NZ/WTO: Tim Groser on film stars and WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations

Some of the readers of this blog may remeber that on 1 February 2010 I wrote a post commenting Tim Groser’s speech in London on 8 December 2009 titled “Trade and Climate Change: A Negotiator's Perspective”.

In this speech Mr Groser, former Chair of the WTO’s negotiating group where fisheries subsidies are discussed, sets out his views on the dynamics of international negotiations. I can not resist the temptation to re-copy here some of the passages of his December 2009 speech.

"There will be film stars, vegans, people running around in polar bear suits. This is, ladies and gentlemen, international diplomacy in action. Is it likely to lead to anything useful?”
“Highly experienced and astute Secretariat officials, working closely with experienced negotiators from a number of countries, will be developing a text covering the key issues contained in the unmanageable draft legal text and on which firm political decisions are required - mitigation targets, financing in both the short and long term, capacity building and other key elements of the earlier Bali Action Plan.”
Well, Mr Groser revisited these subjects, i.e. the dynamics of international negotiations and the role of film starts, in his address to the international Food and Agriculture Trade Policy Council (IPC) Conference in Sao Paulo.

In this post I will comment Mr. Groser’s comments on the role film stars (or Hollywood) in international negotiations:
“We should be thankful for small mercies. With complete collapse staring us in the face, we salvaged at least the Copenhagen Accord. This was produced by a small group of Heads of Governments of some major countries, operating in an unplanned and one could say haphazard way.
They had no choice, and thank goodness they did take the initiative. However, it was a modest return from the investment of so much high-priced political talent - not to mention the pre-Copenhagen hype, based around the absurd negotiating scenario of ‘No Plan B'. I will leave to others to describe the contribution made by Hollywood film stars to the process. Rationality, one could say, was at a premium and we paid the price in terms of the mediocrity of the result.”
So, Mr Groser leaves to others to describe the contribution made by Hollywood film stars to the process. Thinking of what happens in the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations I am sure that OCEANA will describe the contribution of film stars to these negotiations as very positive. They invited Ted Danson to come to Geneva (see my post of 31/10/2009 titled “WTO: fisheries subsidies and Hollywood under the same roof”) to persuade negotiators to rapidly conclude the Doha round so that an agreement could be reached in new fisheries subsidies rules.

By the way, that OCEANA values very much the role of film stars in WTO fisheries subsidies negotiations is also demonstrated by the fact that that he testified before a the US Senate Committee on Finance (Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness) on 14/07/2010 as OCEANA Board Member.

But Ted Danson is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the links of OCEANA with Hollwywood. Check OCEANA’s webapges on its SeaChange Summer Parties. The list of film actors is rather long.

A final comment on Ted Danson: interestingly Ted Danson joined the “Bored to Death” comedy television series. I hope he will not be “Bored to death” because of the lack of progress in the Doha negotiations.

What is not clear to me is what Mr. Groser meant with the closing sentence in the paragraph dealing with film stars: “Rationality, one could say, was at a premium and we paid the price in terms of the mediocrity of the result.” I can not believe Mr. Groser was speaking about fisheries subsidies negotiations. My reading is that he was talking about climate change negotiations only.

This is a first delivery in my comments on Ted Groser speech. There will be other posts especially on the part of the speech about why he considers the fisheries subsides negotiations as worthwhile.

Here are two links where readers will find Tim Groser’s speech:

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