Geneva News Update, 29 July 2005, 8:00pm

Original Publication Date: 
28 July, 2005

The WTO General Council meeting ended today without any of the original anticipated results of additional agreements (or 'first approximations') on agriculture,non-agricultural market access, services and 'development issues.'

Without anything substantial, the news was provided by the announcement by Pascal Lamy that four new WTO Deputy Directors-General had beenappointed:.Chile's Ambassador to the WTO, Alejandro Jara, Rwanda's Ambassador to the WTO, Valentine Rugwabiza, Secretary of India'sTelecom Regulatory Authority, Harsha Vardhana Singh, and Rufus Yerxa, of the US (also presently a deputy DG)

New Zealand's new ambassador to the WTO Crawford Falconer will replace Tim Groser, as chair of the agriculture negotiations.

Present at the meeting were three ministers from Japan, the USTR Robert Portman, EC Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson. and Hong Kong Trade Minister.

The General Council chair, Ambassador Amina (Kenya) said progress had been much too slow, but there was no need yet to panic.

Reports were given on Special and Differential Treatmnent negotiationsthat showed there had been no agreement, although many deadlines hadbeen broken.

Yesterday at the Trade Negotiations Committee meeting, many developing countries spoke up critically. Some were upset with the interpretationthat some Chairs had given of the progress (or lack of progress) in thetalks. They were critical of the reports on NAMA and services in particular.Others were also upset about the lack of transparency in recent negotiationsas only a few countries were involved.

Among the critical voices heard were those of the LDC Group, the ACPGroup, Jamaica, Venezuela, India, Africa Group, etc.