Committee on Trade and Environment - Special session - Report by the Chairperson, Ambassador Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa to the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNCc), 31 July 2015



1.  Since the last formal TNC meeting, I held a series of bilateral consultations reaching out to all delegations and I am pleased to report that many delegations replied positively to my call. The intention was to follow-up on the informal Informative Session held in March and to hear delegations' views on what contribution the group could make to the work program and MC 10.

2.  As on previous occasions, delegations expressed their continued support to the environment chapter of the Doha negotiations. Delegations also generally reiterated their willingness to contribute constructively to the negotiations once there is a better understanding of the way forward on other areas of the DDA. It has also been made clear to me that the attention of delegations was on the core issues of the DDA negotiations at the moment. My understanding is that such sequencing between the work on core issues and the work of the CTESS seems to be an essential element for some delegations before they can be ready to engage in any additional steps in the CTESS.

3.  Turning now to a few points I would like to make regarding the specific parts of our mandate. First, on paragraph 31(iii) of the DDA, it is clear that the liberalization efforts on environmental goods pursued by a subset of WTO Members have impacted the level of priority that delegations currently give to the topic in the CTESS. At this stage, I do not see this situation changing in the coming months unless delegations start to come up with concrete proposals on specific work to be undertaken under paragraph 31(iii).

4.   Concerning the mandate on the relationship between Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and the WTO under Paragraphs 31(i) and (ii) of the DDA mandate, I sense that the Informative Session was particularly useful to delegations and helped them refresh their memory on this part of the mandate. I would like to report that at the Informative Session as well as during my bilateral consultations, some delegations have expressed an interest in reengaging in the work related to the mandate on MEAs, as a lot of good work has already taken place. After the summer break, I intend to explore with delegations what can be done to advance work on this part of the mandate with a view to contributing to MC10. 

5.  Over the years, WTO Members have put a lot of work into trying to move the trade and environment mandate forward. While I understand that Members are still reflecting on the contribution that can be made for MC10, I have also not heard in my consultations any delegations disagreeing with the importance of moving forward on environment. 2015 is a significant year for the environment and the world's attention will also be on what we, the WTO, can do. 

6.  When we return in September, we need to build on the goodwill expressed by delegations, and to work seriously and constructively towards MC10. Therefore, I would urge participants to the environment negotiations to intensify their reflections and to come back after the summer break with concrete proposals for an outcome.