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CHAIRMAN: May I call the Eighty-eighth Session of the Council to order. Mr Director-General, distinguished members of the Council, distinguished observers, officers of FAO and ladies and gentlemen, may I extend to you all a very cordial welcome to this short session of the Council before the Conference.

Our session is short and our agenda is long, and I hope with the cooperation of everyone here we will be able to get through our work by Thursday.

I am very happy that all members of the Council are here, and in particular I feel privileged that we have the Honourable Minister of Afghanistan, Minister of Agriculture, His Excellency Abdul Ghaffar Lakanwal. I want to extend a particular welcome to Minister Lakanwal of Afghanistan. We are also very privileged this morning to have in our midst amongst the observers His Excellency Jean-Baptiste Yonke, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture of Cameroon. I want to extend a very warm welcome on behalf of the Council to Minister Yonke. We feel honoured that you are able to be present with us.

1. Adoption of the Agenda and Timetable
1. Adoption de l'ordre du jour et du calendrier
1. Aprobación del programa y el calendario

Our first item on the agenda is the adoption of the Agenda and Timetable, documents CL 88/1 and CL 88/INF/1. These are the two concerned papers and I wish to know whether Provisional Annotated Agenda and the Provisional Timetable are acceptable, but before I seek your concurrence or comments I must say that as regards the Timetable I should draw your attention to the typographical error in the Spanish version. The error is only in the Spanish version. It is in CL 88/INF/1. The typographical error relates to document reference for item 5. This appears as C 85/44 but should read C 85/24. Instead of 44 it should be 24.

The Provisional Timetable has been prepared by the Secretariat in their usual highly methodical way and you will observe that if we adhere strictly to the Timetable we will be completing our agenda by the close of business on Wednesday, 6 November. If we complete all of our discussion on 6 November we will then have Thursday, 7 November, to adopt our Report.

I will now seek your concurrence or comments to the Timetable as relates to the Provisional Agenda. Are there any comments or shall we adopt them? I see no comments so I take it that we adopt the Agenda and the Timetable. Thank you very much. The Secretary General has an announcement to make before we proceed with the next item on the Agenda.

LE SECRETAIRE GENERAL: Dans l'après-midi du jeudi 7 novembre, le calendrier provisoire indique simplement: "Adoption du rapport"; mais il y aura en outre une petite cérémonie traditionnelle, à savoir l'inauguration du portrait du Président indépendant sortant; elle aura lieu au cours de la séance de jeudi après-midi.

2. Election of Three Vice-Chairmen, and Designation of Chairman and Members of Drafting Committee
2. Election de trois vice-présidents, et nomination du Président et des membres du Comité de rédaction
2. Elección de tres Vicepresidentes y nombramiento del Presidente y los Miembros del Comité de Redacción

Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): La delegación de Colombia, Sr. Presidente, tiene el honor y el placer de proponer a nuestro distinguido colega y amigo el Sr. A. Bukhari, Embajador de Arabia Saudita, para una de las Vicepresidencias. El colega Bukhari, bien conocido por todos nosotros, es un excelente representante de su país que demostró inteligencia, capacidad, experiencia y conocimiento, generalmente reconocidos por todos, por lo cual consideramos que su elección sería muy acertada.

Amin ABDEL-MALEK (Liban)(langue originale arabe): Je vous remercie. La délégation du Liban a le plaisir d'appuyer la proposition faite par M. Bula Hoyos, à savoir l'élection de M. Bukhari à une des vice-présidences. Nous connaissons sa capacité et son dévouement et c'est la raison pour laquelle nous avons l'honneur d'appuyer sa candidature à ce poste de vice-président.

Sra. Doña Mercedes FERMIN GOMEZ (Venezuela): La delegación de Venezuela, Sr. Presidente, tiene el honor de compartir la proposición hecha por el Embajador de Colombia y, por tanto, apoyamos la candidatura del Embajador Bukhari, a quien conocemos y apreciamos por su capacidad y dedicación al trabajo.

CHAIRMAN: Mr Bukhari has been proposed and seconded. I take it that it is the unanimous desire of Council to request him to serve as a Vice-Chairman.

José Ramón LOPEZ PORTILLO ROMANO (Mexico): En primer lugar deseo expresar, Sr. Presidente, que estamos muy contentos de ver a usted presidiendo de nuevo los trabajos de nuestro Consejo.

La delegación de México se honra en poner a la consideración del Consejo la candidatura del distinguido Embajador Senghor, del Senegal, para ocupar una de las vicepresidencias. Es de todos conocido la larga trayectorial profesional y la experiencia del Embajador Senghor. Por tanto me permito poner su candidatura a consideración.

Jacques POSIER (France): La délégation française est heureuse et honorée d'appuyer la candidature de son excellence M. Senghor, Ambassadeur du Sénégal. Nous connaissons tous M. Senghor. Nous connaissons ses qualités, sa compétence, son expérience, et nous savons qu'il fera un excellent vice-président du Conseil. La France appuie donc chaleureusement la proposition faite par le représentant du Mexique. Elle appuie la candidature de M. Senghor.

Ramesh Chander GUPTA (India): The Indian delegation would like to support the candidature of Mr Senghor of Senegal to one of the posts of Vice-Chairmen of this session of the Council. Mr Senghor, with his experience, is known for his sobriety, maturity and capability and we are sure he will be an eminent assistant to you, Mr Chairman, as a Vice-Chairman of the Council. We heartily support his candidature.

CHAIRMAN: Mr Senghor of Senegal has been proposed and seconded. May I take it that it is the unanimous wish of the Council to elect him as a Vice-Chairman?

Joseph TCHICAYA (Congo): C'est pour nous un plaisir que de proposer à l'une des vice-présidences M. Redl, représentant de l'Autriche. M. Redl est connu de nous tous. Il possède une vaste expérience sur les différents sujets retenus pour cette session et il représente assez régulièrement son pays, ici à Rome, au sein de cette enceinte. C'est pourquoi nous sommes certains qu'il vous sera d'un concours précieux et nous espérons que cette candidature retiendra l'attention de tout le monde.

John GLISTRUP (Denmark): It gives me great pleasure to support the proposal made by the distinguished delegate of the Congo to have Mr Redl of Austria nominated a Vice-Chairman. We have had the pleasure of working with Mr Redl in many FAO fora. We are confident he will be able to support you, Mr Chairman, in bringing this Council meeting to a successful conclusion.

Leopoldo ARIZA HIDALGO (Cuba): Queremos en primer lugar saludar a usted, Sr. Presidente, por verle de nuevo presidiendo nuestras labores.

Deseamos unirnos a la proposición del distinguido representante del Congo, apoyada por Dinamarca, para designar la vicepresidencia al Sr. Redl de Austria, ya que consideramos que es una de las personas capacitadas y que podrá ayudar a usted, Sr. Presidente, en sus tareas.

CHAIRMAN: Mr Redl of Austria has been duly proposed and seconded. May I take it that it is the unanimous wish of the Council to elect him as Vice-Chairman? Thank you.

We are fortunate at this session to have three very distinguished persons as our Vice-Chairmen, Mr Bukhari of Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Senghor of Senegal and Mr Redl of Austria. On behalf of everybody here I congratulate them, and I am looking forward to working with them in this short session.

I am informed that discussions are still in progress with regard to the composition of the Drafting Committee and the election of the Chairman of the Drafting Committee. If Council agrees, we will defer that item for the time being and take it up as soon as the discussions are completed.


4. Report of the Fifty-fifth Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (Rome, 21-25 October 1985)
4. Rapport de la cinquante-cinquième session du Comité des produits (Rome, 21-25 octobre 1985)
4. Informe del 55° período de sesiones del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos (Roma, 21-25 de octubre de 1985)

J. MUSHARRAF (Chairman, Committee on Commodity Problems): I have the honour to present to members of this Council the report of the Fifty-fifth Session of the Committee on commodity Problems held from 21 to 25 October this year. The meeting was attended by 74 representatives of governments and the representative of the Holy See. Representatives of eight international organizations also participated as observers.

The Committee reviewed the main issues in the world commodity situation and outlook. This can be seen in paragraphs 7 to 18 of the report. The Committee noted that although the merchandize trade surplus of all the developing countries had increased in 1984, it had barely reached half the level

of 1979 to 1981. Furthermore, the Committee deeply regretted that export prices of many agricultural commodities had declined again since mid-1984. The Committee expressed deep disappointment that the commodity trade situation currently and for the short-term future appeared generally unfavourable. In general, the export earnings in current US$ terms appeared likely to decline significantly in 1985 and early 1986 with adverse consequences for both the developed and developing exporting countries.

With regard to the medium-term prospects the Committee noted that the FAO Secretariat projections for 1990 vith only a few exceptions among commodities, to a considerable slowdown of growth of global demand compared with the 1970s and accordingly, opportunities for export growth would be more constrained. In the light of the generally unfavourable commodity situation and outlook, the Committee discussed desirable remedial measures.

The Committee agreed that effort should be made by the international community to persuade countries to halt and eliminate export subsidies and other similar practices, as well as protectionist measures which curbed access to international markets. Following the request of the Council at its Eighty-fourth Session in November 1983, the Committee on Commodity Problems at this Session considered the interrelationship between trade and food security. It recognized that efforts by governments to improve national food security were increasingly dependent on the international trade environment and financial system. It noted that over the past decade, increased risks and new uncertainties had been introduced in the global trading environment and international financial system which reduced the attractiveness of the trade option for improving food security especially for the low-income food-deficit countries. The Committee recognized that the increased reliance on trade for strengthening food security depended heavily on an improvement in the national economic trading environment, and stressed the need for improved functioning of the international monetary system to facilitate trade growth.

The Committee considered that food aid, although not a long-term solution to food security, had an important role to play as a source of foodsupplies, particularly for countries with low growth in domestic food production and low GDP growth rates and limited opportunities for export markets.

It stressed that the impact of such aid in strengthening food security would be more permanent if used for development purposes. It also underlined the need for encouraging triangular transactions and urged that such transactions be supported by practical measures at the international level, including financial help and improved exchange of information.

