Mr. Chairman Let me first of all express my gratitude for the great efforts undertaken over the last couple of weeks by you, Mr. Chairman, the Director General, Deputy Director General Yerxa, ambassadors Tim Groser, Stefan Johannsson and Faisal Ismail, and the secretariat.
After Cancún, the first step in order to bring the negotiations back on track had to be taken in agriculture. Let me therefore add that the fearless leadership of ambassador Groser has been crucial in order to ensure our success today.
By adopting the framework on agriculture and non agriculture market access, and taking important decisions on trade facilitation and development issues, we have finally managed to put Cancún behind us.
The fact that members are able to work together in order to correct mistakes in the past, is, in my view, a viable proof of the robustness and relevance of the WTO-system.
Our success today is also an important step on our road towards a final result in the Doha Development Agenda. This is not the final step. More difficult steps still remain to be taken. Tough negotiations have to be carried out, and painful compromises will have to be made before we get there.
As to the substance, Mr. Chairman:
It was not an easy decision for us to agree to the framework on agriculture. Here I would like to associate myself with the comments made by president Deiss on behalf of the G 10. To Norway, it is of the tmost importance that non-trade concerns wil be taken into account as we negotiate the modalities in the next phase. This should also apply in the market access pillar. The overall balance of the trade and non-trade concerns must be retained in the final result.
Our major concern within the Annex A relates to tariff capping. We are convinced that the future evaluation of the cap will show that there is no rationale for such a cap within a tiered formula with distinct treatment of sensitive products. We will continue to oppose its introduction.
The treatment of sensitive products will be crucial for us in the next phase. Balance in the negotiation will be found only if the final result also reflect the sensitivity of the products concerned.
For non-agricultural market access we would liked to see substantially more ambition. We do, however, appreciate the agreement on the non-linear formula and the sectorial approach as the key modalities for reduction and elimination of non-agricultural tarrifs. This is important in order tu ensure that the ambition in the Doha-mandate is met, and that real market access is provided.
Furthermore I welcome the flexibility for the least developed countries, exempting them from tariff reductions at his juncture. Flexibility is also provided for other developing countries in various parts of the framework text. This will give us the opportunity not to overburden poor developing countries with too sternious commitments.
Let me also mention that we attach high importance to the negotiations on trade facilitation. These nagotiations are important in order to limit unnessecarily burdensome trade procedures. Hopefully, the negotiations will make it easier and more cost-effective for producers from developed and deeloping countries to export their goods.
As in stage of the negotiations, we had hoped that ambitious benchmarks in services and rules had been established in the framework text. We do, however, appreciate that the text reconfirms the importance of achieving a balanced outcome at the end of the Doha round, and the principle of the single undertaking.
This package before us will be an important stepping stone to achieving the overall im of the Doha agenda, development through trade. We therefore welcome its adoption.
Finally, Mr. Chairman,
Many concerns have been raised the last two weeks on process, ransparency, inclusiveness and political ownership. These are indeed important principles in order to ensure successfull negotiations among 148 individual members. Thanks to intense work, equal level of discomfort with the text, substantial flexibility by all parties, and maybe a bit of luck, we have been able to reach agreement today.
As we now embark on the final, and even more difficult stretch of our negotiations, an inclusive process where the voices of all participants will be heard, is absolutely crucial in order to succeed.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.