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   Ski p to content   Français | Español Contact us | Site map | A-Z  Search: Home   About WTO   News and events   Trade topics   WTO membership   Documents and resources   WTO and you  home > wto news > speeches list > speech WTO NEWS: SPEECHES  —   DG ROBERTO AZEVÊDO 6 January 2014 ―Bali is just the start‖ —   Azevêdo Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, in a speech at a diplomatic seminar in Lisbon on 6 January 2014, said: ―The task of strengthening the multilateral system and moving towards delivering on the Doha Development Agenda will be difficult  –    but it is not impo ssible. Many didn’t believe we could deliver in Bali, and with good reason. But we did  –   and we can do more. Bali is just the start.‖ This is what he said:  MORE: > Director-General  >  Roberto Azevêdo’s speeches Introduction Madam President of the Assembly of the Republic, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Former President of the Republic, Jorge Sampaio Members of the Portuguese Government, Ambassadors, Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be in Lisbon, and to have the chance to address such a distinguished audience here, in a place that is so symbolic of Portuguese democracy. Of course, being Brazilian makes the pleasure even greater  —   speaking in Portuguese at an official event is a rare privilege, to say the least. But the privilege also involves the chance to revisit a land which,  aside from its mystique, is also a point of reference for all Brazilians. I can assure you all that, in my personal experience (as a Brazilian whose blood is 7/8 Portuguese), it is impossible to understand the Brazilian soul without visiting the roots and common srcins of our people  —   people in the singular  —   distributed on both sides of the Atlantic. Before embarking on the topic of our meeting here today, I feel compelled to share with the Portuguese nation my profound sadness and solidarity following the passing of Eusébio. As I think everyone knows, I'm a football fanatic, and it was very sad to receive the news when I disembarked yesterday in Lisbon. Eusébio  —    our ―Black Panther‖ —   was a sportsman and human being who always aroused feelings of admiration and inspired millions around the world. At least we have the consolation of being able to relive his great moments with images that will doubtless be relayed by television worldwide. He will remain forever in the annals of history as one of football's giants. To get back to the route map of our conversation, just over a year ago I announced my candidacy for the post of Director-General; and I was here in Lisbon at the start of last year, still in the early stages of that selection process. What I saw and heard here encouraged me to pursue the position of Director-General, and I'm very grateful for the guidance and wise advice that was offered to me. These last 12 months have been truly eventful and testing. I want to thank the Portuguese Government for the tremendous support you gave me throughout my campaign for this role  —   and,  particularly, for the support that you, along with the EU as a whole, gave to achieving a successful outcome in Bali. My presence as the head of the WTO and the success of the Bali negotiations were a direct outcome of that support. We now need to build new negotiations and multilateral outcomes on the foundations which we have just jointly signed up to in Bali. This new endeavour is precisely the topic of my talk this morning, which has the title ―Trade  multilateralism in the twenty-first century.‖  While today I can speak more optimistically about this topic, just six weeks ago that would not have been the case.  Before the gavel finally came down to confirm the adoption of the Bali Package, the future of trade multilateralism was in doubt. But the gavel did come down on the deal  —   we delivered. And it has changed the outlook and the opportunities quite dramatically. I remember that, just one week from the start of the Ministerial Conference in Bali, we closed the negotiating process in Geneva with texts that were still unfinished. We were a step away from another failure; and, in my opinion, only one factor could reverse that situation and bring us to a positive outcome in Indonesia. To use a buzzword that is well-known in diplomatic spheres, what was required was ―political will‖. In practical terms, what we really needed and the only thing capable of ensuring that that ―political   will‖ materialized, was a collective awareness that:  (1) the agreement being pursued was desirable for everyone and, above all, doable for everyone; (2) a positive outcome would not produce winners and losers, nor a north-south divide (both developed and developing countries would need to work for the agreement); (3) the multilateral trading system needs to be reinvigorated to  benefit everyone, particularly the smallest countries and those with least capacity to manage the intricacies of large-scale trade negotiations. In my opinion, the fact that this set of elements was present in Bali is what enabled dynamic and innovative procedures that led us to finalize the texts, without the traditional closed-door negotiations with a small number of delegations around a single table. The  process was inclusive and transparent to the last. Clearly, aside from the systemic impact and its symbolic dimension, the Agreement was only possible on the basis of what was on the table. That had to be the starting point and the central underpinning of the ―political will‖ we were looking for. In fact, the Bali Package involved a large number of measures that are very important for all Members. It covered three important areas, and I'll take each one in turn. The Bali Package  The first pillar  is Agriculture. This is the cornerstone of the Doha Development Agenda which the WTO has been working on since 2001. Agricultural issues are very dear to developing countries, and the Bali Package delivered some important outcomes. For example, it sets us on track for a reform of export subsidies and measures of similar effect, and it makes practical progress towards better implementation of the tariff quota commitments assumed in the Uruguay Round. There is also a reaffirmation and a deepening of the political commitments assumed in Hong Kong on trade liberalization and the reduction of distorting support to cotton  —   a very important issue for the African countries that grow that crop. The Package also provides temporary protection for food security  programs in developing countries, which allow for the stockpiling of grain for subsequent distribution to the poor. As we know, some of those countries could be exposed to legal challenges in the WTO for exceeding the limits stipulated in the Agriculture Agreement for certain types of domestic support. So, in addition to the temporary protection against legal challenges, the Bali Agreement states that a permanent solution will be negotiated and concluded before the 11th Ministerial Conference in four years' time. The second pillar  of the Package is Development. Here, a monitoring mechanism will provide for the review and strengthening of special and differential treatment provisions for developing countries, which are contained in all WTO multilateral texts. This achievement is vital for the equilibrium and efficacy of the multilateral system. There are also a number of specific measures to support the Least-Developed Countries. They include reforms that would enable services providers in LDCs to enjoy new export opportunities in developed country markets. They also include steps to simplify rules of srcin, which again will open up new export opportunities for those countries specifically. Under this pillar we will also see improvements in trade
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