Ministerial Meeting – 03 September 2009

A ministerial meeting of more than 35 members of WTO on “Re-Energising Doha – A Commitment to Development” was held on 3 September 2009 at New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Shri Anand Sharma.

The meeting started with a two minute silence to pay respect to Shri Y.S.R. Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on his tragic and sudden demise.

In the meeting there was a unanimous affirmation of the need to expeditiously conclude the Doha Round, particularly in the present critical global economic situation. All agreed that there was a need to resume talks in Geneva to conclude the long under negotiations Doha Development Round of WTO which began in 2001. The development dimension and the need to address the concerns of LDCs was emphasized. The Ministers profusely appreciated the initiative taken by India in organizing a Ministerial meeting in the current difficult economic environment. They also appreciated India bringing together 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.

In his opening remarks the Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Anand Sharma explained the background for calling the meeting and sought all present to provide guidance for a road map for the multilateral engagement in the coming months. He asked ministers to discuss the process required to reach the goal and to build a consensus on the way forward. He observed that the Delhi meeting constituted a microcosm of the entire WTO membership, representing all shades of opinion and interests and this would be the first occasion since July 2008 that such a meeting was taking place to give a determined push to the multilateral process.

The Chair observed that as this meeting was intended to build a broad-based consensus on how Ministers would like to see the process of negotiation fast-tracked, it focus would be process-related issue rather than specific issues in individual areas of the negotiations.

Initiating the discussions, the DG WTO observed that the conclusion of the Doha Round was an urgent requirement as per the signals emanating from world leaders. However, he acknowledged that these signals had not created negotiating dynamics; hence the need to translate these signals into acceleration of work for conclusion of the Round. The Chairs of the WTO negotiating groups on Agriculture, NAMA (industrial goods) and Services provided an overview of the status of negotiations in their respective areas and outlined their work plans in the ensuing months.

The Chair then invited coordinators of various coalition groups and some member countries to make their statements. 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 some Member countries in their individual capacity, including, the EC, China, the US, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Australia. The meeting will continue on 4 September 2009 for further discussion on some of the key issues raised by the Ministers today.