Concluding Press Communique of Ministerial Meeting on Re-Energising Doha – A Commitment to Development - 04 Sept 2009

A two day Ministerial meeting of more than 30 Ministers of WTO Member countries on “Re-Energising Doha – A Commitment to Development” concluded here today. The meeting was chaired by India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr. Anand Sharma.

On the first day, 3rd September, there was a round of statements by the coordinators of various coalition groups in the WTO and some member countries. These included the Cairns Group, G-20, G-33, Cotton-4, G-10, NAMA-11, African Group, African-Caribbean-Pacific Group (ACP), LDCs, Small and Vulnerable Economies (SVEs) and CARICOM (Caribbean Community). In addition, statements were made by many Member countries in their individual capacity, including, the EC, China, the US, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Australia. 

Today, after statements by a few more Members, including Argentina, Philippines, Thailand, Nigeria, Uruguay, Malaysia, Ecuador, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Peru, Mexico and Chile, there was an open discussion on the process-related issues that had been flagged by India at the outset.

There was a unanimous affirmation of the need to expeditiously conclude the Doha Round, particularly in the present economic situation. All agreed that there was a need to resume talks in Geneva. The development dimension and the need to address the concerns of LDCs was emphasized.

Acknowledging that the LDCs and the Small and Vulnerable Economies had the most at stake in this Round, Ministers collectively re-affirmed that development remains at the heart of the Doha Round and called for placing all LDC concerns on a faster track for negotiating convergence.

Ministers also called upon Chief Negotiators/Senior Officials to meet in Geneva in September/early October 2009 to draw up a process of engagement, and, to work with the Chairs of the Negotiating Groups to prepare an overall agenda of action.

Ministers called for issue-based work plans for intensifying engagement of members on Agriculture and NAMA to complete negotiations within a timeframe to be stipulated. They also called for work plans in other areas covered in the Doha Round. There was an unanimity of opinion that negotiations should resume on the basis of progress achieved till December 2008.

They stressed the importance and integrity of the multilateral process given its inclusiveness and transparency.

In light of the 2010 timeline, Ministers suggested that there was a need to iteratively track progress and to use all opportunities for political guidance, including at the level of leaders. 

Ministers were unanimously appreciative of India’s effort to revive the flagging negotiations by bringing together such a widely representative group of WTO groups representing practically all shades of opinion and interests at the WTO in an effort to bring about a broad-based consensus on the road ahead for the Doha Development Round.