WTO Doha Round Bulletin 2010 End of Year Summary
This bulletin summarises key WTO Doha Round-related activities and developments during the last quarter of 2010:
Doha Round-related Decisions from the G20 and APEC Leaders’ Summits
G20 Leaders at their 12 November 2010 Summit (held in Seoul, Republic of Korea) gave a strong commitment to direct negotiators to engage in across-the-board negotiations to promptly bring the Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on the progress already achieved. They recognised that 2011 is a critical window of opportunity, albeit narrow, and that engagement among our representatives must intensify and expand. They also reaffirmed their commitment to resist all forms of protectionist measures.
Similarly, APEC Leaders at their 14 November 2010 Summit (held in Yokohama, Japan) reaffirmed their strong commitment to bring the Round to a prompt and successful conclusion. Bearing in mind that 2011 will be a critically important window of opportunity, they directed their Ministers to empower their representatives to engage in comprehensive negotiations with a sense of urgency in the end game, built on the progress achieved, including with regard to modalities, consistent with the Doha mandate. They also committed to seeking domestic support, in their respective systems, for the agreement once an outcome is reached. They agreed to take steps to roll back trade distorting measures introduced during the global financial crisis and extended their commitment to resist all forms of protectionist measures.
Key Developments in Geneva
Informal Meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee
At the 30 November 2010 informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee, the WTO Director General, Mr Pascal Lamy, outlined a process for translating the Leaders’ commitments above into the Doha Round negotiations in Geneva. Mr Lamy declared at this meeting, attended by heads of delegation, that to deliver on the momentum established by G20 and APEC Leaders would require a clear sense of urgency in the work program in Geneva. He stressed the need to accelerate work, exploiting all possibilities, including through small groups, bilateral contacts or negotiating groups. He said that in order to ensure full participation, the negotiating groups would have to be at the heart of the intensified efforts over the coming months, with the Chairs taking a more pro-active role in accelerating the work. He also emphasised the need for greater involvement of Senior Officials in the months ahead to assist Ambassadors in the negotiations in Geneva and help Ministers undertake some of the “heavy lifting” at home.
Mr Lamy noted that Members would have to operate on a very tight deadline in order to conclude the Round by the end of 2011. To this end, he proposed the following work program for the first quarter of 2011:
- From 10 January: The Rules, Trade Facilitation, Trade and Environment, TRIPS and Development groups to begin intensive sessions
- From 17 January: Agriculture, NAMA, Services and Dispute Settlement groups to begin intensive sessions.
WTO Trade Policy Review of Australia
The WTO’s sixth Trade Policy Review of Australia, at which Australia’s trade policies will be reviewed by other WTO Members, will take place in Geneva on 5 and 7 April 2011. As part of the preparation for this review, officials of the WTO Secretariat visited Australia on 22 – 26 November to meet with a wide range of Government agencies and other bodies. All WTO Members are regularly subject to trade policy reviews under the WTO Trade Policy Review Mechanism. The objective of the reviews is to facilitate the smooth functioning of the multilateral trading system by enhancing the transparency of WTO Members’ trade policies. The frequency of reviews is determined by a Member’s share of world trade. The US, EU, China and Japan are reviewed every two years while Australia, along with 15 other Members, is reviewed every four years. The last review of Australia was held in 2007.
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