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Doha Development Agenda – Work Program Talks – WTO

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Azevêdo reports strong engagement on Doha work programme talks

Trade Negotiations Committee – 29 January 2015

At a meeting of all members today (29 January) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo reported that the first week of intensive negotiations to agree a work programme on the remaining Doha Development Agenda issues had seen good progress and strong engagement. The Director-General launched this intensified process at an open-ended meeting of all members on 21 January.

The Director-General reported to members at today’s meeting:
“We have made more progress in a week than we did in the first six months of 2014. There are some significant positives which we can take from our work so far. Members have started to go into more detail and to engage on the substance. While substantive positions haven’t changed a great deal since last time these issues were discussed, it is clear to me that the tone of the discussion has changed. Despite the gaps between positions, I sensed a desire to overcome them.”

I also sense that there has been a big increase in the political will behind our work. That’s why these conversations have provided a clarity which we didn’t have before. In addition, we have heard people express a willingness to entertain new thinking in certain areas. Now it is time to move from ideas to proposals.”

“This is still going to be incredibly difficult but I never thought it would be impossible, and I haven’t changed my mind.”

The first week of negotiations saw consultation meetings on each of the core Doha areas of agriculture, non-agricultural market access and services, as well as a meeting of the Committee on Agriculture in Special Session, and a meeting of ministers at the World Economic Forum in Davos organised by the Swiss Federal Government.

Over the coming weeks this intensive work will continue in the various Negotiating Groups on Doha issues, with the aim of moving to the next stage in terms of detail, with a focus on finding solutions.

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