While recognizing that the potential benefits of relying on trade to achieve food security objectives, the Committee noted with concern the potentially harmful effects of the dependence on imported food supplies, whether purchased commercially or obtained as food aid. In this connection it stressed the important role that traditional food crops played in the food security of many developing countries and underlined the need to safeguard against possible risks and distortions that might be caused by imported foods and production processes. The Committee has requested that the topic of international trade and food security be followed up in future sessions and a number of suggestions have been made for future work in this area in paragraph 28 of the Report.

In line with its standing mandate to review follow-up action to Conference Resolution 2/79, the Committee undertook its third regular review of developments in protectionism affecting trade prospects of agricultural commodities. There was a very wide-ranging discussion on this item which is reflected in paragraphs 37 to 50 of the report. The Committee agreed that protectionism, including the use of export subsidies and other similar practices in agricultural trade, had remained persistantly widespread and strong. It expressed the need to consider the negative effects of inward-looking agricultural policies on other countries.

The Committee also heard with interest a statement by the representative of GATT concerning the work of the Committee on Trade in Agriculture. The CCP appreciated the efforts of this GATT Committee and expressed its hope that the Committee on Trade in Agriculture would conclude its work programme with definite and widely accepted recommendations which would clear the way for successful negotiations on agricultural trade. The Committee also stressed the urgency of completing the 1982 GATT programme of work adopted at ministerial level, thus fulfilling all the

commitments therein, before entering into a new round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Committee also thought that during the next round of negotiations in GATT the effective participation of developing countries should be ensured.

The Committee, with the exception of one delegation, made a number of recommendations, as shown in paragraphs 49 and 50. These concern the barriers to agricultural trade as well as the use of export subsidies and other similar practices.

The Committee agreed that FAO's analytical and information activities on commodity trade issues under the aegis of the CCP and its Intergovernmental Groups were central to its mandate and that such activities were useful in understanding the issues involved and in the process of trade liberalization. In this connection the Committee requested the Secretariat to include in its next review of developments in protectionism, and follow-up to Resolution 2/79, an assessment of the effects of protectionist policies applied to commodities which are essential to the economies of low-cost producing and exporting countries and to countries producing and using substitutes.

The CCP also reviewed the 1984-85 activities of its subsidiary bodies, that is the Intergovernmental Commodity Groups and the Sub-Committee on Surplus Disposal. This review is contained in sections V and VI of the Report.

The Committee's review of the international action on agricultural commodities since its Fifty-Fourth session is in paragraphs 80 to 89 of the report and its comments on the FAO commodities programme for 1986/87 are reflected in paragraphs 90 to 96 of the report. The Committee, inter alia, stressed that the network of FAO Intergovernmental Groups provided a valuable mechanism where producing and consuming countries could consult together. It stressed the need to promote agricultural trade among developing countries and supported the provisions in the programme to this effect. The Committee also placed high priority on FAO's global commodity intelligence activities together with the associated analytical work.

To conclude, I hope that the Council will endorse the report of the Fifty-fifth session of the Committee and provide guidance on the future work of the Committee.

David R. GREGORY (Australia): Thank you Mr Chairman. May I say to begin with what a pleasure it is to see you in the seat here again. I thought I was going to be the only person to speak on this item, so I leapt in rather quickly.

I do not want to say much because we considered this report only a matter of a week or so ago. However, it is a report which I think is of considerable importance.

We in Australia consider that the work of this Committee addressed some of what we see as the most crucial issues facing the world on food and agriculture today. In fact in his opening address the Director-General himself drew attention to these problems in his opening statement, and I would recommend that statement to all who have not had the opportunity of reading it. It is an addendum to the report.

There are two elements we would like to stress. One is the contribution that low-cost efficient producers such as Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and others can make to contributing to international or world food security.

Perhaps the second is the way in which agricultural surpluses generated by subsidies to agriculture in relatively higher-cost producing countries can undermine world food security, and thirdly the emphasis that all countries should give to basing their food security development, if you like, in developing their own self-reliance by doing the things that they do best, hence ensuring that resources are used as efficiently as possible.

Finally, I would like to draw particular attention to the calls that were made during the meeting in relation to the future work programme of the Secretariat to concentrate on those tasks which we

see relevant to the current situation which address the problems we feel are paramount at the present time, and I think this relates to all the committees of the Committee on Commodity Problems. We know the various intergovernmental groups and their relevance, which of course varies with the interest from country to country but that they can address these problems of trade in a very meaningful way if they focus their activities on issues that are of crucial importance at the time, and we feel that the work done of servicing those committees by the Commodities Division is one of the most relevant parts of the activities of organization.

Victor HJORT (Denmark): On this agenda item, the report of the Fifty-fifth session of the Committee on Commodity Problems, the Danish delegation has the following view. But before stating that, I expect that a particular EEC view will be mentioned by some other delegation. It took the Committee at times long and difficult debate to adopt this report. But thanks to the patience and flexibility of the Chairman of the Committee it was possible to conclude the debate on this report which is now submitted to the Council for decision.

The Danish delegation is satisfied with a number of amendments made to the report and has pleasure in recommending that the Council adopts the report of the Fifty-fifth session of the Committee on Commodity Problems.

Ronald F. R. DEARE (United Kingdom): I wish to make one comment, one of form rather than of substance, on behalf of the Member States of the European Community. We of course wish to be as constructive as possible at this stage in our proceedings, and therefore I have no intention of reopening the long debate that took place a week or so ago in this Committee. But we do wish to record our view that the formulation which has been used in paragraph 57 of the Committee's report, namely that the Committee "... with the exception of the EEC member countries, reiterated its dismay" etc, is not acceptable as a precedent for future occasions where a major group of member countries, not necessarily only the European Community but any major group countries, does not support a conclusion reached by the majority. In such circumstances we do not accept that that conclusion can or should be attributed to the Committee in question.

As I have said, I intervened at this point without any wish to reopen the debace; I do not think this is the time and place. My purpose is simply to inform this Council that these are the views of the Member States of the European Community which will be pursued further in appropriate fora.

Gonzalo BULA HOYOS (Colombia): La Delegación de Colombia agradece a nuestro colega y amigo Musharraf, de Pakistán, su presentación de este tema y la manera como presidió el Comité.

Estamos igualmente de acuerdo con nuestro colega Gregory, de Australia, sobre la declaración del Director General que aparece como Anexo a este documento, declaración que fue valiosa y de gran contenido y que forma excepcional registró la presencia del Director General, circunstancia ésta y otras que llevaron al colega de Nueva Zelandia en ese Comité a decir que esa reunión del CPPB era una ocasión histórica, y en verdad creemos que por primera vez hubo general consenso entre las delegaciones para adoptar posiciones firmes y muy constructivas.

Limitaremos nuestra declaración a algunos párrafos cuyos contenidos creemos que podrían reflejarse en el Informe. El párrafo 16 que hace referencia a que deben evitarse, a que se detengan y eliminen las subvenciones a las exportaciones y otras prácticas análogas, las medidas proteccionistas; y en ese párrafo se consideran igualmente los efectos perjudiciales que todo ello tiene para los principales países exportadores, en particular para los países en desarrollo.

A la mitad del párrafo 17 aparece la declaración de algunas delegaciones en relación con la actitud del más grande importador de café, café, repetimos. Quisiéramos que el Consejo recogiera ese llamado de las delegaciones que se ocuparon del café y que haga una solicitud al más grande importador para que rectifique esa actitud frente a la Organización Internacional del Café y siga cooperando con nosotros ya que el café es un renglón de exportación muy importante para muchos países en desarrollo.

Apoyamos los párrafos 49 y 50, párrafos que fueron adoptados en general por los miembros del Comité, y en los cuales hay importantes referencias a la liberalización del comercio agrícola que debe recibir atención prioritaria en las próximas negociaciones comerciales del GATT, y también a la necesidad de que se mejore el acceso a los mercados para las exportaciones de los países en desarrollo.

En el párrafo 50 también se contienen elementos muy importantes que ojalá puedan ser transcriptos en nuestro Informe. En el párrafo 61 está la referencia al Grupo Intergubernamental sobre el Banano. Lamentamos que de nuevo el más grande importador sea otra vez el mismo país que ha bloqueado esas actividades, y apoyamos la recomendación de que el Grupo de Trabajo pueda reunirse, en la fecha más conveniente, en 1986, siempre con la esperanza de que ese grande y amigo país importador pueda cambiar de actitud, y ayudarnos a avanzar hacia la obtención de un acuerdo internacional sobre el banano.

En el párrafo 83, creemos que hay elementos que deben ser incluidos en el Informe. Deseamos que después de la experiencia lánguida de la Rueda de Tokio, que ahora esta nueva Rueda del 86 no se limite, para citar solamente el caso más reciente, a que algunos grupos de países desarrollados hablen de espaguetis, limones y nueces, repetimos espaquetis, limones y nueces que es lo que ha estado de moda el fin de semana, sino que en realidad se tengan prioritariamente en cuenta los intereses de los países en desarrollo.

En el párrafo 85, se hace un llamado unánime por parte del Comité en relacion con el FIDA. Este es un llamado inocente, seguramente un llamado de ultratumba porque el FIDA muere lentamente en el EUR, muy lejos de nosotros; pero en fin cumplamos con reiterar ese llamado.

En el párrafo 87, creo que el Consejo debe señalar un hecho grave como es el que después de seis años de esperanzas en torno a la rectificación del Fondo Común, ahora un importante país, siempre los Estados Unidos, ha dicho que no va a ratificar ese Fondo. Esto, naturalmente, termina, aniquila, elimina toda esperanza que habíamos acariciado durante seis años. En el párrafo 87 consta la declaración del Representante de ese país en la cual dice que es firme en esa decisión. Sin embargo, podíamos hacer un nuevo intento y pedir a ese país que rectifique esa decisión.

Finalmente, Señor Presidente, queremos apoyar la importante tarea que viene cumpliendo la Dirección de Productos Básicos y Comercio, bajo la competente dirección del Sr. Dutia.

