World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 2 April 2004 (Issue 2004/12)

Key Issues

WTO Services Negotiations

The WTO Council for Trade in Services and its subsidiary bodies held a cluster of meetings in Geneva from 22 March to 2 April 2004. Australia held useful bilateral meetings with a number of Members on a range of issues including requests, offers and trade barriers with a view to improving market access conditions for Australian services exporters.

Discussions were held in the Council and its various subsidiary bodies, and in a number of the informal Friends Groups on sectors of particular interest to Members. Australia chaired the Friends of Freight Logistics meeting and launched an initiative urging countries to make legally-binding commitments on a ‘whole-of-supply-chain’ view of the movement of freight. (Details of the proposal are available at the DFAT website: http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade.) We also participated in Friends meetings for maritime transport, education, telecommunications, computer and related services, express delivery/postal, environmental services and mode 4 (the temporary movement of labour to supply services in a foreign market).

A workshop on Domestic Regulation was held from 29 to 30 March 2004. The workshop was organised to inform regulators, trade negotiators and other relevant officials of the background and progress to date of the work taking place in the Working Party on Domestic Regulation.

We expect that the next set of meetings in Geneva (at this stage, scheduled for 23 June to 2 July 2004) will focus on examining offers made to date and on encouraging those Members which have not yet made an offer to do so.

Committee on Trade and Development

The Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Development met on 1 April 2004. The new Chair of the Committee, Mr Faizel Ismail of South Africa, called for a fresh approach on Special and Differential Treatment (S&D). In particular, the Chair advocated a broader approach to the Committee’s discussions in order to better place S&D in its development context.

Members proposed a number of issues that might usefully be discussed in this regard, including examining how the general S&D architecture operates, reviewing the S&D principles underlying specific proposals before the Committee, and looking at how trade can assist development through increasing trade opportunities, tying into the work in other negotiating groups.

WTO Workshop on Cotton

Continuing with the development theme, an African Regional Workshop on Cotton was held in Benin from 23-24 March. The focus of the workshop was the development assistance component of the so-called Cotton Initiative. WTO Director-General, Dr Supachai, emphasised in his opening remarks that “the trade policy dimension is a matter for the entirety of the WTO membership … within the framework of the broader agriculture negotiations.”

The Cotton Initiative was initially presented to the WTO prior to last September’s Ministerial in Cancún by four West African cotton producing countries – Benin, Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

APRIL

7 Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights – Special Session

Contact Us

Trade Policy Section
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
BARTON ACT 0221
Fax: (02) 6261 3514
or e-mail trade.consult@dfat.gov.au

This bulletin is issued by the Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It summarises key WTO Doha Round-related activities over the past week.

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