World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 23 April 2004 (Issue 2004/11)

Key Issues

Trade Negotiations Committee takes stock

The first meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) since Cancún was held in Geneva on 21 April 2004. The TNC was established by Ministers at the commencement of the Doha Round, with a mandate to supervise the overall conduct of negotiations in the Round.

At the meeting, WTO Director-General Supachai (as chairman of the TNC) addressed the delegations and then opened the floor for statements by participants. As well, oral or written reports were provided by the Chairpersons of each of the bodies established under the TNC.

In his address, Dr Supachai emphasised the critical nature of the next few months for the “[Doha Development Agenda] and to some extent for the multilateral trading system.” However, he was encouraged by the more optimistic mood amongst WTO Members which was evident in the positive engagement in the resumed negotiating group meetings, as well as in the meetings of Ministers he had attended outside of Geneva. Whilst there was only a short window of opportunity between now and July to agree on a framework package to move the negotiations forward, Dr Supachai noted that “all of us should be heartened” by positive developments in the negotiating process. In particular, Dr Supachai highlighted “a clear willingness of delegations to negotiate with each other”, a focus on substance rather than procedure, “a sense of growing trust among the delegations” and the intensive work being undertaken both in Geneva and in various capitals around the world.

Trade and Environment Committee meets

The Special Session of the Committee of Trade and Environment (CTE) met on 19 April 2004, followed by a regular CTE meeting the next day.

Discussions in the Special Session focused particularly on two recent papers from the US and the EC on environmental goods (TN/TE/W/38) and WTO-multilateral environmental agreement interaction (TN/TE/W/39) respectively. The US paper generated a discussion on the link between this agenda item and the non-agricultural goods market access negotiations, while the EC paper generated debate on the extent of the paragraph 31 mandate in the Doha Declaration.

In the CTE, Members discussed a Canadian proposal (WT/CTE/W/234), also available on the WTO website, to focus CTE work on particular themes during each CTE meeting. A decision on the proposal was not taken at this meeting.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

APRIL

26 Dispute Settlement Body

26 Negotiating Group on Rules (AD/SCM, incl. FS)

26-27 Working Party on the Accession of Ukraine

27 Council for Trade in Goods

28 Dispute Settlement Body – Special Session

29-30 Working Party on the Accession of Saudi Arabia

29-30 Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures

30 Dispute Settlement Body – Special Session

MAY

3 Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology

5 Committee on Import Licensing

5 Negotiating Group on Rules – Regional Trade Agreements

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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