World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

August 2009

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

Overview

India’s mini-Ministerial meeting of trade ministers to advance the Doha Round of trade negotiations will be held in New Delhi on 3-4 September. The Minister for Trade, Mr Crean will be among a large number of trade ministers from developing and developed countries that will be attending. The meeting will provide an important opportunity to discuss the WTO Doha Round and what needs to be done to move the Round forward, especially in the lead-up to the G20 Leaders Meeting in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September. In a media release on 1 September Mr Crean said the meeting was taking place at a crucial time and continues to build the political momentum for conclusion of the Round. He said “Ministers need to provide specific instructions to their trade negotiators to settle outstanding issues.”

Agriculture

Following officials’ meetings in Geneva in late July, Agriculture Chair David Walker has scheduled further discussions on 7-9 and 21-24 September. The meetings will provide an important opportunity for Members to address outstanding issues in the agriculture negotiations and to make progress on technical work relating to data requirements and scheduling templates (which will be important when implementing an eventual deal on Doha).

Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA)

Work will commence in September on the plan of work identified by NAMA Chair Luzius Wasescha for the remainder of the year, including three ‘NAMA weeks’ in September, November and December. The main focus will be on Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), although the Chair has encouraged ongoing consultations and presentations on sectoral liberalisation. The Chair will also continue to consult members on outstanding issues related to special flexibilities for developing countries and the issue of preference erosion.

Services

Following the June round of services negotiations in Geneva, Australia has worked intersessionally to develop concrete proposals to take forward our bilateral and plurilateral market access interests in the Doha Round services negotiations. With broad agreement that services negotiations now need to move in parallel with other areas of the Doha Round, it is vital that negotiators step up efforts on services upon return from the northern summer break.

Australia continues to engage in the technical work of the Services Council and its subsidiary bodies, in particular the Committee on Specific Commitments (relationship between Doha and Uruguay Round schedules, verification processes) and the Working Party on Domestic Regulation (new disciplines).Australia is also working with a small group of WTO Members on Least Developed Country (LDC) interests in the Round.

Intellectual Property

TRIPS negotiations have focused on taking stock of recent events and setting future work plans accordingly.On 27 July WTO Director-General Lamy reported on the four consultations he has held on the outstanding ‘implementation issues’.The ‘implementation issues’ are the possible extension of the higher level of protection given to wines and spirits geographical indications (GIs) to GIs for other products, and the proposed requirement to disclose the source of any genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge used in any inventions, known as TRIPS-CBD.

Mr Lamy noted that progress had been made with respect to Members’ understanding of each others’ technical concerns, but that work remained to be done to achieve practical outcomes.Mr Lamy’s consultations are without prejudice to the question of whether any outcomes are required to conclude the Doha Round.Australia maintains there is no agreement on this point.Lamy recommitted to his informal consultation mechanism, with the next meeting scheduled for 8 October.

Trade Facilitation

The Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation (NGTF) met in early July to discuss both specific proposals on Articles V, VIII and X of GATT and provisions relating to special and differential treatment.The >Chair encouraged Members to adopt a more detailed text-based discussion in relation to proposals, which helped clarify the outstanding issues.There was progress in bringing greater clarity to the issue of how developing countries would implement commitments.

Anti-Dumping, Subsidies and Fisheries Subsidies

No new developments.

WTO Meetings in Geneva

A full schedule of upcoming WTO meetings is available at http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news_e.htm#whatson

Contact Us:

Trade Policy Section

Office of Trade Negotiations

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

BARTON ACT 0221

Fax: (02) 6261 1858 or email

or for more information visit our website (http://www.dfat.gov.au) or the WTO website (http://www.wto.org/).

For more information: the WTO website

Previous WTO Doha Round Bulletins