World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 17 September 2004 (Issue 2004/31)

This bulletin, summarising key WTO Doha Round-related activities, is issued by the Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Key Issues

Negotiations on the European Commission's services schedule

Following the accession of ten new members (Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and the Slovak Republic) to the European Commission (EC) on 1 May 2004, modifications and withdrawals were made to specific commitments in the EC's services schedule. As a WTO Member affected by these changes, Australia has initiated General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Article XXI negotiations with the EC in Geneva.

A WTO Member may modify or withdraw specific commitments made in its schedule under the GATS any time after three years from the date on which that commitment entered into force. Article XXI of the GATS provides for WTO Members adversely affected by such modifications and/or withdrawals to enter into negotiations with the modifying Member with a view to reaching agreement on any necessary compensatory adjustment.

We are interested in hearing from any Australian services provider that may be disadvantaged by the modification and withdrawal of EC commitments. This may include service providers who have established a commercial presence in the above countries or those who are providing cross border services or travel to these countries as intra-corporate transferees or services specialists.

For more information please contact Roy Clogstoun in the Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on (02) 6261-2364 or by e-mail at roy.clogstoun@dfat.gov.au

Progress in rules negotiations

The July Framework Package reaffirmed WTO Members' commitment to progress in rules negotiations in line with the Doha Mandate. At Doha, Members agreed to negotiations dealing with WTO rules on four specific issues: anti-dumping; subsidies and countervailing measures; fisheries subsidies; and regional trade agreements (RTAs). Over the next two weeks the Negotiating Group on Rules will meet for technical discussions in Geneva. Regional trade agreements will be discussed on 21 September and anti-dumping and subsidies, including fisheries subsidies, will be discussed from 27 September to 1 October 2004.

The meeting on RTAs will focus on consideration of issues relating to key terms dealing with services RTAs. Members will also continue to work on systemic RTA issues such as neutrality and clarification of the scope of 'Other Regulations of Commerce'.

Australia has been a member of a n informal group of WTO Members, known as the 'Friends of Fish', which supports enhanced disciplines for fisheries subsidies that are production and trade distorting. The 'Friends of Fish' plan to meet with various experts in Geneva p rior to the meeting of the Negotiating Group on Rules to discuss options on how to progress the fisheries subsidies negotiations. They will focus on the pros and cons of different types of possible disciplines.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

SEPTEMBER

20-23 Services Meeting

21-23 Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

23 Committee on Agriculture

24 Council for Trade in Services

27 Council for Trade in Services - Special Session

27 Dispute Settlement Body

28-29 Committee on Trade and Development

28-30 Negotiating Group on Rules

28 Trade Policy Review Body - Rwanda

30 Trade Policy Review Body - Rwanda

30 Committee on Import Licensing

OCTOBER

1 Council for Trade in Goods

1 Council for Trade in Services - Special Session

5-8 Committee on Government Procurement

7-8 Committee on 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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