Presentation by Peter Mandelson of the latest developments in the Doha round
End production: 11/09/2007 First transmission: 11/09/2007
Peter Mandelson, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, presented the latest developments in the Doha round to Members of the European Parliament. He said that Doha negotiations need to get down to specifics if there is any prospect of a final agreement. He urged all negotiators to accept the texts produced by the chairs of the WTO negotiating groups as the basis for a final negotiation. Also, he urged ACP governments to join a final burst of negotiations to successfully complete Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations by the end of 2007. He warned that there would be no legal basis for the extension of existing preferential trade terms between the EU and the 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries if the two sides do not initial new Economic Partnership Agreements before the end of 2007. In the absence of such agreements, the EU and the ACP would have no legal alternative but to switch to the EU Generalised System of Preferences which would mean less generous tariff preferences for many ACP countries. Finally, Peter Mandelson said that the European Commission was committed to a successful negotiation.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament in Brussels
||Arrival of Peter Mandelson, Member of the EC in charge of Trade (4 shots)
||Peter Mandelson (in ENGLISH) saying that the objective of Pascal Lamy and the Chairs is to be in a position to issue a revised paper some time in October 2007, so as to serve as the basis for a final deal on modalities later in autumn; whether this will be the case depends entirely on the negotiating engagement and flexibility of WTO members; they all have responsibility for this; he hopes that the United States will translate President Bush's political commitment expressed at the APEC Leaders meeting into concrete negotiating moves to clinch a deal, in particular to clarify and stabilise their stance on farm subsidies;
the EU for its part should be ready to go as far as it can within its mandate in both agricultural market access and subsidy reduction; what is being asked of all the negotiators is reasonable and attainable, and many of the WTO membership, notably the poorest countries, are asked to do less and in many cases nothing at all; the reality of these talks is that the distance to the finishing line, in economic terms, is fairly short now;
they will continue to ensure that the Round delivers on its development promise; the Chairs' papers do take this dimension into account, but they will continue to watch carefully that development specific issues, like aid for trade, duty free quota free, access for the least developed countries, or measures against preference erosion, are adequately tackled in the final deal;
on EPA's 2008 deadline; saying that if there is no new trade regime in place by the end of 2007 in each of the regions, and that means effectively initialling an agreement by around the end of October, the Commission has no legal option but to offer the region concerned ordinary GSP preferences; contrary to the advice given by certain NGOs, no region will be eligible for GSP+ from 1 January 2008, and very few, if any, from 2009, when the next version of the GSP will enter into force; the 31 countries of the ACP who are not least-developed countries will lose the tariff advantage that Cotonou gives them over their competitors in key areas such as textiles, cocoa, tuna, bananas and horticulture;
this deadline is not a bluff or some negotiating tactic invented in Brussels; it is an external reality created in the WTO in Geneva; they have given a binding multilateral commitment that was set and agreed seven years ago; if the ACP and the EU run over the deadline, they will be in open breach of their commitments to other WTO members; they are committed to replace Cotonou trade preferences with a new trade regime that does not unilaterally discriminate against non-ACP developing countries;
||Cutaways (4 shots)