José Ramón LOPEZ PORTILLO ROMANO (México): Deseamos expresar, en primer lugar, agradecimiento al Presidente del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos por su excelente labor y el magnífico resumen que ha hecho de nuestros trabajos y del Informe que se presenta a este Consejo.

La Delegación de México aprueba el Informe del 55° Período de Sesiones de dicho Comité, y al hacerlo deseamos subrayar, como lo ha hecho el distinguido delegado de Colombia, los diversos párrafos que son de nuestro interés y los cuales no voy a repetir. Pero sobre ello, Sr. Presidente, mi delegación hace la siguiente declaración. La crisis económica mundial por la que atraviesan tantos países en desarrollo como desarrollados, se ha caracterizado por presiones proteccionistas en aumento, tensiones y conflictos en el campo de las relaciones comerciales internacionales cada vez más deterioradas. La crisis del sistema comercial internacional amenaza no sólo con agravar la situación de la economía sino también con obstaculirizar su recuperacíon. Aún más, el crecimiento negativo tan sólo lento, y creciente desempleo, además de afectar al nivel del comercio se ha traducido en un descenso de las exportaciones mundiales que ha dado lugar a la proliferación de barreras comerciales y técnicas que dificultan el comercio.

Ante esta situación, señor Presidente, el comercio de los productos básicos en la esfera mundial y sus perspectivas a corto plazo, se presentan desfavorables a un gran número de países en desarrollo, originado principalmente en la baja creciente en los precios de exportación, reflejo a su vez de la abundante oferta de la mayor parte de los productos básicos, y materias primas agrícolas y las fuertes presiones que el servicio de la deuda exterior representa para dichos países.

La falta de una política racional del comercio resulta cada vez más urgente ante los actuales excesos de oferta vinculada a la falta de un crecimiento adecuado a la demanda.

A pesar de que America Latina en conjunto ha aumentado su producto de exportación agrícola, sus ingresos de divisas por ese concepto se han visto afectados debido sobre todo a la inestabilidad del mercado internacional. En los últimos diez años, el precio de los productos básicos ha tenido tasas decrecientes. Esta situación se ve agravada por el elevado proteccionismo de los mercados del mundo desarrollado ya que impide la participación de los productos latinoamericanos, y por supuesto de otras regiones. En los países de la Comunidad Económica Europea y en Estados Unidos se han adoptado políticas de subsidio interno a sus productos, lo cual mantiene elevada su producción de alimentos. Esta política ha generado distorsiones en el orden internacional al anular las ventajas comparativas de los productos del mundo en desarrollo y al propiciar la baja de los precios internacionales. Se considera que esas políticas son perjudiciales para todos los países productores en general, y especialmente para aquellos que no disponen de las medidas económicas para enfrentar esta competencia. Otro efecto provocado por esa situación es el de la transformación de las estructuras de producción agrícola tradicional, cuestión que no se ve adecuadamente reflejada en nuestro Informe. Los países en desarrollo o en aras de un mayor ingreso por concepto de exportación, han impulsado una agricultura comercial que en la mayoría de los casos deteriora su producción agrícola y aumenta el déficit alimentario. En algunos países de Africa y de América Latina, por ejemplo, se puede advertir esta problemática.

Ante esta situación, señor Presidente, este Consejo debería impulsar las medidas propuestas por los países en desarrollo en la UNCTAD, en el Fondo Monetario Internacional, tendentes a disminuir los efectos negativos de las fluctuaciones de los precios de los productos básicos en general y de los cereales en particular. Me refiero en forma específica a los cereales secundarios.

La delegación mexicana exhorta pues a todos los países a que participen activamente en la aplicación de los objetivos señalados en las resoluciones 93. 4, 107. 4, 5 y 156 de la UNCTAD tendentes al establecimiento de convenios internacionales con cláusulas económicas que regulen el mercado internacional de los productos básicos. Asimismo, destacamos la importancia de poner en marcha lo más pronto posible el convenio constitutivo del Fondo Común como un medio eficaz para alcanzar la estabilización de los precios de los productos básicos, y la inclusión de medidas económicas. En ese sentido, exhortamos al país que fundamentalmente se ha resistido a apoyar este Fondo a que rectifique su actitud como lo mencionaba el delegado de Colombia. Señalamos que ante la impostergable necesidad de atender los problemas de desarrollo interno y fortalecer la capacidad de los países en desarroilo para hacer frente a sus compromisos externos, resulta indispensable orientar las estrategias hacia el crecimiento económico. El crecimiento debe ser ahora premisa fundamental en la superación de los problemas por los que atraviesan los países en desarrollo. En este contexto, resulta vital que se respeten las normas del comercio internacional y se fortalezcan los términos del intercambio de países en desarrollo.

Finalmente, señor Presidente, deseamos aprobar como lo han hecho otras delegaciones, el conjunto de estudios que se han pedido a la Secretaría; entre otros, deseo destacar lo relativo a cómo afecta el proteccionismo al comercio y la producción de productos básicos, por tanto a la seguridad alimentaria, y también el estudio relativo a las corporaciones transnacionales ligadas a productos básicos que afectan, o por lo menos intervienen en los procesos de seguridad alimentaria. En ese sentido, la Secretaría nos ha subrayado que el próximo año podría estar listo tal estudio, y reiteramos nuestro interés en que se presente a la brevedad.

K. N. ARDHANAREESWARAN (India): At the outset we would like to place on record the valuable services rendered by the Chairman of the Committee on Commodity Problems. The delegate from Pakistan had done excellent work and we would like to congratulate him for the excellent report which he has produced.

Coming to the report, we would like to note that the world trade in merchandise increased over 9 percent whereas the agricultural commodities was only of the order of 2. 9 percent. In the seventies the increase was of the order of 4. 1 percent. This is a trend which does not promise anything substantial for the future. We would like this trend to be reversed and remedial action should be taken to check this trend.

With regard to commodity prices, we find that these are declining. Terms of trade are against developing countries. This is largely because there has been a wide fluctuation in demand and supply. An attempt should be made to stabilize world trade and also to ensure that the developing countries get reasonable prices for the primary commodities they are exporting.

In the seventies the slogan was "export or perish; "now the slogan has become "export and perish". We would like that this trend should be arrested and the developing countries should be paid reasonable prices for the commodities they are exporting.

With regard to food security we would like that the trade option which has limited scope should be considered in the proper perspective. Because of fluctuations in demand and supply it would be advisable for the developing countries to depend on self reliance. So the attempt should be to increase the food production in the developing countries so that they can have a reasonable food security system.

I would like to refer to the tendency towards protectionism. As the Director-General rightly pointed out in his remarks to the Commitee it appears that the world is on the brink of a trade war. The trade barriers are going up and it appears that protectionism is gaining ground. It is necessary that GATT negotiations are taken up with speed and that we arrive at a reasonable settlement.

With regard to the commodities, we note that the promises made by the developed countries have not been fulfilled and it is necessary that these promises are fulfilled before the negotiations proceed further.

We are of the view that services should not be included in the GATT Committee on Agriculture. It should continue its negotiations and we hope that the Committee would arrive at solutions which are acceptable to all concerned.

With regard to commodities, we are actively concerned with the present jute prices. Because of abundant production, jute prices have crashed and farmers in India are being put to serious difficulty. There is distress as well all over the States of West Bengal and Bihar, and we are making efforts towards stabilizing prices. The Jute Cooperation of India is taking up price support operations. However, we find it is not adequate and the jute farmers are being put to serious financial loss as well as difficulties. We note that attempts are being made to stabilize international market prices. We would also strongly urge that competition between jute and synthetic fibres should be eliminated. I understand that FAO is taking up a study of the subject: we look forward to the report, and we are anxious that a reasonable solution should be found to this problem.

We are also concerned about present prices with regard to tea. We note with regret that international negotiation on a tea agreement has failed. This has put tea producers in a quandary, and we hope that some solution will be found so that the tea producers will not be put to serious hardship. I would like to report that a group of tea producers have already formed themselves into an association to prevent the export of low quality tea entering the market. We hope that the quality control measures taken by us will ensure the exportation of tea meeting requisite specifications and standards and that it may be possible for us to get reasonable prices for our tea exports.

With regard to the Common Fund, we note with regret that this has not come into existence. We are told that the reason for this is that the largest contributor has not agreed to contribute. We hope that some solution will be found to this problem and that the Common Fund will be set up at the earliest possible moment.

We fully support the Commodities Programme. We wish this Programme to continue, and we express full support of the aims of the Programme.

José Manuel WATSON (Panama): La delegación de Panamá participó en el último período de sesiones del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos (CPPB), que finalizó hace nueve días. Igualmente participó en el Comité de Redacción de ese período de sesiones. Realmente creemos que el desenvolvimiento de las sesiones de ese último período de sesiones del CPPB fue realmente positivo excepto en la situación que se planteó durante la última Sesión Plenaria, al momento de la adopción del Informe final. Y esta situación que consideramos negativa, fue realmente planteada por una sola delegación, existiendo entre todas las otras delegaciones presentes amplio consenso en cuanto al contenido del Informe. La delegación de Panamá aprueba el contenido de ese Informe del 55° Período de Sesiones del CPPB. Y lo aprueba por las siguientes razones.

Primero, por las consideraciones formuladas en la Parte II, III y IV, en las cuales se establece una interna relación entre la actual situación de las deudas externas de nuestros países con el proteccionismo en general y el comercio agrícola en particular. Se señala que debido a esa situación, los problemas de los países en vías de desarrollo se han agravado por el fuerte endeudamiento externo, los altos tipos de interés, la inestabilidad monetaria y la escasez de créditos, unido todo esto a los descensos reales de los precios de exportación de los productos básicos que comprometen gravemente la atención al servicio de la deuda.

Así, el contenido del Informe confirma que la deuda de los países en desarrollo sigue aumentando y los servicios a la misma, representan al final del 85, alrededor del 23 por ciento de sus ingresos de exportaciones y en el caso de América Latina y el Caribe un promedio aproximadamente del 47 por ciento. Destacándose igualmente, y en esto insistió e insiste esta delegación, por dramáticas situaciones propias que se habían producido por primera vez en 1984 en una transferencia neta de recursos de los países en desarrollo hacia el exterior, especialmente hacia los países desarrollados.

