CTS SS, 24 May 2006
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Review of Progress in Negotiations
Organization of future work
Statement from Norway
We have been encouraged by the plurilateral process so far. In our view, it has contributed distinctively in moving the services negotiations forward through important technical clarifications as well as indications on where there is room for new and improved commitments and where there is not – so-called red lines. In that sense, the plurilateral process combined with a relatively extensive round of bilaterals has enabled us to advance our work.
However, after this 2nd round of plurilateral meetings it seems clear to many delegations that we cannot progress very much further through the plurilateral process before we see the level of ambition in agriculture and Nama in the form of full modalities. As many members have indicated in plurilateral and bilateral meetings this and last week we need political guidance on the level of ambition in the services negotiations. However, we believe that the services negotiations are important in their own right, and have their own dynamics, so parallel progress is necessary.
Pending development in agriculture and Nama, we have as we see it two main options: either wait and see or to try to establish some sort of arena where we can compare developments in different areas to be able to see what the contents of the overall package could look like. Some sort of stock taking. In our view, to sit back and wait and see, is not an attractive option. We would support any effort to keep up the momentum in the services negotiations in the run up to the important July 31st deadline and would of course be prepared to meet again also for possible plurilateral meetings towards the end of June. Suggestions for a more regular type cluster starting on the 19 June, devoted to CTS in regular session, subsidiary bodies and Special session with a focus on LDC modalities, and a 2nd week devoted to bilateral and plurilaterale meeting and Special session make sense to us. We would also be flexible as to delaying the 2nd week pending developments in other areas.
We would also like to remind delegations that the services negotiations are more than market access. In the weeks and months ahead we have to make progress on the implementation of the LDC modalities, the S&D proposals as well as the rules areas, specifically Domestic Regulations.
On the LDC modalities, we would first like to thank the LDC Group for their revised Mode 4 request tabled today. It will be studied carefully in capital. Furthermore, we would like to thank the Chairman of the Special Session for his informal consultation on the way forward, which we think is very helpful. It is our intention to continue playing an active role in these consultations. I would also like to reiterate that we are working on a Communication, which aims at providing the Group of LDCs with comprehensive responses to how we may envisage the implementation of the modalities. We hope to be able to table this Communication in the near future.
As regards domestic regulation, we are encouraged by the increased level of participation in the discussions and the number of proposals already on the table or in the pipeline. We would support the Chairman of the Working Party on Domestic Regulations (WPDR) to prepare a first consolidated draft text based on the discussions and all the proposals so as to enable us to move into real text based negotiations on domestic regulations by the summer break.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that Norway is fully committed to reaching a services package that is commensurate with the level of ambition in other areas of the DDA. We look forward to continue working with you and the Chair of the Special Session to achieve this goal.