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WTO meet to re-energise Doha round of talks
04
Sep '09
Following is the full text of Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry's concluding chair's summary at the Ministerial Meeting on Re-energising Doha – A Commitment to Development.

“Excellencies, Director General Mr. Lamy, Senior Officials, Ambassadors, and distinguished delegates,

We have now reached the end of two days of intensive engagement. Let me first thank you all for your statements and interventions over the course of the last day or so. I am happy that we were able to cover so much ground in such a short span of time. I trust you will all agree that we have made good progress over the last two days and we now have a fair idea of the way forward.

The Delhi Ministerial meeting was conceived and designed as a representative forum of the WTO membership, bringing together groups from across the spectrum of interests and positions in the Doha negotiations, in a microcosm of the WTO itself, in a bid to give a determined push to the multilateral process.

The objective was to develop a broad-based consensus to remove the impediments coming in the way of multilateral discussions and to provide clear directions to negotiators to re-energise the multilateral process at the WTO.

I will now summarise the proceedings of 3rd and 4th September.

Ministers recalled the outcomes of meetings held earlier during the year at London (G20), Bali (Cairns Group), Paris (Trade Ministers), L'Aquila (G8 plus) and Singapore (APEC Trade Ministers). It was further recalled that leaders had set a timeline of 2010 for the conclusion of the Doha Round.

Ministers acknowledged that the unambiguous political signals emanating from earlier meetings had not been translated into action in Geneva. They were conscious that mere reaffirmation of commitment was not enough unless this was converted into effective instructions to negotiators to re-engage, with a view to concluding the Round successfully within 2010.

Ministers were also sensitive to the deleterious impact of the prolonged global economic crisis, which has put to the test the commitment of member countries to free, fair and equitable rule-based international trade. They were unanimous in expressing the view that strengthening the multilateral trading system by concluding the Doha Round at the earliest, was vital.

The Director General, WTO provided an overall perspective of the way forward. The Chairs of the Agriculture, NAMA and Services Negotiating Groups outlined their work plans in their respective areas.

The G-20 and the G-33 emphasised the need to respect the multilateral mandate as reflected in the work done on the Agriculture and NAMA modalities over the last seven years; both Groups were of the view that the texts of December 2008 must form the basis of future work. Regarding the negotiating process, they reiterated that bilateral and plurilateral meetings could only be used to supplement the multilateral process and not to substitute it. The G-20 called for the expeditious completion of the Round with contributions from all Members.

The Cotton-4 recalled the mandate of the Click here for details.

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