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WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. 
Photo: WTO.WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. Photo: WTO

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo: It’s time to shift up a gear

Last updated: 11.04.2014 // The WTOs Trade Negotiations Committee met on Monday 7 April 2014. The meeting was convened to discuss the progress concerning the drawing up of a work-program, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

The Director-General told the Trade Negotiations Committee “In my view we have reached the end of the first phase of this process. It’s time to shift things up a gear. We must now move into a second phase, focused on resolving the problems that we have been outlining — testing what went wrong and putting forward potential solutions. Everything I’ve heard in recent days and weeks suggests that we now need to be deepening our discussions, and engaging in a more direct, purposeful manner in order to identify the best way forward.”

The Director-General’s statement can be found here.

Norway’s ambassador, Harald  Neple, agreed with the Director-General, and stated that “We now need to focus our efforts on drawing up the work programme, building on the parameters presented by the Director General. Time is of the essence. We need to stop looking backwards by referring to old texts and old positions. Instead, we must dare to turn to the basics and have a conversation about where we are and what we want.  We need to have an honest and realistic conversation about what is possible. In doing so, we should try to talk about what we can do and not be restating what we need or want. As we have stated on many occasions, we need to address the difficult issues on their own merits, and not on the basis of old positions and texts.  The old texts can of course serve as a source of inspiration.”

Ambassador Neple, in his capacity as Chairman of the Special Session under the Committee of Trade and Development (CTD SS), also reported on his work since his assumption of the Chairmanship on 25 March 2014.  Norway’s ambassador  stated that he had met with 17 Delegations in order to better understand their positions and ascertain their views on the way forward.

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