World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 18 June 2004 (Issue 2004/19)

Key Issues

Sao Paulo meeting of Trade Ministers - 13 June

Trade Minister Mark Vaile took part in a meeting with four other key Trade Ministers (from the US, EU, India and Brazil) on 13 June 2004 in an attempt to push forward the WTO agriculture negotiations. Although progress in the negotiations remains tough going, the meeting confirmed the need to move ahead urgently on all three agricultural pillars (market access, domestic support and export subsidies) to achieve convergence by the time of the WTO General Council Meeting on 27-28 July 2004.

Discussions will continue at officials level in the Agriculture negotiations to be held in Geneva next week.

UNCTAD XI, Sao Paulo, Brazil - Annan talks tough on trade

The Eleventh Session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XI) took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 13-18 June 2004. The core theme of the conference was "enhancing the coherence between national development strategies and global economic processes towards economic growth and development, particularly of developing countries".

The Inaugural Ceremony was held on 14 June 2004, and opening statements were made by HE Mr Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, HE Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, HE Mr Julian Hunte, President of the UN General Assembly, and HE Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil.

All speakers emphasised the role of the Doha Round in promoting development. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that policies and rules designed to liberalise trade should not create new barriers, and that countries who press others to liberalise should be willing to do the same themselves - "if they don't, we politely call it lack of coherence; but we could just as accurately call it discrimination". Mr Annan called for the significant reduction or elimination of agricultural and other subsidies that distort world markets.

The full text of the opening statements

World Bank official describes EU G90 trade offer as "worrisome"

The Director of the World Bank's International Trade Department expressed concern this week about the EU's proposal to exempt the G90 or "weak and vulnerable" countries from liberalisation commitments under the Doha Round. Uri Dadush described the proposal as "well intentioned [but] not appropriate for development" because it would prevent developing countries from reaping the substantial benefits available from full and effective trade liberalisation.

The World Bank's Global Monitoring Report 2004 has estimated that 140 million people could be lifted out of poverty by 2015 through effective trade liberalisation.

Negotiating Group on Non-Agricultural Market Access

The Negotiating Group on Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) met from 9-11 June 2004. Discussions at two formal sessions book-ended informal meetings between members, and focussed on considering the scope and nature of the NAMA negotiating framework to be included in an end of July package that would guide the next phase of the Doha negotiations.

The meeting also looked at ways to address non-tariff barriers (NTBs), possible sectoral tariff initiatives, as well as the implications of the EU's G90 or "weak and vulnerable" proposal (see previous article). However members were hesitant to engage in substantive discussion on the NAMA framework ahead of a breakthrough in the agriculture negotiations.

The Chair of the NAMA Negotiating Group, Ambassador Stefan Johannesson of Iceland, tentatively scheduled the next NAMA meeting for 6-8 July 2004.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

JUNE

21 Committee on Trade and Environment

21-23 Textiles Monitoring Body

22-23 Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

22 Committee on Trade and Environment - Special Session

22 Dispute Settlement Body

23 Committee on Specific Commitments

23 Working Party on GATS Rules

23-25 Committee on Agriculture - Special Session

24 Council for Trade in Services

24 Working Party on Domestic Regulation

25 Committee on Trade in Financial Services

28 Trade Policy Review Body – Benin/Burkina Faso/Mali

28 Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration

28 Council for Trade in Services – Special Session

29 Technical Barriers to Trade – Dedicated Session

29 Working Party on the Accession of Uzbekistan

29 Negotiating Group on Rules – Regional Trade Agreements

30 Trade Policy Review Body – Benin/Burkina Faso/Mali

30 Trade Negotiations Committee

JULY

1 Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade

2 Committee on Market Access

2 Council for Trade in Services – 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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