Igualmente destaca esta parte del documento la situación que existe entre los precios en dólares de alimentos, como cereales y la carne, los cuales han seguido bajando en los mercados internacionales, así como el patético caso del azúcar morena o no refinada, cuyos precios en el denominado mercado libre ha descendido a los más bajos del presente siglo.

Esto y otras situaciones hizo que el CPPB expresara en su último Informe su desaliento por la situación actual del mercado de productos básicos y las perspectivas a corto plazo, ya que la misma se viene a considerar desfavorable.

Por otra parte, nuestro apoyo al Informe se basa en los señalamientos oportunos y convenientes que se hace no sólo sobre el examen de las actividades de los grupos intergubernamentales, sino sobre las perspectivas futuras que los mismos deben de tener, las cuales se basan tanto en los propios mandatos de estos grupos intergubernamentales, como en la función prevista por el CPPB que, conforme el Artículo 24 del Reglamento General de esta Organización, y en su párrafo sexto, se establece que este Comité debe mantener el examen de los problemas de carácter internacional que afecten a la producción, el comercio, la distribución y consumo de los productos básicos, así como las cuestiones económicas relativas con estos problemas.

Apoyamos lo expresado por Australia, Colombia y México.

Por estas razones, Sr. Presidente, la delegación de Panamá expresa su apoyo al Informe del 55° período de sesiones del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos de la FAO.

Amin ABDEL-MALEK (Liban) (langue originale arabe): La délégation du Liban voudrait saisir cette occasion pour remercier M. Musharraf, Président du Comité des produits, pour la présentation du rapport de la cinquante-cinquième session du Comité des produits, tenue à Rome du 21 au 25 octobre 1985. Je voudrais également le remercier pour avoir réussi à présenter un rapport aussi clair: Nous sommes d'accord avec le contenu de ce rapport et notamment avec les paragraphes 49 et 50 relatifs à la libéralisation du commerce en matière agricole et de la liberté d'accès des produits agricoles des pays en développement vers les pays développés. Nous sommes également d'accord sur l'exhortation faite dans ce rapport aux pays développés en vue de limiter, et si possible d'éliminer toutes les barrières commerciales face aux exportations des pays en développement pour les aider à augmenter leur production et à réaliser leur autosuffisance alimentaire. Ma délégation est également d'accord sur la proposition qui a été faite par les délégués de Panama, de la Colombie, du Mexique et de l'Australie à ce sujet.

Jacobo C. CLAVE (Philippines): Mr Chairman, welcome to the meeting. Mr Chairman, the Director-General, my distinguished colleagues: today, instead of congratulating the officers of the Council in accordance with practice, permit me to congratulate all of us, for the patience and diligence which we have demonstrated, not only today, but also in the past.

The Philippines was a member of the drafting group which produced this report. It is, therefore, my duty to endorse the report. I endorse it, with the observation that the report is the best that the group could produce under the existing political environment that we find ourselves in.

I had hoped that the report would truly reflect the concern and sentiment of the Committee. I had wished that the remarks of the Director-General would be quoted in the report. I find the speech of the Director-General compelling, particularly paragraph 4, thereof where he underscored the crisis that was developing on agricultural commodities as the reason for his appearance before the Committee, and paragraph 14 where he said that conditions in the commodity trade business have not improved.

I suggest, if it is still possible, that this Council do something about the matter, perhaps mention in a nutshell in the Council's own Report the concern of the Director-General, maybe in the preamble to the first part of the Report, -and I am turning to page 1, paragraph 3.

My delegation would be pleased if this could be done. It feels that the remarks of the Director-General should not be consigned to the Appendix of the Report. That paragraphs 4 and 14 of the Director-General's remarks be quoted in the report or a paraphrase for the benefit of the Conference is the desire of my delegation.

I have said that I am endorsing the Report as a member of the Committee on Commodity Problems.

I was prompted to take the floor, Sr, to bring up an experience of my delegation in the Committeee.

What disturbs me is the fact that, if my fellow delegates will go over the Report, they will find phrases such as "the Committee agreed", "some delegates made the following observations", "many delegates made the following observations". And I wish to refer particularly to paragraph 49 on page 11 of the Report. It says "A large majority of delegates... ". There was a protracted debate in the Committee on what this term means.

My own view is-where a large majority of the members of an FAO body-this Council or any other superior or subsidiary body-have expressed their opinion in favour of a measure or proposal, then there is a majority opinion and should be respected as such. I am aware that this Organization has adopted consensus-albeit informally-as a mode of decision-making. My country welcomes the development. But my delegation believes that consensus should be defined and that its uses, as against the majority-vote-rule provided in the Constitution and the Rules, be delimited.

My country is disturbed by the fact that consensus as now practised has created a situation where the opinion of a large majority or a majority is not taken into consideration as the expression of a Committee's sentiments, and the failure to reach a consensus becomes a negative vote that prevails over the majority view. I am afraid that if this continues or if this is allowed to continue, we have the veto power in the making. I sense the encroachment of a veto power in the councils of the Organization.

I am alarmed by this. I believe that, although we have adopted consensus as a decision-making method, we are not ready to disregard the majority-vote-rule. Under our Constitution and the Rules, voting is formally recognized as the mode of decision-making. Nothing is mentioned in these documents about consensus.

Yes, it is for this very important reason, that I have taken the floor: to raise the problem arising from the use of consensus. I wish to invite my fellow delegates and this Council to ponder the danger of the vote of one party depriving the vote of many the weight of a majority view.

I am also proposing that after the debates on important issues before the Council, and other subsidiary organs of the Organization, a summary of conclusions expressing the sense of the Council be made. This summary would be useful in guiding the drafting committees.

I wish to repeat that I took the floor to raise the alarm concerning the coming in of the veto power into the processes in our Organization through consensus.

Consensus has proved useful. I hope it does not, however, grow into a power to overrun a majority view.

Henry Arfang SENGHOR (Sénégal): Je voudrais vous remercier d'avoir bien voulu me donner la parole et je voudrais profiter de cette occasion pour vous dire la joie que j'éprouve à vous retrouver ici à la FAO présidant cette quatre-vingt huitième session de notre Conseil avec la souplesse et la rigueur que tous les membres du Comité des produits vous reconnaissent.

Je tiens à remercier l'Ambassadeur du Mexique ainsi que le délégué de la France et le délégué de l'Inde et tous les membres du Conseil pour la confiance qu'il m'ont témoignée en m'élisant à l'un des postes de vice-présidents:

Je ressens ce choix comme un honneur particulier fait à mon pays. J'essaierai dans la mesure de mes possibilités d'apporter une contribution positive au cours des travaux de ce Conseil.

S'agissant du document CL 88|6 que nous examinons, "Rapport de la cinquante-cinquième session des produits", je remercie son Président M. Musharraf d'avoir pu présenter un rapport clair et de qualité; Au nom de ma délégation je demande l'adoption de ce rapport qui constitue un compromis dynamique réalisé par un comité de rédaction compétent et je tiens à louer les qualités de ce travail qui a été effectué par les membres du Comité et par son Président.

Je tiens également à souligner l'intérêt particulier que nous accordons à la libération des charges par une suppression progressive du protectionnisme tel qu'il est noté dans le paragraphe 16 du rapport. Je voudrais également, au nom de mon pays, rejoindre les autres délégations qui m'ont précédé et dire notre inquiétude devant la croissance de cette dette et des services de cette dette dont il est fait mention dans le paragraphe 16; je voudrais lancer un appel pour que les apports traditionnels de stabilisation tels que le sucre, le café et le thé, ainsi que les nouveaux accords en cours de négociation soient mieux appuyés par tous les pays développés. Je tiens à insister pour que ces opérations triangulaires soient multipliées pour permettre aux pays à déficit alimen-tiare d'avoir facilement accès aux produits nécessaires et à ceux excédentaires d'avoir également des débouchés pour leurs produits grâce à de plus grandes facilités accordées aux pays en voie développement. Je voudrais conclure en demandant qu'on puisse aider le FIDA qui est moribond et que nous pouvons contribuer à remettre sur les rails et dire également l'espoir que nous fondons pour que le fonds commun puisse être de nouveau reconstitué.

Leopoldo ARIZA HIDALGO (Cuba): Queremos primeramente felicitar al Sr. Musharraf, Presidente del Comité de Productos Básicos, felicitarlo doblemente por la presentación de este informe muy objetivo, muy claro, muy preciso y por su paciencia en la discusión. Creo que fue un Presidente muy paciente y logró el objetivo de que la discusión fuese buena. Yo no considero que la discusión fuera mala;

discrepo de los que creen que discutir es malo, yo creo que discutir en una forma correcta, respetando criterios y expresando con claridad lo que cada uno piensa es parte de la función fundamental de estos Organismos; en ningún momento podemos sentirnos mal cuando discutimos.

Creo que fue un Comité muy discutido y creo que todos debemos saber porqué fue muy discutido, sencillamente porque se estaba hablando de situaciones gravísimas por las que está atravesando la humanidad; luego, entonces, si no discutimos nosotros somos cómplices o, impávidamente, vamos a ver cómo aparecen los obstáculos y no tratamos de buscar solución. Creo que el Comité fue un gran Comité porque la discusión fue buena. ¿Que hubo discrepancias?, es normal que haya discrepancias en el seno de un Comité donde la situación de la distribución no es totalmente pareja. No tengo ningún tipo de preocupación porque haya sido la discusión en esta forma.

