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Historisk arkiv

WTO. Informal Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) meeting in Geneva

Historisk arkiv

Publisert under: Regjeringen Stoltenberg II

Utgiver: Utenriksdepartementet

Geneve, 21.07.08

Utenriksminister Støres innledning 21.07.08 under møtet i Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) i Geneve der alle WTOs medlemsland deltar.

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Thank you, Mr Chairman,

Norway has come to Geneva to contribute constructively to the process of establishing modalities for agriculture and NAMA (non-agricultural market access) as this is an important and necessary step towards a comprehensive Doha deal.

Concluding the DDA (Doha Development Agenda) is important to my country, and important to the world, not least against the backdrop of economic uncertainty and tremendous challenges of ensuring social and economic development. It is a promising start that Members share this view.

We view the Doha round as a development round. This has to be reflected not only in the modalities for agriculture and NAMA, but also in all other areas integral to the Single Undertaking. We need to deliver on the Special and Differential Treatment Agenda as part of the Single Undertaking.

We agree that our primary focus should be modalities for agriculture and NAMA. We should, however, not forget the other issues within the agreed scope, the so-called in-between issues.

Let me briefly touch on some of them.

One of these is services. Efficient services sectors are essential to any economy and are key to economic growth and social development. In this context, I am pleased to note that we are close to addressing the issue of LDC (least developed countries) modalities in a meaningful manner. We are also looking forward to participating in the Signalling Conference later this week, where we hope for a true two-way exchange of views, to which we will contribute positively.

The second issue I would like to touch on, Mr Chairman, is rules. It is our firm belief that we cannot close this round without updating and strengthening the rules, in particular those related to anti-dumping. After all, this is a rules-based organisation. Equally, we support the development of rules that will have a real impact on overcapacity and overfishing.

On agriculture and NAMA, I too would first of all like to express our gratitude to the two chairmen. Thanks to their tireless efforts we have two comprehensive draft modalities papers as a basis for our negotiations.

In the NAMA negotiations, Norway has always advocated an ambitious result, and we have been prepared to be even more ambitious than the current text envisages. While our main export interests are in other developed countries, we are also expecting a real contribution from emerging economies. We do, however, accept the need for flexibilities that enable countries to address their legitimate sensitivities and particular development needs, and fully support the concept of “less than full reciprocity”.
On agriculture, Mr Chairman, our agricultural sector is vulnerable and not able to compete with areas that are blessed with more space, better soil, more sun and less snow. We are ready to climb a mountain, but our challenge is that we have farmers living on those mountains, and we want them to be able to live there. We import more than half of the food we consume, and our agricultural exports are negligible.

While our agricultural sector may be small in terms of its economic impact, agriculture is vital in many other respects beyond food production, employment, economics and environment, not least by constituting the backbone of our rural communities. This is why we need a result that is not tailored to somebody else’s red lines, but a package that will enable us to maintain a viable agricultural sector throughout our long country. That is the bottom line.

In the negotiations on agriculture, we appreciate the Chairman’s efforts to accommodate the special needs of the members, including Norwegian concerns. However, we are still faced with a package that comes at an extremely high price. Some of the options that are still on the table are beyond what we can bear, in particular, but not only, as regards market access. We will revert to these issues, in good faith, in more detail at a later stage.

Mr Chairman,

Norway is ready to do its share. Over the next few days we will, as we always have done, engage constructively to find balanced solutions that everybody can accept.

Thank you.


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