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Committee on Trade and Environment - Special session - Report by the Chairman, Ambassador Selim Kuneralp to the General Council, 14 March 2014

Committee on Trade and Environment in Special Session

Report[1] by the Chairman, Ambassador Selim Kuneralp
to the General Council, 14 March 2014[2]



1.  Following the TNC Chair's request to Chairs of Negotiating Groups, I engaged in February and March in an open-ended and transparent dialogue with Members to try and identify those issues that we might be able to take forward in a post-Bali context.

2.  I have held bilateral consultations with more than 30 delegations representing a wide spectrum of regions and interests. I am grateful to all those delegations for their thoughtful contributions to my efforts and to the secretariat team that supported me in those consultations.

3.  As you know, this is my last General Council meeting as Chair of the CTESS and I would like to share with you my personal sense on how I see the way forward in the CTESS.

4.  First of all, let me state that delegations reiterated clearly that environmental negotiations are an important element of the overall Doha mandate and remain high on their agenda. I believe that in the face of the pressing environmental challenges that the world is confronted with, delegations, and indeed the WTO itself, cannot afford to sit back and appear to be indifferent to the benefits that would result from a successful conclusion of the environmental chapter of the Doha negotiations.

5.  This being said, I recognize that delegations do need to prioritize their efforts in the post-Bali context and this has been made clear to me.

6.  It is also evident that recent developments among a subset of WTO Members will have an effect on the level of priority that delegations currently give to the topic of removal of trade barriers on environmental goods. I anticipate that time is needed for delegations to know more precisely how to proceed with the mandate under Paragraph 31(iii).

7.  Nevertheless, I detected a considerable degree of openness and interest by many delegations. I sense that many delegations stand ready to engage in work on specific aspects of the mandate, especially those aspects that remain largely unexplored, including for instance non-tariff barriers, organic goods and the development perspective. I believe that the fact that delegations may currently have different levels of priority should not prevent them from engaging in the CTESS and discussing some aspects of the mandate, in particular those which go beyond tariff reduction and are of specific interest to developing countries. I therefore encourage delegations to come forward with precise ideas for further multilateral discussions and to focus on the elements that can be used to advance the work in this particular area.

[1] This report is circulated under the Chair's own responsibility and is without prejudice to the position of WTO Members in the negotiations.

[2] This is a reproduction of document JOB/GC/66 issued after the General Council on 14 March 2014.