Creo que ese informe debe ser aprobado en todas sus partes como ha sido presentado, como ha sido propuesto por Colombia, México, Panamá, Australia e inclusive la distinguida representación de Senegal; en estos momentos hay una exposición muy interesante y nosotros creemos que a pesar de los párrafos que han propuesto las delegaciones que nos ha precedido en el uso de la palabra, a nosotros nos interesa que aparezca con bastante relevo la situación del párrafo 13, la última parte que fue citada por Panamá, porque consideramos que es el núcleo fundamental de la situación grave que atraviesan los productos básicos agrícolas; o sea, hablando de nuestro foro, de nuestra situación agrícola alimentaria, son los problemas económicos, su agravamiento en la medida que el endeudamiento externo no se ha resuelto, altos tipos de interés, la inestabilidad monetaria, la escasez de crédito junto con el descenso de los precios que imposibilita exportar nuestros productos básicos, que, como dice el párrafo 13, comprometen seriamente la capacidad para atender el servicio de la deuda y si no pagamos esto ¿cuándo pagamos el capital?, ¿hasta dónde va esto? Es una discusión larga en la que no queremos caer, pero sí queremos señalar que en este Comité muchos delegados expresaron que esta situación es, a nuestro juicio, el centro de todos estos problemas.

Conjuntamente, Señor Presidente, nos parece que es necesario que se reafirme aquí, además de la discusión sobre algunos principios, que se destacó también la necesidad de la discusión de convenios, de llegar al final de los convenios de productos básicos vigentes que contienen disposiciones relativas a la estabilización de los precios y es necesario reafirmarnos: queremos también ratificar el párrafo 88 especialmente en lo que se lamenta de que no se llegue a consenso respecto a la reanudación de negociaciones relativas a convenios internacionales tan importantes como el del trigo, café y azúcar, que está atravesando uno de los momentos más difíciles de la historia en cuanto a precios.

Para terminar, queremos expresar que sí, que creemos que debemos preocuparnos; seríamos insensibles si no nos preocupáramos, por la acentuada y alarmante situación de los productos agrícolas, los precios de nuestros productos agrícolas; en este marco creemos que todo esto, los precios agrícolas en el mundo comercial es el eslabón más débil de la cadena económica, y la incidencia de los bajos precios agrícolas afecta fundamentalmente a uno de los problemas fundamentales de esta Organización, que es la seguridad alimentaria. No puede haber agricultura con la situación agrícola que estamos atravesando y no hay situación buena agrícola mientras la situación económica siga tan tensa.

Nosotros creemos que el Director General en su párrafo 4 hizo una exposición muy importante de que la situación hoy es inquietante por sus dimensiones; dimensiones que nosotros creemos sinceramente no tienen solución solicitando un párrafo u otro, flexibilizando un párrafo o no, creo que ese no es el juego parlamentario que debemos hacer aquí, tratar de flexibilizar un párrafo o de endurecer un párrafo, ese no es el juego; el juego sería entrar en una discusión profunda que nos permita llegar a algo firme. En ese sentido oímos hablar de guerra comercial, oímos hablar de proteccionismo in crescendo; nosotros, modestamente, decimos que son hijos legítimos del orden económico injusto que existe, que no garantiza, y las Naciones Unidas tienen establecidos los mecanismos para avanzar en la estructuración de un nuevo orden económico que consideramos que será, en definitiva, el que resuelva de una sola vez estos problemas que no tienen solución con más o menos párrafos.

Ratificamos nuestra aprobación total a este informe; creemos que es un gran informe de una gran discusión.

K. M. EJAZUL HUQ (Bangladesh): In his Statement the Director-General very accurately painted the scenario that obtains in terms of crisis in international trade. He also underscored how controversial and how difficult the problem is due to divergent interests, but the Bangladesh delegation is very happy that this very difficult subject has been steered very skilfully by the Chairman of the session, Mr Javed Musharraf. It is my great pleasure to congratulate him for this excellent performance.

A number of distinguished delegates have addressed the issues contained in this report. The delegation of Bangladesh also participated in the fifty-fifth session of the CCP and therefore, it gives me the opportunity of being very brief. There are so many different dimensions of the links between international trade and food security, but I shall touch upon only two.

The effect of price on the food demand is essentially a function of the incomes of farmers in the developing countries from cash crops which are traded domestically and internationally. A little over 20 years ago, my own country was able to pay for its imports and debt servicing entirely from the export of jute. Today it does not pay even for 30 percent of its import bills and debt servicing. Several other agricultural commodities have been mentioned in paragraph 10.

My second point is that developing country exporters of agricultural products seem to be at the mercy of the whims of dominant nations. Fluctuations drive the poor farmers to the point of despair in their decisions on resource allocation. Jute prices were good last year, but have crashed this year. The distinguished delegate from India touched upon this. The Government of Bangladesh is taking all possible measures to protect the jute farmers, but the protection that a government can provide as an interim or emergency measure is very limited in scope and opportunity. The point is that commodities like jute, tea, coffee, cocoa, bananas, etc., which are produced and traded by a large number of developing countries, must have stable international markets. I think the time indeed has come for all the nations to realize that a consistent, and rational international trade serves the enlightened self interest of all countries.

The Common Fund still remains in a pre-natal stage, although the time is up. It should be brought into operation. We strongly urge those countries who have not already joined, to join and support it in every possible way, because this is going to strengthen, or it may even realize, the wish of so many countries to pursue a policy of enlightened self-interest which essentially is the collective interest of all nations.

The Committee on Commodity Problems and its Inter-Governmental Groups have served a very useful function. At this juncture, the crisis in international trade coumpounded by protectionism is deepening. I think that the Committee and its Inter-Governemental Groups should be strengthened to increase their analytical power, in order to supply all nations with analyses and information, both of which are in dire need. The proposed study should be carried out. The study should take into account the various delicate linkages between trade, food production, food security, income, poverty alleviation, nutritional aspects, and so on.

Octavio Rainho da SILVA NEVES (Brazil): First of all, I would like to express our thanks to the Chairman on Commodity Problems for the way in which he guided the work of the Committee. As a member of that Committee, the Brazilian Delegation would like to confirm its full support for the report. I will briefly refer to that part of the report which deals with the present and future world commodity situation.

The Committee clearly recognized the unsatisfactory situation of commodity trade in 1984 and especially in 1985, characterized by the decline in export prices of many agricultural commodities, and limited access to the markets of the industrialized countries. We fully endorse the view confirmed by the Committee that the key to the improvement in the agricultural trading system is trade liberalization through the progressive elimination of export subsidies and other similar practices, as well as protectionist measures which curb the access of developing countries to

international markets. The creation of favourable trading conditions is the only way to improve the economic situation of developing countries in their exports of commodities, to enable them to increase their foreign exchange earnings and to permit many of them to try to service their external debt.

My delegation wishes to express its concern with the fact that multilateral cooperation has made little progress, if any, with regard to international actions that can improve agricultural trade. This is an increasingly important question. The 1982 GATT Programme of Work has not been completed. negotiations on international commodity agreements are facing serious problems, and the coming into force of the Common Fund is threatened by lack of political will on the part of the major developed countries. We associate ourselves with the views expressed previously by the representatives of many countries who have spoken earlier-with Austria, Senegal and Panama, for instance; with the Representative of Colombia on coffee; with the Representative of Mexico on commodity agreements; with the Representative of India on the important fact that the next round of trade negotiations in GATT be concerned exclusively with trade matters and not with servicing.

Finally, as this matter has been so ably referred to by the Representative of the Philippines, and others, I would just like to put on record that our view is that the expression of the Committee is an acceptable way of expressing the view of a large majority, or even of just a legal majority. We also agree with the views of the Representative of the Philippines that if consensus is a very desirable way of coming to a decision, on the other hand it is also desirable that we may have the chance when the occasion arises to express the view of a large majority as the view of the Committee, or as the view of some other body of opinion.

Ajmal Mahmood QURESHI (Pakistan): Mr Chairman, allow me to say how pleased we are to see you once again chairing our deliberations. We also wish to thank Mr Musharraf for his excellent presentation of the report bearing on the fifty-fifth session of the Committee on Commodity Problems.

It is, indeed, disconcerting to observe the continuing declining trend in world trade in agricultural commodities. The terms of trade generally militate against the efforts of the developing countries to improve their worsening situation. Against the backdrop of the worst recession to have occurred in fifty years, the economic conditions of developing countries have deteriorated. High interest rates, intractible debt burdens and reduced export earnings have adversely affected their ability to improve their overall economic conditions and to raise their level of nutrition and food security. The sharp decline in export prices of most agricultural products impedes all the initiatives of the developing countries to raise food and agricultural production. There is a crying need to arrest this trend and to introduce some order and stability in the international commodity market.

The other matter of great concern to all of us present here is the rising trend of protectionism. This was graphically depicted by the Director-General in his celebrated statement on the occasion of the fifty-fifth session of the Committee on Commodity Problems, and his message that declining prices of agricultural commodities and mounting protectionism had brought the world to the brink of a trade war will reverberate around the world. This situation is no doubt critical, and we are grateful to this Committee which has underlined the dangers of the rising tide of protectionism of agricultural commodities and agricultural products.

Of serious concern to my country is the low price of raw cotton, and also the restraints on imports of textiles and clothing from developing countries. We also welcome the deliberations of the Committee on the broad issue of linkages between food security and international trade. We take note of the demands for liberalization of trade, including trade in agricultural commodities and agricultural products. We hope that the negotiations in the GATT Committee on Trade and Agriculture will find a satisfactory solution to this most urgent problem, of great concern to most of the developing countries. My delegation wholeheartedly endorses the conclusions and recommendations and future commodity programme contained in this report.

Ismael DIAZ YUBERO (España): Quiero expresarle primeramente la satisfacción que nos produce verle de nuevo presidiendo nuestras reuniones. Quiero apoyar el Informe y felicitar al Presidente del Comité por su bien hacer y su paciencia, y además por la exposición resumida que ha hecho en el día de hoy, del 55° período de sesiones del Comité de Problemas de Productos Básicos.

Es evidente que el Informe es inquietante; no es ni puede ser optimista. El GATT y el FIDA con aludidos en el Informe como organismos que deben ser potenciados. La deuda externa, el proteccionismo, la caída de precios, la falta de acuerdo en algunos productos básicos exigen un esfuerzo y una voluntad de entendimiento que todos deseamos que cada vez se desarrolle más por todos los países.

