotiations on the four Singapore issues to be made available presumably to LDCs and other developing countries. While such technical assistance is welcome, it should not be assumed that by mere provision of technical assistance of the kind and level that we are used to see (sic), this will radically transform LDCs to fully implement the commitments to be undertaken as a result of such negotiations. It may as well be that implications of such commitments will be so far reaching that you may need much more comprehensive effort to transform our economies before we can fully fulfill our obligations or fully enjoy the purported benefits of such negotiations. It is for this reason that we would once again call for a programme of work that fits with our definition of a Development Agenda where the priorities of LDCs and other developing countries will be given priority as already explained above and which will not include new issues which will unnecessarily add to the already heavy burden of the LDCs and other developing countries.
With regard to the draft Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS, we would prefer the title to be Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, and in paragraph 4 we would prefer Option 1. With regard to paragraph 10, we appreciate the move to exempt LDCs from the obligations under Sections 5 and 7 of Para II of the TRIPS Agreement with respect to pharmaceutical products until 1 January 2016. We would only wish if such extension were made with respect to the implementation of the entire TRIPS Agreement and we request that it be made clear that this partial exemption shall in no way prejudice our right in future to request for extension of transition or even exemption for the implementation of the entire Agreement.
To conclude, Mr. Chairman, as I have already pointed out at the beginning of my intervention, this text that you will present to the Ministers is deceptively simple since it has no brackets but we all know that it hides major differences in some areas as already indicated. It would indeed have been preferable if we had time for a third draft that would have taken into account this discussion and even put square brackets where there is no consensus, but since time is not on our side, you may wish to transmit this Draft to Ministers with a very clear covering letter to explain the areas where there were major differences and the rationale of your suggested compromise text. Of course this is not a substitute for us Ambassadors to brief our Ministers, but your explanatory note will be much more authoritative and will make our job as Ambassadors much easier.
I thank you, Sir.
Haiti's Statement to the Chair, delivered in French, 31 October 2001
DECLARATION DE LA DELEGATION D'HAITI
Conseil général OMC
31 octobre 2001
Dr Renald Clérismé, Ambassadeur
Monsieur la Présidente,
Je m'associe aux autres préopinants pour rendre hommage à l'effort que vous avez déployé tout au long du processus préparatoire à la 4eme Conférence ministérielle. Eu égard au projet de Déclaration ministérielle (Job(01)/140/Re-v.1, je n'entends pas entrer dans des questions de fond. L'Ambassadeur Mchumo de la Tanzanie l'a déjà fait au nom des PMA, donc au nom d'Haïti, Je veux simplement me limiter à des questions élémentaires de procédure.
La page de couverture du Projet de Déclaration porte le titre [CONSEIL GENERAL] or, il y est écrit que "Le projet de déclaration ministérielle... a été élabore par le Président, en coopération avec le Directeur général, pour transmission a la quatrième session de la Conférence ministérielle. Il ne s'agit pas à ce stade d'un texte convenu pour quelque partie que ce soit" De plus, ce matin vous nous avez dit que vous et le DG n'avez pas l'intention de modifier le texte. Votre décision a été arrêtée avant meme d'avoir consulte le Conseil général. Là se pose un problème de procédure. Est-ce que un document portant 1'embléme du Conseil général peut être transmis sans l'approbation de celui-ci ? Mieux encore, est-ce que le Président du Conseil et le DG sont habilités à transmettre à la Conférence ministérielle un projet de déclaration sans l'approbation du Conseil? A ces deux questions, je serais tenté de répondre non. Mais je préfère entendre votre réponse.
Entre temps, j'ai consulté le texte intitulé [Règlements intérieurs des réunions des Organes de l'OMC ], ni dans sa version de 1996 ni dans celle de 1997, une telle pratique n'est nulle part justifiée. Il est évident que nous sommes face à une situation sans précédent et malencontreuse. Les Accords de Marrakesh établissant l'OMC, n'avaient pas prévu une telle approche.
Monsieur le Président,
Les Règlements intérieurs des réunions des organes de l'OMC définissent clairement la procédure à suivre dans les réunions du Conseil général et définissent les taches du Président du Conseil général et du Directeur général. Dans la règle 33 de ce texte il est stipulé [Le Conseil général prendra ses décisions, conformément aux dispositions de l'Accord de l'OMC sur la prise de décision, en particulier l'article 9 intitulé prises de décisions]. Or, Monsieur le Président, l'article 9 stipule ce qui suit; [L'OMC conservera la pratique de prise de décisions par consensus suivie en vertu du GATT de 1947. Sauf disposition contraire, dans les cas ou il ne sera pas possible d'arriver à une décision par consensus, la décision sur la question a l'examen sera prise aux voix]. Ainsi donc, les deux seules manières de présenter une recommandation aux Ministres sont l'accord par consensus ou celui par vote, pris par le Conseil général. Je ne veux pas entrer dans un tel compromis. Vous savez mon aversion pour le recours au vote au sein de notre Organisation.
