Norway has come to Geneva in order to contribute constructively to establish modalities for agriculture and NAMA as an important and necessary step towards a comprehensive Doha deal.
Concluding the DDA is important to my country, and important to the world, not least against the backdrop of economic uncertainty and tremendous challenges of social and economic development. It is a promising start to note that Members share this view.
We come with the spirit that the Doha round is a development round. This has to be reflected not only in the modalities for agriculture and NAMA, but also in all other areas integral to the Single Undertaking. We need to deliver on the Special and Differential Treatment agenda as part of the Single Undertaking.
We agree that our primary focus will be modalities for agriculture and NAMA. We should, however, not forget the other issues within the agreed scope, the so-called in-between-issues. Let me briefly touch on some of them.
One of these is services. Efficient services sectors are essential to any economy and are key to economic growth and social development. In this context, I am pleased to note that we are close to adress the issue of LDC modalities in a meaningful manner. We are also looking forward to participate in the Signalling Conference later this week, in which we hope for a true "two-way-street" exchange, and to which we will contribute positively.
The second issue I’d like to touch upon, mr. chairman, is rules. It is our firm belief that we can not close this round without updating and strengthening the rules, in particular related to anti-dumping. After all, this is a rules-based organisation. Equally we are supportive of rules that will have a real impact on overcapacity and over-fishing.
On agriculture and NAMA, I too would first of all express our gratitude to the two chairmen. Their tireless effort has enabled us to be in a position where we have two comprehensive draft modalities papers as a basis for our negotiations.
In NAMA, Norway has always argued for an ambitious result, and we have been prepared to be even more ambitious than the current text envisages. While our main export interests are in other developed countries, we are also expecting a real contribution from emerging economies. We do in this context accept the need for flexibilities that enable countries to adress their legitimate sensitivities and particular development needs, and fully support the concept of Less Than Full Reciprosity
On agriculture, Mr Chairman, our agricultural sector is vulnerable and not able to compete with areas that are blessed with more space, better soil, more sun and less snow. We are ready to climb a mountain, but our challenge is that we have farmers living on those mountains, and we want them to be able to live there. We import more than half of the food we consume, and our agricultural exports are next to nothing. While our agriculture may be small in its economic share, agriculture is vital in many other respects beyond food production, employment, economics and environment, not the least by constituting the spinal cord of our rural communities. This is why we need a result that is not tailored along the red lines of somebody else, but a package that will enable us to maintain a viable agricultural sector all throughout our long-stretched country. This is our bottom line.
In agriculture, we appreciate the effort to accomodate the special needs of the membership by the Chairman, including Norwegian concerns. However, we are still faced with a package that carries an extremely high price. Some of the options that are still on the table are beyond what we can bear, in particular, but not only, in market access. We will revert to these issues in good faith in more detail at a later stage.
Norway is ready to do our share. Over the next few days we will, as we always have done, engage constructively to find solutions where everybody can find the balance they need.
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