World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

October 2008

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

Developments in the Doha Round

The WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy has called for WTO Members to agree the Doha package of trade reforms by the end of 2008. In a speech on 1 October 2008 he said that the WTO provides a global insurance policy for a global economy. He underlined the importance of conducting the Doha Round in today's financial turmoil in such a way that the WTO can continue to play its role as “shock absorber”.

Over the past weeks, senior officials from Australia and other key countries have been meeting in Geneva to try to resolve some of the outstanding issues. Ministers are continuing to discuss with one another the best way forward. The Prime Minister and Mr Crean have been speaking with world leaders and trade ministers from key countries (including US, EC, Brazil, India, China and Indonesia), emphasizing Australia’s commitment to concluding the Round as soon as possible.

New EC Trade Commissioner

Peter Mandelson resigned as EC Trade Commissioner on 2 October. His replacement is Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland. She was endorsed by the EU Council of Ministers on 6 October and is expected to be endorsed by the European Parliament in early November.

New Chair of the NAMA negotiations

A new chair of the WTO Negotiating Group on Market Access (NAMA negotiations), Ambassador Luzius Wasescha from Switzerland, was elected on 2 October. He foreshadowed intensive bilateral consultations on membership interests and possible areas of convergence. He will convene a transparency session on 22 October to outline the results of these consultations and the forward process for negotiations.

WTO Meetings in Geneva


13-17: Meeting of the Trade Facilitation Negotiating Group

14: Meeting of the General Council

Contact Us:

Trade Policy Section
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Fax: (02) 6261 1858

or for more information visit our website or the WTO website.

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