World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 28 May 2004 (Issue 2004/16)

Key Issues

Responding to developing country concerns – the IMF’s Trade Integration Mechanism

Acting Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Anne Krueger, explained the IMF’s new Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM) at the WTO General Council meeting held on 17-18 May 2004.

While stressing that “for the vast majority of countries, the benefits of a Doha agreement would be … overwhelmingly positive even in the short term”, the IMF has developed the TIM to assist developing countries facing short-term balance of payments difficulties in coping with the effects of liberalisation in third country markets. In her address, Ms Krueger described the mechanism as a kind of insurance policy, designed to give governments and policy makers the necessary reassurance to enable them “to embrace the Doha Development Agenda, knowing that they will be able to exploit the opportunities an agreement will provide, while worrying less about the potential downside risks, however small these are”.

The TIM is designed to address developing country concerns regarding the economic impact of preference erosion, changes in terms of trade and elimination of quotas on textiles and clothing. Ms Krueger stressed that in the great majority of cases the IMF expects any balance of payment shortfalls to be small and temporary.

The full text of Ms Krueger’s address can be accessed at:
http://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/2004/051804b.htm.

WTO Public Symposium 2004: “Multilateralism at a crossroads”

The WTO hosted its annual public symposium in Geneva on 25-27 May 2004 looking at the challenges the WTO and its Members face in ensuring a successful completion of the Doha Development Agenda. Almost 1,200 registered participants, including more than 150 speakers, attended the symposium, which comprised 29 workshops on key subjects being negotiated in the Doha Round.

At the plenary opening session, WTO Director General Dr Supachai said the period between now and the end of July was an “historic window of opportunity”. Developments so far in 2004, including USTR Zoellick’s January letter, the Lamy/Fischler letter and the political commitment evident at recent ministerial gatherings (including the Paris meetings attended by Trade Minister Vaile) had resulted in significant progress. Nevertheless, Dr Supachai cautioned against over-confidence - “WTO Members [need to] balance their ambition with realism”.

Finally, Dr Supachai reminded the audience that the July package will not be the conclusion of the Doha negotiations. Rather, the July package represents an opportunity for framework agreements which will provide a solid platform to subsequently conclude the negotiations – negotiations which remain to be judged against the yardstick of the mandate agreed at the commencement of the negotiations in Doha in 2001.

The full text of Dr Supachai’s speech can be accessed at:
http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spsp_e/spsp27_e.htm.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

JUNE

1 Dispute Settlement Body

2-4 Committee on Agriculture – Special Session

4 Committee of Participants on the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Products

7 Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries

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

8 Negotiating Group on Rules

9 Committee on Trade in Civil Aircraft

11 WTO Introduction Day

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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