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Falconer: “We Need to Meet Again”


May 2, 2008
By World Trade Organization

Topics

May 2, 2008 – Ambassador Crawford Falconer, chairperson of the WTO agriculture negotiations, accepted some members’
renewed request on April 30th for more time before he produces another revision of
the draft “modalities”, the blueprint for the final deal in the WTO agriculture negotiations.|

He scheduled
more meetings on Thursday and Friday May 8–9 to discuss the latest
proposal on “sensitive products”, assess progress in tropical and
preference products, and decide what to do next.

This was an informal agriculture
negotiations meeting of the full membership, officially an “Informal
Open-Ended Special Session” of the Agriculture Committee.

The chairperson refers to a number of issues that are explained

here
, including what “the text” is and says, and a “jargon
buster”. He refers in particular to two issues.

One is a compromise proposal from a “group of six
delegations” for estimating domestic consumption to be used as a
basis for expanding tariff quotas on
sensitive products
. These are Australia, Brazil, Canada, the EU,
Japan and the US (which speaks on the group’s behalf). They are part
of the “Friends of the Chair”, which Ambassador Falconer asked to
develop a method for dealing with this technical question. Other
Friends of the Chair are: Argentina, New Zealand, Norway,
Switzerland and Uruguay.

Another issue is “Room
E
, also part of the “multilateral process”. Ultimately, the
current phase of the negotiations is about “modalities”, explained
here
.