World Trade Organization (WTO)
WTO Doha Round Bulletin
This bulletin, summarising key WTO Doha Round-related activities, is issued by the Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- WTO’s response to the global financial crisis
- Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA)
- Intellectual Property
- Trade and Environment
- Trade Facilitation
- WTO Meetings in Geneva
- Contact us
The Minister for Trade, Mr Simon Crean,
met with many trade Ministers, and the WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy,
during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (29-31 January).
Ministers took the early opportunity to discuss a way forward for the
Doha Round negotiations in 2009. In a statement issued after the meeting, Ministers agreed
to continue to attach the highest priority to achieving a successful
conclusion to the Doha Round and to refrain from raising new barriers
to trade in goods and services. Mr Crean said that the important
thing coming from the meeting was “the
very strong view is that trade is not part of the problem, trade is
part of the solution.”
In addition to Ministerial engagement,
the Chairs of the negotiating groups and officials in Geneva are continuing
with the technical work necessary to advance the Doha Round.
Australia has welcomed the WTO’s
response to the global financial crisis which has included establishing
a Secretariat Task Force to consider, and provide a better sense of,
the financial and economic consequences of the crisis. The Task Force
will provide regular updates to Members on the measures taken in response
to the crisis. The WTO is also closely examining the issue of
availability of trade finance.
On 9 February, Director-General Lamy
presented his first report on trade developments associated with the financial crisis to the Trade
Policy Review Body. The report provides a valuable tool in efforts
to maintain transparent and coordinated policy responses to developments.
It offers a timely reminder of the risks of protection, particularly
in light of significant scope for WTO Members to raise barriers within
their existing entitlements – and another fundamental reason for completing
the Doha Round as soon as possible. Further written reports will
be provided to Members periodically, with discussion in the Trade Policy
On trade finance issues, Mr Lamy has
expressed concern regarding the direct impact of the financial crisis
on developing country access to financing of imports and exports.
He is holding series of meetings at the WTO, with both multilateral
institutions and private banks, to check the availability of trade financing
at affordable rates.
Agriculture Chair Crawford Falconer
has been consulting with various groups on the next steps in the agriculture
negotiations. He met with the Cairns Group in late January.
At an open ended meeting in late January, a number of WTO Members supported further work on the basis of the fourth revised negotiating text released in December. NAMA Chair Luzius Wasescha identified four categories of technical issues that could be progressed pending political developments: sectoral initiatives; non-tariff barriers; scheduling; and country specific flexibilities. Sectorals remain the key contentious issue and the Chair proposed that the bilateral discussions commenced in December continue with a view to clarifying the detail of proposals and to addressing the concerns of some Members. The Chair has undertaken to develop a work plan after further consultation with Members.
Members continue to consider the shape
of services negotiations and the services forward work program for 2009.
Services Chair Fernando de Mateo recently convened Heads of Delegation
in Geneva to discuss suggestions for the future work of the services
negotiations. He said the services text agreed by WTO Members
in July 2008 – at the time of the ministerial signalling conference
on services – provided a “road map” which would form the basis
for Members’ ongoing work. Australia stressed that it was necessary
to engage in services in as positive and productive a way as possible
at this juncture, and agreed that the road map provided a sound basis
on which to proceed.
Separately, the Chair of the Services
Council has undertaken consultations to determine a work program for
regular sessions of the Council in parallel to Doha Round market access
negotiations. Australia supports proposals for the WTO Secretariat
to update sectoral papers – which date from the late 1990s – and
a reinvigorated notification process in accordance with GATS disciplines
(eg Article III Transparency). We also recognise that subsidiary
bodies can engage constructively to find common ground in relation to
domestic regulation disciplines and rules on services safeguards.
No new developments.
No new developments.
No new developments.
On 19 December 2008, Rules Chair Valles-Galmes
tabled revised draft texts on anti-dumping and horizontal subsidies
(WTO document TN/RL/W/236). The draft texts relate to issues where
the Chair believes there appears to be some degree of emerging consensus,
reflecting a new ‘bottom-up’ approach to the negotiations.
Consistent with this approach, the Chair has identified a number of
difficult issues where Members’ positions remain far apart but has
not proposed either draft text or compromise solutions.
At the same time, he released a conceptual
roadmap on fisheries subsidies. The Chair indicated that the differences
between Members are fundamental ones relating to both the structure
and the concepts of any future disciplines. Further discussion
on these crucial issues will be essential input to a new draft text.
The roadmap identifies the key issues which will need to be addressed
in order to progress negotiations.
Meetings were held in the first week
of February to discuss WTO Members' initial reactions to the revised
texts and fisheries roadmap. Further meetings have been scheduled
for the last week of March.
2–6 Rules Negotiating Session
3-4 General Council Meeting
9 Informal meeting of Trade Policy Review Body
23-27 Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation
30 March- 3 April Rules Negotiating
Trade Policy Sectionz
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
BARTON ACT 0221
Fax: (02) 6261 1858
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