General Council Meeting, 31 October 2001: STATEMENT BY INDONESIA ON THE DRAFT MINISTERIAL DECLARATION
Like others, I would like to thank you for your serious efforts to prepare the revised draft Declaration Job(O1)1140/Rev.l. My delegation fully recognize your tireless endeavours to bridge the differences in positions and appreciates the difficulties you have experienced in trying to make the best judgment of where consensus lies.
Mr. Chairman, In view of the significant changes found in the revised draft some delegations have said that the current draft is well balanced and accommodate the demands of both developed and developing countries. Indonesia however cannot agree with these statements. As we all know, in entering negotiations for the preparation of this fourth ministerial meeting, developed countries had tabled a far higher demands than developing countries, which tended to be on the defensive. For this reason we cannot say that the current revised draft Declaration provides equal benefit for both developed and developing countries, even if some of the demands of developed countries is not fully reflected in the revised draft.
Having said this and in our efforts to be constructive, Indonesia recognizes that there are some positive changes in the revised draft. However, it would be remiss of me if I do not convey Indonesia’s deep concerns that the revised draft still does not take away the serious problems faced by Indonesia on certain contentious issues. As you have requested, I will limit my comments to specific issues on which Indonesia has strong reseevations.
I will start with the issue of labour. As previously indicated, Indonesia cannot support the second sentence of this paragraph and has called for it to be deleted. With regards to the third sentence, it is our view that ILO is the competent body for substantive discussions on labour issues but not however, on various aspects of social dimensions of globalization as suggested in this sentence. For these reasons Indonesia cannot accept the last sentence of paragraph 8.
Turning to paragraph 12, Indonesia appreciates your efforts in trying to find a breakthrough on the stalemate on implementation issues. Although it would be difficult at this stage for my delegation to comment on this specific paragraph without knowing what decision is to be taken regarding implementation and what the state of play would be, however, I would like to point out that my delegation supports your suggestion to merge Annex I and II into one consolidated document. My delegation has also expressed our preference on how to deal with unresolved implementation issues. If a negotiation is envisaged for specific issues, then it should be part of the negotiation and shall be part of a single undertaking and be put as priority to be agreed at an early stage of the negotiation. For other unresolved issues, they should be addressed as a matter of priority under a special mechanism of the general council.
Mr. Chairman, On TRIPS, while Indonesia welcomes the insertion of paragraph 17 which acknowledges a separate declaration for TRIPS and Public Health, we are however unable to agree with the current formulation of the of the paragraph, as it limits the scope of public health to only the promotion of access to existing medicines and research and development of new medicines. With regards to the separate draft text on TRIPS and Public Health, Indonesia would like to emphasis that as a political declaration, option 1 (one) on paragraph 4, is fundamental to the whole exercise of making a separate declaration, as this will send a positive signal to our constituency and to the world community, that TRIPS does not impede on members’ ability to protect Public Health. For this reason Indonesia is of the position that option 1 (one) for this paragraph is thus the most appropriate option.
Indonesia has grave difficulties with Paragraphs 20 and 21, where the current text contains commitments for members to negotiate on investment and competition policy. As currently drafted, our interpretation of the text is that the negotiation will even begin immediately after Doha, under the term “clarifying elements”. My delegation has repeatedly and clearly stated that Indonesia is not in a position to begin negotiations on any of these issues without firstly knowing and understanding the costs and full implications of such proposed agreements to Indonesia’s national interests. Furthermore, we are not clear on what the text exactly meant by “the question of participation”. If this means or refers to a “plurilateral agreement’ or an “opt-in-opt-out approach”, Indonesia has difficulties to support such an approach, as we believe it will undermine the multilateral character of the WTO. My delegation deeply regrets that despite repeatedly stating our position that a more focussed examination by the Working Groups in these areas should be continued, this option has however been removed from the present text.
Mr. Chairman, With respect to the issues of transparency in government procurement and trade facilitation, the option of negotiation is retained as the only alternative for paragraphs 22 and 23. Indonesia cannot support these paragraphs as the text proposes immediate negotiations. On various occasions, Indonesia has repeatedly expressed its position on government procurement, that we should complete the identification of elements to be developed for an appropriate agreement before commencing the negotiation on transparency in government procurement. A similar position applies to trade facilitation. Indonesia wants to fully comprehend the implications of negotiations on trade facilitation before agreeing to negotiate. The reference to ensuring that appropriate arrangements will be made for the provision of technical assistance and support for capacity building will not take away our concerns.
On trade and environment, we question the insistence to maintain the high-status of this issue, where reference is made in all three sections of the revised draft text. With regards to paragraph 27, Indonesia has serious problems for the inclusion of “the desirability of negotiations”, as stated in the last sentence of this paragraph. I wish to repeat Indonesia’s position that we cannot support negotiations in this area.
My delegation is deeply concerned to see that the revised draft fully retains paragraphs 38 to 45, without brackets. We reiterate our position, that we consider the provisions of the Organisation and Management of Work Programme, which signify the launching of a new Round in the WTO, as still being controversial.
In conclusion, my delegation is strongly of the view that the positions of delegations which were not reflected in the draft.-text to be transmitted to the Ministers, should not be prejudiced in any way by the transmission of the current Draft Declaration to the Ministers in the present form.
[If the draft Declaration is to be transmitted in the present form, for the sake of fairness, my delegation would like to urge you to give in your covering note a brief summary reflecting the state of play of various issues. The covering note should be incorporated as an integral part of the Draft Declaration. ]