Quiero hacer una pequeña referencia a la intervención de un delegado sobre su apreciación del consenso. Es cierto que no estoy de acuerdo con su concepto sobre este término, pero esto no tiene demasiada importancia. Lo que nos preocupa es que la posición de cada uno, y en definitiva de las minorías, sea respetada y se permita que sea expuesta verbalmente o por escrito siempre que esa minoría lo considere necesario. En resumen, señor Presidente, apoyamos y deseamos vivamente que este Informe merezca la aprobación de este Consejo.

R. Mohammad BAHRAM (Afghanistan): The delegation of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan highly appreciates the work done by the Committee on Commodity Problems. We support the recommendations delivered by this Committee. We strongly share the views expressed by the delegate of Cuba, particularly regarding the International Economic Order. We believe that through this new Economic Order the problems mentioned in this report will be solved effectively and social economic justice will be restored in the developing countries and the food insecurity problem will finally be resolved. Many resolutions have been made in this regard, but now is the time that practical action should be taken. Finally, the delegation of Afghanistan supports all the recommendations in this regard but particularly asks for the new Economic Order.

Jacques POSIER (France): Je voudrais simplement dire quelques mots sur les conditions dans lesquelles le rapport qui nous est soumis a été discuté à la fin de la dernière session du Comité du Programme. Dans les dernières heures de ces discussions, le décompte des délégués présents a été fait et il a été constaté que le quorum n'était pas atteint. Je ne fais pas cette remarque dans un esprit négatif, dans un esprit de contestation, je la fais simplement parce que jusqu'à présent ce fait n'a pas été mentionné et parce que je pense qu'il était nécessaire qu'il le fût. Sur ce point, c'est tout ce que j'avais à dire et je pense que je devais le dire.

D'autre part, je voudrais reprendre certains propos, certaines thèses qui viennent d'être exposées concernant certaines notions du consensus. Je ne vais pas développer ce thème parce que je pense que ce n'est pas le moment, mais la délégation française se réserve de le faire dans d'autres circonstances. Je veux néanmoins dès à présent dire que nous avons une conception complètement différente de celle qui a été exposée en ce qui concerne le consensus. Je veux dire que la délégation française considère qu'une minorité a toujours le droit, je dirais même le devoir, de s'exprimer et qu'il doit être tenu compte de l'expression des minorités dans les rapports.

Joachim WINKEL (Germany, Federal Republic of): I would like to thank the Committee and its Chairman for the work they have done. On the other hand, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that my delegation received document CL 88/6 only today. That is why we could not yet examine the document to the necessary extent.

Despite that I would like to underline our reservation, in particular concerning Part IV, precisely (paragraphs 37 to 50), as we are informed by the footnote with regard to paragraph 50 on page 11, no consensus was found on both paragraphs 49 and 50. In our view, Part IV, (paragraphs 37 to 50), should give a more balanced view on the problem of agricultural protectionism as it was underlined by the observer of the EEC in the Committee. We find that in paragraph 30 on page 7.

My country pursues a very liberal trade policy. During the last five years our imports from developing countries increased by about one third. Our foreign trade balance traditionally shows a large deficit in favour of the developing countries.

In this plenary meeting I would like, with your permission, to cite a very interesting aspect which was raised by Pakistan in the discussion of the First Committee of the General Assembly on the procedure of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, which was adopted for our decision-making, and I cite: "Consensus is based on the idea of reconciliation of opposing views with the objective of producing an outcome that has the general support of all". I think we should keep that in mind.

G. H. MUSGROVE (Canada): Mr Chairman, I should like to join those earlier delegates who have welcomed you back to the Council.

I would also like to underline strongly the observations made by a number of earlier delegations about the patient and extremely capable way in which Mr Musharraf guided the deliberations of the Committee on Commodity Problems. He had a most difficult job on his hands and I think he conducted himself with great honour, and I might say not always with the support that most of us from the floor should have given him at various times.

When the discussions began on 21 October in the CCP it was our impression and to our disappointment that there seemed to be some lethargy in the Committee and some lack of positive feelings as to its worth, but I was soon disabused of this feeling of lethargy as the days moved on, and indeed I think we moved on to have a most vigorous, useful and spirited discussion over the three or four days. I certainly support the comments made by Cuba that the discussion was held in excellent spirit, was useful and frank and while there were divergencies of views these were expressed most articulately and in good spirit.

As speakers have indicated, the focus during the week fell very heavily on the issue of protectionism. It did not seem to matter whether we were discussing item II, the world commodity situation, item III, which covered trade and world food security or trade in dairy products, whether we were discussing the intergovernmental groups themselves and the different commodities, whether we were talking about item VII, developments in GATT, or indeed whether we were focussing on item IV, which dealt specifically with protectionism, on all those items delegates expressed their concerns and views about the role of domestic policies in the agriculture and by extension the export subsidies, the levels of protectionism which impacted on trade.

We were one of those countries who joined in this expression of concern and as a country that is very heavily dependent in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector we can vouchsafe that we have first-hand experience of the impact of protectionism on export subsidies and on misguided domestic policies of other countries which seriously harm our interests. We can only appreciate that those same impacts are felt even more severely by those developing countries which depend so heavily on primary exports for their livelihood.

In the Committee we expressed the view that all countries have domestic policies which could be characterised as distorting trade and agriculture and agricultural products. It is of course a longstanding and somewhat futile argument to indicate who is the greatest sinner in this respect and who the least. But we underlined the importance we felt of looking at such policies from the point of view of their impact on the international trading environment.

There are through political necessity domestic policies which some countries manage internally, manage them to such an extent that they do not externalize their problems on the global markets and thus beggar their neighbours and create havoc for those who depend so heavily on those markets for their export earnings. In this respect, we underlined in one or two cases where the Secretariat might pursue the avenue of dealing in trade impact of these policies as opposed to the policies themselves.

We also pointed to the view that trade liberalization is a positive development, one that should be viewed by all countries with equal interest, and we could not help but feel that at some times during the debate there seemed to be differentiation between those countries who it was felt could afford trade liberalization and those who could not. While we sympathize in the short term, the greater interest in the developing world, the greater need of the developing world for market access, certainly in the longer term there must be an equal commitment to freer trade and trade liberalizing actions in the agricultural commodities sphere. We do not wish to engage in a discussion of protests at this time except to say that we share the concerns as to the processes of decision making insofar as it involves consensus and would surely like to participate in whatever forum is gathered to discuss this particular issue.

Finally, we support this report. We do not agree with everything that is in it and that is only logical. We support it and think it is a good one. We would only wish, perhaps, to refer to paragraph 84 which mentions the crisis in multilateralism and we at times share the view that there are crises in multilateralism but we do not feel that it is because of the negative attitudes of groups of countries and would question the use of the suggestion that certain developed countries are negative to multilateral cooperation, and hope it is not a perception that when countries disagree on particular issues those in the minority are deemed to be negative. There are obviously many ways to pursue different thrusts and indicated actions to address perceived problems and where there is disagreement it is not to say those, as some people are negative while others are positive.

Sra Doña Mercedes FERMIN GOMEZ (Venezuela): Comenzaremos por expresar nuestra identificación con aquellos que han manifestado su complacencia por tenerle a usted de nuevo presidiendo este Consejo, la y por laelección que se ha hecho de sus vicepresidentes. Vamos a expresar asimismo nuestro apoyo a los estudios y a la Secretaría que para este Comité de Productos Básicos ha revelado un vez más dedicación y eficacia en sus trabajos, y que por eso podemos estar al día.

En cuanto a la situación que a productos básicos se refiere, debemos expresar nuestra coincidencia por la preocupación expresada por nuestro Director General por su intervención ante ese Comité y por su justificado temor ante una guerra comercial en perspectiva, determinada precisamente por esta situación vinculada a la inseguridad de los mercados mundiales de los productos básicos.

El Comité de Productos Básicos, en el desarrollo de sus discusiones, puso muy en claro cuán grave es la situación de los países productores de productos básicos. Creo que nunca como ahora nosotros hemos podido tener una visión casi patética de cuál va a ser la situación de unos países que se afanan por producir una serie de productos que luego no encuentran cómo poder colocar en los mercados internacionales, siendo que ésa es la única manera para ellos de salir adelante, que es en realidad materia de la supervivencia para muchos de esos países.

Pensamos cuál puede ser la solución que esperan los productores de yute, por ejemplo, en la India y en los otros países frente al avance de la producción de sintéticos cuando ellos no van a encontrar manera de competir con esos productos.

Entonces, tenemos allí una lucha de la tecnología contra los países productores agrícolas. Y cuál va a ser entonces la solución: ¿cambiar rotundamente el producto que hasta ahora, por siglos ha sido su única manera de sobrevivir, o contar con la comprensión de los países industrializados como una manera más de colaborar para la supervivencia de aquellos países?

Ante la situación de hambre que confrontan los países africanos, todo el mundo ha volcado su interés y su mirada hacia esos países y han tratado de colaborar para solventar el problema de su hambre. ¿No será también una manera para los productores de esos productos básicos de no demandarles productos a quienes tienen la mano tendida porque no pueden llegar al siguiente día sin un alimento, pero sí entender que habría que llegar a la liberación de los precios, a la apertura de sus mercados para poder compensar el trabajo de quienes dedican, año tras año todas sus energías y su posibilidad de trabajo, a la producción de productos como el banano, el té, el yute y otras fibras y que no encuentran la posibilidad de colocarlos en el mercado?

