"Ambassador Robert B. Zoellick expresses his apologies and regrets for not being here as he had to remain in D.C. Drawing upon Commissioner Lamy's metaphor, he is "pedaling his bike" furiously on Capitol Hill to obtain a satisfactory Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill.
The most important message for us to send from this meeting, six months after Doha, is that we are fully committed to the entire negotiating mandate of the Doha Agenda, including the overall timetable and intermediate mileposts.
· The decision this week to hold the 5th MNC in September 2003 is an important reminder that we have no time to waste - we must maintain momentum across the range of negotiating topics.
· At the same time, we cannot leave any Member behind. Hence the critical importance of the issue of trade-related trade adjustment and capacity building. This outreach session provides an opportunity for donor countries and recipient countries to move closer to:
(1) a common agenda - or set of priorities - for the World Trade Organization (WTO) related, more precisely the Doha Agenda-related, technical assistance and capacity building; and
(2) a strategy for ensuring effective delivery of this technical assistance.
Maintaining momentum across negoiating topics in the near-term means (among other things):
(1) meeting the June 30th date for providing services requests;
(2) establishing the important milepost of the deadline for determining the negotiating modalities for non-agricultural market access - that deadline should be as close as possible to the deadline for agricultural negotiating modalities, so that one aspect of market access negotiations does not slow down the other;
(3) addressing the Doha mandate on the effective use of the compulsory licensing element of TRIPS - for countries with inefficient manufacturing capacity in pharmaceuticals - to meet their needs in addressing national health crises or emergencies;
(4) presenting initial proposals for the negotiating groups before the summer break, so that we have a substantial body of substantive material for the one year of negotiations leading to the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference.
Under the topic of capacity building, I would like to stress that:
(1) WTO's area of responsibility for capacity-building is that slice relevant for the Doha negotiating agenda. We need to maintain that focus - both in the selection of substantive areas for support and for the kind of assistance needed. We need to hear from developing countries especially on the latter;
(2) in developing the future technical assistance plan, the WTO needs to seek out the needs of many countries who have not conveyed their needs as actively as others;
(3) we should tap into the expertise of the Negotiating Groups for guidance on setting priorities - in the Negotiating Groups one can see best where assistance is most needed.
(4) use the next several months to develop the priorities for further assistance prior to the 5th Ministerial. The Committee on Trade and Development has requested that countries identify their needs before the summer break. The July Trade Negotiations Committee can provide an opportunity for delegates and senior officials to address the various dimensions of capacity- building, icluding the best mechanisms for delivering technical assistance.
I'd like to address directly a concern on the mind of probably everyone in this room. In light of recent legislation in the United States, as well as proposals being debated in the U.S. Senate in the context of TPA, many of our trading partners are asking, "Is the U.S. still committed to the Doha agenda, and indeed to trade liberalization in general?"
The answer is unequivocal. Yes, we are committed to exercising the same leadership in negotiating the Doha agenda as we exercised - with many others - in defining the Doha agenda last November.
Yes, we are committed to an ambitious negotiating result in agriculture, encompassing all three pillars enunciated in the Doha Declaration. Proposals we present in Geneva will demonstrate that.
Yes, we are committed to developing, in cooperation with the full WTO membership, an effective and timely response to developing countries' needs for technical assistance and trade-related capacity building.
We are carrying out these commitments under the difficult circumstances of protectionist pressures that are present and active in many, if not all, of your countries. That is why Ambassador Zoellick is not here to convey this message personally. He is fighting to ensure that the TPA that President Bush is seeking from the Congress will enable us to achieve the ambitious goals of Doha and our other free trade initiatives in the Americas and elsewhere.
We welcome the opportunity to participate in this outreach session. We are prepared to listen to criticism, but we hope that everyone is prepared to work with us to achieve the goals of the Doha Agenda. It is in the interest of all of our countries to succeed, but it is of greatest importance for the hundreds of millions of people in developing countries that we succeed."