statement by the Chairman
Monday, 7 april 2014
1.1. In my remarks to the General Council on 14 March, I said that we had made a strong start in our discussions towards developing a work programme for the conclusion of the Doha Round.
1.2. Since then the level of activity has increased again. And we have been making good progress. All of the negotiating groups have held an open-ended meeting – with the exception of the Rules Group which will be doing so shortly. Everyone has had the chance to make their views known.
1.3. I have also been meeting with the Chairs during this period – both individually and collectively – to hear their reports on what has been discussed and what progress has been made.
1.4. My impression is that there has been a positive atmosphere in the consultations. Many Members have expressed their willingness to be open-minded, creative, and to work together to find a way forward. While positive, the consultations have not yet produced anything very new in terms of Members' stated positions. Well known arguments around the "status of the modalities texts" or "the question of balance" or "sequencing" or the need for "new data" have been rehearsed.
1.5. I have also been carrying on my own consultations with delegations in Geneva individually and in groups, such as the special meeting of the African Group held a couple of weeks ago. I have also been taking the opportunity in my travel outside Geneva to consult with Members – with ministers, senior officials and leaders. In all these conversations I have sensed that people want to find a way forward – they know what is at stake for the multilateral trading system. People want to finish the job.