agenda Item 1: REPORT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE TRADE NEGOTIATIONS COMMITTEE AND REPORT BY THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
THURSDAY, 23 JULY 2020
1.1. In preparing for today, I found myself looking back seven years to when I first addressed you as Director-General. And I can now tell you from experience, the last speech is much harder than the first.
1.2. The first is about goals, and a game plan to tackle the future.
1.3. The last one is about what has been achieved; how much is left to do; and saying farewell to people we really cherish. This final part is the toughest of all.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED
1.4. Back in September 2013, I said that the WTO was at a crossroads. It's still at a crossroads – and will continue to be for some time yet. This is not surprising, because this Organization is too important to have it easy.
1.5. Each word, each comma that we negotiate here has a direct and measurable impact on public policies and business realities – and consequently, on people's lives.
1.6. Our agreements are subject to dispute settlement procedures that are automatic and consequential – and I'll come back to this point.
1.7. This means that negotiated outcomes here are always the product of truly complex, long and painful diplomacy.
1.8. It was clear then, when I made that first speech to you, that we needed to deliver agreements to bring this Organization closer to the changing realities of the 21st Century.
1.9. And together, we did. The Trade Facilitation Agreement, in Bali, put the Organization back on the map as a venue for global trade rule-making. It gave us confidence that the multilateral track was viable, and that with enough political will and pragmatism, we could strike deals of great value for trade, growth and development.