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Norway’s statement in the TNC meeting 30 November 2005

Norway’s statement in the TNC meeting 30 November 2005

We associate ourselves with the Swiss intervention on behalf of the G 10.

I would like to thank the DG, the Chair of the General Council and the Chairs of the Negotiating Groups for their efforts in this genuinely bottom up process. As promised you have not sprung any surprises on us.

The Draft Ministerial Declaration is of course not the document we would have preferred for Hong Kong, but it represents a safety net. We would definitely have preferred an ambitious document with more substantive decisions being taken at the Ministerial Conference. But, it reflects the situation as it is, that is the recalibration of expectations that we have all agreed to. It is important to us that we in areas such as services, rules and trade facilitation now have texts that make it possible for these areas to catch up with where we are in substance on agriculture and NAMA.

We stand ready to participate in order for Hong Kong to move the process forward across all areas of the negotiations in a balanced manner. Hong Kong should serve as a stepping stone for the next phase of the negotiations which will have to be adoption of full modalities as soon as realistically possible in 2006. We must make use of our present window of opportunity to finalize the DDA. We have to make clear plans for the post Hong Kong phase.

Development is at the core of the DDA. We all agree on this. We realize that the major development gains will be in the form of increased market access through the results in AG, NAMA and services. This being said, it is our hope that we will be able to capitalize on the very good progress so far, and make an early harvest of at least the LDC specific proposals at the HK Ministerial Conference. We are pleased to note the agreement on the extension of the transition period for LDCs under the TRIPS Agreement. We should also envisage adding the 28 other proposals tentatively agreed in Cancun to make the harvest in HK even greater. We would also hope that a decision could finally be made on TRIPS and health.

As to the individual elements, the reports from the Chairs of AG and NAMA describe the situation as it is. We would of course be willing to capture those elements where there is consensus or sufficient convergence to reach agreement. We must, however, remember that what we are aiming for is not full modalities.

On agriculture, I would just like to reiterate our need for flexibility in the formula for market access, a sufficient number of sensitive products and our opposition to the tariff cap. The different situations and tariff structures of individual countries will have to be taken into account.

As to NAMA, we think it is very important that the quantitative aspects of the formula, the flexibilities in paragraph 8 and the treatment of unbound tariffs should be treated in an integrated way.

Regarding services we need to see how we can intensify the negotiations with the aim to bring them to substantive conclusions within the limited time remaining. The text in Annex C will serve as a good basis for the Ministers discussion in Hong Kong from which we can draw the necessary guidance for our further negotiations on services.

We see a clear need to highlight the rules negotiations at the political level in Hong Kong and would have liked to see a more ambitious text both in the draft declaration as well as in Annex D. At this stage in our deliberations we will nevertheless refrain from insisting on such a demand and rather concentrate our efforts on achieving clear guidance from Ministers at Hong Kong for further intensive negotiations in rules.

On trade facilitation we note with satisfaction that the annex is an agreed text. This augurs well for the future process of negotiations.

As to the post Hong Kong process, we have to seriously consider how to advance the negotiations across the board. May be the stage has now been reached when we have to look at all the core areas in an integrated manner.