De plus, concernant les rôles du DG et du Président du Conseil, les règles 17, 18, 21, 22 et 24 définissent les fonctions du Président, qui est habilite' a assurer la bonne marche des réunions du Conseil. De même, selon la règle 2 des mêmes règles de procédures, la fonction du DG consiste à convoquer les réunions en envoyant en note d'invitation. Ni le Président ni le DG ne peuvent s'acquitter de fonctions additionnelles s'ils n'y sont autorises par le Conseil général, suivant une décision par consensus ou par vote.
Monsieur le Président,
Les règles de l'OMC dont j'ai pris connaissance no donnent aucune autorisation au Président du Conseil ou au DG de transmettre des recommandations à la Conférence ministérielle, sans autorisation du Conseil.
La pratique des 7 ans d'existence de l'OMC témoigne que nous avons toujours suivi les règles. Par exemple en 1996, 1998 et 1999 les projets de déclarations ont toujours été soumis à la Conférence ministérielle avec l'autorisation du Conseil. Meme dans le cas des Conférences de 1996 et 1999 ou il existait des divergences sur diverses questions, les projets de décision ont été soumis, reflétant la diversité des points de vues. C'est la premières fois, Monsieur le Président, depuis l'existance de l'OMC que le Président et le DG veulent transmettre à la Conférence ministérielle un texte qui n'aurait pas obtenu l'aval du Conseil général. En dépit de l'impartialité dont vous avez fait preuve tout au long du processus, votre texte semble vouloir favoriser les points de vues d'un certain nombre de membres, en excluant ceux de la majorité.
L'Ambassadeur Mchumo de la Tanzanie, parlant au nom du Groupe des PMA vous a offert un prote de sortie honorable en suggérant qu'en raison du peu de temps dont nous disposons pour retravailler sur le projet de déclaration, vous le soumettiez a la Conférence avec une page de couverture en precisant que ce texte ne reflete pas les nombreuses divergences des pays Membre. Je souhaite que vous suiviez cette sage suggestion.
En tout état de cause, je souhaite indiquer que des 45 paragraphes du Projet de Déclaration :
§ 4 paragraphes méritent d'entre élimines ces sont les paragraphes: 8, 20,21,22 :
§ 16 paragraphes ne pressentent pas de graves problèmes à ma délégation, il s'agit des paragraphes : 5,7,9,10,18,24,25,26,28,32,33,34,35,36,44,45;
§ Les 25 paragraphes restants méritent d'etre ameliores.
Monsieur le Président, et je vous remercie.
A brief explanation of some of the text in English:
Since the cover page of the Draft of 27 October states that it was elaborated by the Chair and the DG for transmission to the Ministers and the text was not agreed to by the Council Members, can the document bear the heading of the General Council? Do the Chair and the DG have the authority to transmit such a document to the Ministers? " In addition, this morning, you said that you did not have the intention to modify the text. You arrived at this decision without consulting the General Council. This poses problems regarding procedure."
The Ambassador of Haiti mentions that he has consulted the WTO rules on the meetings of WTO bodies and that such a procedure does not seem justified by these rules, but he would like to hear what the Chair has to say about it.
(6th paragraph - end)
This paragraphs states that for the first time since the creation of the WTO, the Chair and the DG want to transmit a text to the Ministerial conference that has not had the approval of the General Council. Despite the Chair's impartiality all through the preparatory process his text seems to favor the views of certain Members only, excluding those of a majority.
The Ambassdor recalls Ambassador Mchumo's suggestion that the Chair submit a cover page indicating that the text does not reflect the many diverging views of Members.
Statement of Newly Acceded Countries--Albania,, Croatia, Georgia, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania, and Oman at the General Council
Speaking on behalf of newly acceded countries -- Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania and Oman, Mr. Chairman, I would first of all express our gratitude for your efforts to accommodate different concerns of the Member countries in the Draft of the Ministerial Declaration and your endeavour to reach a maximum balanced text. Taking this opportunity I would also like to assure you, that all countries, I am speaking on behalf, are in favour of a progressive liberalization and consider it as a key principle of globalization.
While, at this point, Mr. Chairman, I would like to express a common concern of the newly acceded countries regarding the new negotiations commitments and their interaction with the commitments made just recently during the accession negotiations. It should be a well-known fact that recently acceded countries have made really substantive market access commitments, sometimes going far beyond those that had been made during the Uruguay Round. Recently made commitments and a new round of negotiations leading to the new commitments, which, actually, would have a negative impact on their economic development strategy, create a reality based and reasoned concern for new WTO members. However, Mr. Chairman, we did not find a clear reflection of our concerns in the Draft Declaration.
