These two documents are important to understand the process leading to Cancun. The DG and Chairman's statements clearly indicate, as stated in Aileen Kwa's recent article 'Countdown to Cancun', that WTO is in the process of becoming 'Chair driven' rather than 'member driven.'
An extremely problematic feature of this process is that the Chair states,'Clearly, the informal HODs will need to be complemented by consultations by both of us in a variety of smaller configuration to address specific issues and problems.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Geneva
Last week's WTO General Council Meeting, May13, is seen as a 'historic' event by the Secretariat because for the first time, the heads of the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WTO met with the entire membership of the WTO.
Supporters of the 'mini-ministerial' process, including Zoellick and Lamy, have argued that it tends to keep top trade officials fully engaged in WTO issues and this year will help pave the way for a smooth ministerial meeting in Cancun.
There seems to be very little clarity on the part of the Secretariat and member states on the way forward regarding progress in these issues and in particular how these and other issues will play out in the 5th WTO Ministerial in Cancun.