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Goff: Opening Statement, WTO Negotiations

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

21 July 2008

Speech Notes

Opening Statement to the World Trade Organisation – Trade Negotiations Committee

Geneva, Switzerland

Mr Chairman

In talking of the challenges we face this week, Celso Amorim used the analogy of climbing Everest.

It was two men, Ed Hillary and Tensing Norgay, from two small countries sitting alongside each other in this room – Nepal and New Zealand – who first climbed Everest 55 years ago.

We will need the qualities they showed – courage and determination – for us to realise the goal of completing agriculture and NAMA modalities this week.

We have all come to Geneva to get an outcome, and I am encouraged by what I have heard so far today.

Seven years after we began the Doha Round it is time to conclude it.

All of us benefit from a successful conclusion of the Round. That is why we joined this organisation, and why we have committed so much time to it.

At a time of economic downturn, financial, oil and food crises, more than ever we need the boost to confidence, growth and development that concluding the Round will bring.

We all come to the Round with ambitions that will not be fully met. We can, of course, all go home with our positions fully intact, but that would be all we go home with.

We each need to show flexibility if we are to succeed collectively.

A failure would carry serious costs, not least for this Institution and the multilateral trading system.

We can’t and should not accept failure as an outcome.

We are in a much better position than when we gathered here two years ago and the Round broke down.

We have in front of us well developed agriculture and NAMA texts. Provided we agree to work within the parameters of those texts – even if they do not fully meet our ambitions – I believe we can secure an outcome.

The texts reflect real progress – improved disciplines, cuts to subsidies, market access opportunities and further openings.

We need to reach agreement now so that we can capture these benefits.

New Zealand this week will seek to maximise its ambitions within the scope of the Chairs’ texts but most of all we will be seeking an outcome, so that we do have a Development Round, we do have enhanced trade openings and the boost to economic confidence from which all of us will benefit.

Achieving that outcome is in our hands. We need to grasp this opportunity and not let it slip through our fingers.


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