Creo que habría que llegar a la situación de que es sólo una toma de conciencia de los países consumidores la que podría llegar a esta manera de entender el problema y no esperar a que llegue el momento del hambre para enviar los alimentos, sino plantearnos el problema antes y no alzar barreras contra estos productos. Porque los países consumidores dicen que no les pertenecen las responsabilidades de esta situación, pero es así como la ven los países productores, ¿de qué otra manera podrían ver los productores de yute o banana la situación del proteccionismo agrícola? Situación que existe, que es una realidad, o la situación de las barreras que se ponen a los productos porque, a decir de los entendidos, en estos países consumidores no tienen la calidad suficiente para ser consumidos. Por eso yo creo que en realidad esto es una guerra no declarada, es una guerra, como se dice en los medios de la publicidad, una guerra subliminal como las pruebas que se han dado por allí pero que la sienten los países y que sólo en foros como éste podríamos llegar a dilucidar el problema para buscar una solución en relación con lo que el delegado de Pakistán ha anunciado, y así lo sentimos todos, es cierto que nosotros no podemos tener ninguna otra esperanza que la esperanza en un nuevo Orden Económico Internacional, pero ¿quién va a imponer ese nuevo Orden Económico Internacional en el consenso de las naciones?. Creo que corresponde a los pequeños países, a los países en vías de desarrollo, tomar conciencia de cuáles serían los medios para poder establecer no una imposición de ese nuevo Orden Económico, sino una comprensión de sus necesidades y poder establecer los medios, los instrumentos por los cuales y en medio de la relación multilateral podamos llegar a él. No se trata de una guerra de vencedores y vencidos, se trata de una discusión profunda sobre cuáles serían las metas y cuáles serían los medios para llegar a ello.

Los altos tipos de interés, la inestabilidad monetaria, el servicio de la deuda, que hoy se presenta como un gigante a vencer o a conquistar por los países productores, precisamente sobre productos básicos, sobre esos productos vitales deberemos discutir en este foro y no pensar que solamente el consenso es lo más importante. Se ha dicho aquí que el consenso es equivalente a la conciliación, pero ¿puede establecerse una conciliación entre un hambriento y un poderoso que tiene los alimentos y se los niega? ¿Cómo podríamos lograrlo? Esa es la situación actual planteada en nuestros países productores de productos básicos, que no tienen acceso a los mercados internacionales y que no tienen una manera de abrir esos mercados como no fuera estableciendo una interre lac ión de estos países para tomar medidas definitivas.

Yo pienso que vamos de década en década sucumbiendo a las ilusiones. En la década de los 70 el señuelo de los países productores fue la exportación. Todos esos países cayeron en la ilusión de que si ellos producían para exportar, ellos iban a resolver el problema. Pusieron todos sus afanes en ese proceso de producir para exportar y ya alguien dijo por allí que ahora era producir para morir. En aquel momento se creyó que la exportación era la solución a la supervivencia de esos países. Ahora tenemos otro señuelo, otra ilusión: el fondo común. ¿Será verdad que el fondo común va a resolver los problemas?¿Quiénes son los que van a cooperar en ese fondo común, quién va a poder dar los medios para que el fondo común funcione? Cuando digo esto tengo muy presente en la mente la situación del FIDA. Nosotros tenemos actualmente un fondo común que está sufriendo precisamente por la falta de cooperación de los países que podrían resolver los problemas; entonces no es cuestión de venir a estos foros, poner toda nuestra mejor voluntad, nuestra sinceridad y nuestro deseo de cooperar en esta obra de acción multilateral. No basta con que aprobemos aquí este Informe, excelente Informe producto del trabajo de muchos días de un Comité de Redacción que lo hizo lo mejor posible; pero si en la conciencia de los dirigentes de esos países que pueden, que tienen el poder económico en sus manos, no se procede a llegar a un acuerdo para lograr un entendimiento, este Informe y todos los informes que nosotros aprobamos, serían letra muerta, como lo han sido los derechos humanos de las Naciones Unidas y como lo han sido otros muchos acuerdos.

Perdonen ustedes mi pesimismo, pero en realidad hemos pasado muchos años entendiendo problemas de esta naturaleza para llegar a la conclusión de que todo era letra muerta. Estoy de acuerdo en que aprobemos el Informe en su totalidad, pero creo que nuestra acción no debe quedarse en eso. La acción debe ir más allá, debe ir a que los países en vías de desarrollo traten de ponerse de acuerdo entre sí para buscar la manera de que seamos nosotros mismos los que contribuyamos a resolver nuestros problemas y no sigamos esperando a que llegue el vecino a que nos ayude a resolver esas cuestiones. Que nosotros podamos de alguna manera poner nuestra inteligencia, nuestra voluntad, ya que no podemos poner nuestro dinero, para encontrar una fórmula para que podamos resolver los problemas.

Excúseme, Sr. Presidente, la emoción que me embarga en estos momentos, pero conozco de cerca la tragedia que viven muchos de esos países productores de materia prima y sabemos que ellos solos no podrán salir adelante en la solución de sus problemas. Nosotros estamos aquí para ayudarlos y espero que podamos ayudarles con medidas prácticas, con medidas realmente concretas para lograr un futuro mejor para ellos y para todos.

Joseph TCHICAYA (Congo): Nous voudrions vous dire combien nous nous réjouissons de vous voir à nouveau présider cette session du Conseil. Nous sommes certains que sous votre houlette les travaux de cette session connaîtront un succès.

Nous voudrions également exprimer notre reconnaissance au Président du Comité des produits qui, tout au long des travaux de la cinquante-cinquième session, a montré des qualités exceptionnelles, insoupçonnées jusque-là.

Je crois que tout le monde l'a reconnu et nous aussi nous voudrions souscrire aux éloges qui ont été prodigués à son endroit. La délégation congolaise a activement pris part aux travaux de la cinquante-cinquième session du Comité des produits. C'est pourquoi elle voudrait d'emblée dire qu'elle appuie fermement les conclusions auxquelles est parvenu le Comité des produits. Nous voudrions dire que nous avons ici des conclusions qui reflètent les débats qui ont eu lieu au cours de cette session et nous pensons nous aussi qu'il s'agit là de conclusions qui ne reflètent pas forcément les points de vue de la délégation congolaise en totalité mais nous estimons que dans un esprit de dialogue constructif, nous ne pouvons que les approuver. Nous tenons pour notre part à féliciter le Directeur général pour sa brillante intervention au seuil des travaux de ce Comité. Il a su, comme à l'accoutumée, mettre le doigt sur les problèmes fondamentaux qui préoccupent notamment les pays en développement. Nous pensons nous aussi que les points sur lesquels il a attiré l'attention du Comité sont des points extrêmement importants et auxquels, d'ailleurs, le Comité s'est efforcé d'apporter des solutions.

A cet égard, le quatrième paragraphe de cette allocution, comme l'ont déjà souligné un certain nombre de délégations, rencontre également notre appui total. C'est pourquoi toutes les mesures préconisées pour éviter cette guerre dont il est fait état ici nous semblent des mesures judicieuses dans la mesure où elles devraient contribuer à détendre l'atmosphère (car il s'agit d'une atmosphère lourde). Par exemple lorsque nous lisons au paragraphe 13 toutes les difficultés qu'affrontent les pays en développement pour faire face à leur service de la dette. Chacun sait que les exportations jouent un grand rôle dans les pays en développement et notamment les exportations des produits de base pour pouvoir, non seulement assurer le service de la dette, mais également investir pour accroître la production et par conséquent avoir des répercussions positives sur la sécurité alimentaire. Nous savons bien entendu que la baisse des prix des produits à l'exportation a sérieusement compromis l'aptitude de nos pays à assumer ce service de la dette. Je crois que les mesures préconisées ici sont de nature à pouvoir aller de l'avant. Malheureusement nous sommes obligés de constater que nous n'avons pas toujours la compréhension nécessaire, tout au moins de la part de certains pays développés qui ne nous aident pas suffisamment, et je crois que le fait que l'on ait dit "non" à la constitution du fonds commun nous semble à notre avis une situation préoccupante et qu'il convient, comme l'a fait le Comité, de lancer un appel en direction des pays développés qui s'opposent à ce fonds commun.

Nous profitons également de l'examen de ce point pour rappeler que les pays en développement, en raison justement de la baisse des exportations, éprouvent beaucoup de difficultés à faire en sorte que les petits paysans puissent pouvoir accroître leur revenu. Ces problèmes sont aggravés lorsque l'on sait que le FIDA, qui s'occupe justement des petits paysans, rencontre en ce moment des difficultés. Je crois qu'à cet égard le paragraphe pertinent du rapport du Comité devrait rencontrer ici l'appui de tout le Conseil.

Pour en venir au problème du consensus, nous aussi nous pensons qu'au sein d'un comité il est normal que des problèmes aussi cruciaux que ceux du commerce international des produits de base puissent pouvoir soulever des discussions ápres; mais je crois qu'il est normal que nous puissions exprimer dans notre rapport les points de vue de la minorité. Cela ne signifie en aucune façon que la majorité devrait désormais se ranger derrière la minorité. Je crois que le consensus signifie que la minorité devrait pouvoir faire en sorte qu'il puisse adopter en définitive l'attitude prise par la majorité, faute de quoi nous n'arriverons jamais à des conclusions. Je crois qu'à cet égard, si l'on applique les textes de base de notre organisation on ne devrait pas se poser ce genre de question. Le consensus, c'est bien cela: l'opinion de la minorité devrait être exprimée mais des conclusions devraient être tirées sur l'opinion de la majorité.

James E. ROSS (United States of America): The United States shares the concerns of other exporting countries regarding the need to push ahead with efforts to negotiate better trading rules, and the removal of access barriers and export subsidies is a key element for improving agricultural trade, development and food security. While the United States is sensitive to the problems of commodity exporting countries, it is sceptical of the benefits provided by price-affecting international commodity agreements. The United States believes that international trade will be most beneficial if it is conducted through free markets. We note that only four price-affecting commodity agreements have been negotiated and continue to operate. Only three of these provide for internationally controlled buffer stocks but all would require considerable administrative and financial modification to meet the requirements for association with thé Common Fund, Under these circumstances, the United States does not believe that the Common Fund would be able to fulfill the role envisaged for it in international commodity trade and has decided not to undertake the processes associated with its ratification.

We must examine a very important question - what system has produced the wealth that enables people and nations to buy these products. No country or group of countries can impose an order on others. Countries must be willing to take steps to improve their own well-being and to work together to improve world food security.