Herewith, I would draw your attention to the countries' previous efforts to raise the point -- statements of Croatia, Jordan, Lithuania and Oman during the process of the consultations. In addition to that, proposals submitted by Jordan and Oman and also by Lithuania regarding the additions to the draft Ministerial Declaration.
Therefore, taking into account the aim to base a further liberlization on a mutually advantageous basis and an overall balance of rights and obligations and the coexisting concern expressed hereby, recently acceded countries seek a flexibility and appropriate accommodation of their concerns in the work program being established by the Ministerial Declaration and further process.
Having siad that, I would like to reassure you that recently acceded countries are prepared to consider an appropriate form leading to expression of their concerns in the tet of the Declaration and the subsequent negotiations.
Excerpt on Process of Draft Preparation for Doha, India
"Mr. Chairman, I find that you have come out with a draft ministerial declaration without square brackets and without options. To the best of my understanding, the purpose of the preparatory process was to agree as much as possible and where there is no agreement, give options to our Ministers or put the controversial language in square brackets so that Ministers could focus on the differences and take appropriate decisions. By opting for a text which does not bring out the differences in crucial areas, especially in respect of new issues, you are probably forcing many of us to put the entire text in square brackets.
Mr. Chairman, I have very serious problem with suggestion that your text should be transmitted as it is to the Ministers. Such a course of action, we strongly feel will not be appropriate. I do not think it is fair to cause any disadvantage to any Member of the Organisation through a Chairman's text. WTO is a forum for negotiations. Sometimes, we acquiesce when a Chairman comes out with a text after wide ranging consultations. Today we are dealing with a momentus issue, which will have tremendous impact on the commercial, economic and social life of billions of people. This is, therefore, not an ordinary issue. While we appreciate your constraints, I must say that it is not possible for me to acquiesce in a situation where a draft ministerial declaration is transmitted to the Ministers without reflecting concerns and objections from a large number of countries including mine. You will recall, Mr. Chairman, the Seattle text that was tranmitted with the consensus of the General Concil contained various options relating to various issues in square brackets. I know that it has been a fashion to criticize that text saying that it was unmanageable. However, that text had the merit of not prejudicing anybody's position. We feel that by opting for a clean text without appropriately reflecting the different positon at least on major issues, we have swung to the other extreme. If appropriate revision of the text is not considered possible at this stage, at a minimum, there should be a clear covering letter as an integral part of the DMD explaining the main differences encounterd and option suggested on critical issues during the preparatory process. We visualise this covering letter to deal with substance and not on process alone.
I am sure, your experience and commitment to the Member-driven nature of this organization will help you to find a way out of this situation so that the Ministers have before them a full picture of different positions on various subjects which will come up for consideration at Doha. I would like to emphasise again the need to accommodate the expressions and positions of a significant number of countries in the draft Ministerial Declaration when it is transmitted to the Doha Ministerial Conference. Thank You.
Excerpt from Egyptian Statement to the Chair of the General Council,
31 October 2001
"We note, Mr. Chairman, that you have tried, together with the Director General, to give this process a real taste of transparency that it had profoundly lacked in past experiences.
- But transparency, as we have repeated in the many occations we had to discuss this important issue, is not only a matter of flow of information or expression of a member's opinion, as important as these may be. More crucial, it should guarantee the participation of all Members in the process of decision-making and ensure a sense of ownership by all Members of the final outcome.
- We thought it is important to start with this note because we are deeply astonished that the Revised Draft Declaration issued on the 27th of October seems to ignore many of the views and positions expressed by my delegation, as well as -according to our notes -those of many other developing countries."
"-Let me also add that the text is full of what appears as minor drafting amendments, sometimes not exceeding one word, however they have far reaching implications. We will not comment on those now as it seems in any case unproductive at this juncture. But we will reiterate that the methodology itself is very worrisome, and we hope that we will be sccessful in containing its repercussions and implications at Doha. However, we support the proposal that the Draft Declaration be accompanied by a letter from the Chairman of the Genral Council to explain and list areas of disagreement.
- After a long process of sincere and serious work by all Members, under your guidance Mr. Chairman, we hoped that the Revised Text would bring us ever closer to consensus by spelling out where we do not agree, thus making our task throughout the Doha Conference clearer even if not more simple. Despite our aggravated apprehensions, we are still committed to work tirelessly to achieve an outcome that would, and should, satisfy all of us and preserve the principles of multilateralism, full participation, ownership and, let me stress, the mutuality of benefits in an atmosphere of true free trade and not politicized or politically motivated trade as it increasingly appears to be the case."