The United States has been a major proponent of liberalized trade in agriculture. The facts support the United States' commitment to liberalized trade. Last year the United States had a deficit of $13 billion in trade with developing countries. This trade was possible because of a legislation, such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative and the General System of Preferences, which includes 2 800 items and permits liberalized importation in the United States. We are committed to a meaningful progress on agriculture in the forthcoming round of the multilateral trade negotiations.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, the United States delegation supports the comments made by others that the views of minorities should be taken into account and reflected fully in all FAO reports.

It is important to draw a distinction between the report of the meeting and the committee's decision-making. While the subject of consensus is a complex one, about which there will continue to be disagreement, there should be no question about the right of any government to have its views, as expressed, recorded in the reports of FAO bodies.

CHAIRMAN: This brings us to the close of my list as far as Members of the Council are concerned. Is there any other Member of the Council who wishes a second opportunity to speak?

Jacobo C. CLAVE (Philippines): I briefly take the floor because of an apprehension that my reference to the decision-making process of this Council might perhaps not have been properly understood. When I raised this question of the problem of consensus it was never my intention to preclude the Voices, or the hearing of the voice, of the minority. In fact, I think that the minority in this-Council has been given every opportunity to ventilate its views.

The issue which I raised - and I did not provide a question, Mr. Chairman - is: should the voice of the minority become the voice of the committee or of the Council?Should the voice of the minority prevail over the voice of a great majority of the Members of the Council? - that is one question. We shall strive to arrive at decisions via consensus - but consensus in my view is not unanimity. However, if that is the view of my colleagues, then the question I raise is: what happens if we do not reach that unanimity? In the light of the existence of a large majority view, will not the large majority view prevail?

I have listened to my distinguished colleagues from Spain and Canada whose views I greatly respect; and the delegate of Canada in particular raised the question of discussing this in the proper forum. I have been wondering where the proper forum is - but my initial view is that this Council will be called upon after its deliberations to make decisions. I think it is appropriate - although this is only my view - that we should make the decision at some point during our deliberations as to whether or not consensus should be the only decision-making procedure for this Council, or whether, after attempts to arrive at a decision through consensus have failed, we should fall back upon the formally accepted decision-making procedure which is that of voting. If I were to make a proposal, I would propose this falling back, not because this is what is more pleasant to me, but because our Rules of Procedure have adopted precisely the voting system as the system of making decisions. I just express the alarm that consensus may become a procedure to override the views of the majority, and I must thank, in conclusion Mr Chairman, the views of my other colleagues who in one way or another have supported my concern for our decision-making procedures.

Gilles DESESQUELLES (CEE): En plus des remarques déjà formulées par les Etats membres de la Communauté, et sans réouvrir le débat, mais par souci de clarté, même si tout le monde se déclare pour une libéralisation du commerce des produits agricoles, je voudrais rappeler que tous les pays protègent leur agriculture d'une manière ou d'une autre. Ne serait-ce qu'en raison de l'instabilité des marchés, des fluctuations des monnaies, ou des spéculations sur les matières premières, le secteur agricole doit relever de règles de commerce spécifiques qui font du reste partie intégrante du dispositif multilatéral du GATT depuis sa création, dix ans avant la constitution dela Communauté.

Les mécanismes que la Communauté met en oeuvre ont été jugésconformes aux règles du commerce international.

Nous souhaiterions une modification technique à la dernière phrase du paragraphe 57 lorsqu'on souligne: "Le Comité, à l'exception des pays membres de la CEE s'est également inquiété que la proposition avancée dans une récente communication... " le mot "proposition" nous gêne. En effet, en termes communautaires, proposition signifie que la Commission des Communautés européennes propose officiellement au Conseil des ministres de prendre une mesure spécifique. Dans le cas particulier, ce n'est qu'une réflexion et non pas une proposition. Il faudrait donc dire: "réflexion".

Des consultations sont en cours pour savoir quelle serait la meilleure solution pour réexaminer le secteur des matières grasses dans la Communauté. A cet égard, croyez bien que la situation des pays en développement sera prise en compte au moment d'une proposition officielle.

De plus, nous nous associons aux remarques du délégué du Canada en ce qui concerne le paragraphe 84.

J. MUSHARRAF (Chairman, Committee on Commodity Problems): Mr Chairman, first perhaps I should express my thanks for the complimentary remarks lavished on the Chairman. I do not know that I can agree with some of them or any of them, but the quality of patience was perhaps apt and correct. But I must add that the whole Committee had patience, not just the Chairman. We all sat until midnight.

One can in the end say that in the Committee on Commodities there was no shortage of the commodity of patience, friendliness and good humour. In our deliberations we considered and discussed a range of commodity problems and problem commodities. I can repeat that our labour which, as Marx taught us is also a commodity, was also well spent. We also think that our time, which is another precious commodity, was also well spent.

The debate today has reflected more or less the discussions we had and the issues that were raised in the Committee. Various paragraphs in the report have been expressed by various delegates and various measures, such as the Common Fund etc., have been stressed. As in the Committee, a dismal picture has been painted once again that we are on the brink of the trade war stated by the Director-General in his introduction, or that as some would like to emphasize, we are in the midst of a trade war and so on. The report has been called, perhaps rightly so, as a varying report. This is not the stage for me Mr. Chairman to go into repeating or reporting the discussion again. In any case I am not the Chairman of this Session. My function today was only to report what had happened in the Committee and to present the report of the Committee which I have already done. But I would nevertheless comment on one or two points raised by several speakers relevant to the report as it stands, and the way committees in general prepare their reports and the tasks of the Chairman as I see it.

As regards the report as it stands, some specific statements were made by several delegates. One stated that paragraph 3 of the report "should add or reflect some portion of the Director-General's statement in paragraphs 14 and 4". Personally I could live with that but I think we have to see whether what has been a tradition in reporting such matters will be reproduced in paragraph 3 or the gist of the Director-General's statements in these reports. I would personally have no objection to that.

Regarding the way committees prepare their reports and reflect viewpoints and consensuses and the role of the Chairman in this respect, points which have been raised by several delegates, it was suggested by a delegate and by others that the Chairman should have a summary of conclusions at the end so that committees' consensus view can be reflected and not treated like the vast majority, and some said this and that.

On this I would say (1) as far as our proceedings in the Committee on Commodity Problems are concerned if those who participated in it, and I am afraid that some delegates were not there, invariably Mr. Chairman I used to have the practice of summing up each and every item at the end in quite some detail, so that was done. But that I found myself did not offer the solution to the problem that has been raised just now because it is not a simple issue. In spite of the fact that a detailed summary or summing up can be done by the Chairman involved, and was done in this case, the issue remains highly thorny and very complex because sometimes the sense of the house can be sensed by the Chairman, which is his function, and can be meaningful, but sometimes the consensus would be empty and platitudinous. The Chairman's task then sometimes can be to point out not the consensus but dissensus rather than the consensus, and the expression of various viewpoints, sometimes irreconcilable viewpoints. It is therefore the drafting committee and the Plenary at the adoption stage to give expression to the various viewpoints and decide whether to include in the report an empty sounding and platitudinous consensus, or some more meaningful statement of dissensus which statement such as "the majority said this, the vast majority said this, but some said this, " and a reflection of minority views. This in my view is therefore a continuing issue and not a separate issue. But each chairman and each committee has to find its own way through this thorny issue, and often blunder through it, negotiate through it, and so on, and then to produce it to a simple and fixed formula may not be the best thing to do even if it were possible. The definition of consensus given by Italy for example, quoting Pakistan and the United Nations, is fine, but the point I am trying to state is that it may lead to an empty and platitudinous consensus not providing the basis of any concrete expression. With that I will leave that issue and confine myself to those remarks.

Coming to some of the other more specific points raised by delegates, I would like to comment on one or two. The question of quorum was raised by one delegate. I would only remind the Committee and the Council here that all had agreed, all the shades of opinion in the Committee, during the Committee's deliberations that the Committee should proceed with its work and recommend the report to the Council. There is a precedent in this respect in this very Council and that precedent can be accepted. So that I think is not in issue.

Another point raised by Italy, if I've got Italy correctly, that Italy wanted to add its reservation to paragraph 50, but that, I think Mr Chairman, is for you to take a note of. I may not have followed the point myself very well.

Finally it has been stated that the last sentence of Paragraph 57 as has been stated by the EEC at the end, that the word "proposal" is not in line with EEC terminology, it should be "reflection". I do not know but I think here perhaps each organization will have its own usage and commensurate terminology, and "proposal" perhaps is the accepted term here, but this is a matter for the Council to decide.

I think Mr Chairman I will just confine myself to that, and thank you for giving me the floor.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman of CCP. I thank all members of the Council, the observers and the Chairman of CCP for this detailed debate. In fact the Ambassador of Venezuela said that she became emotional on this issue. I think this is an issue of life and death for so many millions of rural people all over the world, so the Ambassador need not apologize for having become emotional. If anybody has seen some of the areas affected by this kind of calamity situation, they will weep. I am hence fully in agreement with the sentiments of concern that have been expressed.

As far as the report is concerned it is a report of the subsidiary body, the CCP, and has come to the Council. We can commend this report, but our own report of the Council's proceedings will show Council's viewpoints expressed here.

I do not want to get into a lengthy debate about report writing, decision making and consensus formulation. It is obvious that a report should reflect truly what happens at a meeting. The decisions are certainly governed by the Rules of Procedure. The majority view represents the decision. Consensus is a matter of converting the viewpoints to the extent that people have the ability to do this. It is to be welcomed without sacrificing one's basic principles, but I do agree that maybe at some other time or in some other forum one could have a longer discussion on how to develop consensus on important issues. Consensus and unanimous decision certainly are somewhat different. But this is not the occasion to discuss this. So I would recommend that we adopt the report of the CCP, and our drafting committee will try tobring out some of the viewpoints expressed here.

With this we will come to the close of this morning's session and I hope you will all be back promptly this afternoon when we will start with the next item on Genetic Resources.

The meeting rose at 13. 00 hours
La séance est levée à 1. 3 heures
Se levanta la sesión a las 13. 00 horas

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