World Trade Organization
WTO Rules Negotiations
At the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference, held in Doha in
November 2001, WTO Members agreed to negotiations dealing with
WTO rules on four specific issues: anti-dumping, subsidies and
countervailing measures, fisheries subsidies, and regional
The Doha Ministerial Conference agreed to negotiations aimed
at clarifying and improving disciplines under the Agreements on
Anti-dumping and on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures,
while preserving the basic concepts, principles and
effectiveness of the Agreements. The mandate in paragraph 28 of
the Doha Declaration calls for a two-phased process. The first
phase was essentially exploratory. The second phase was to seek
to clarify and improve the provisions, including disciplines on
trade-distorting practices. During these phases, WTO Members
submitted an extensive range of proposals with more than 150
proposals submitted on anti-dumping.
WTO Members reaffirmed on December 2005 (para 22 of the Hong
KongMinisterial Declaration) their commitment to the rules
negotiations and urged the Rules Group to intensify and
accelerate the negotiating process in all areas of its mandate
at the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration and in Annex D on Rules [PDF 21 KB].
Papers tabled by WTO Members can be downloaded from the WTO's Documents Online database. You will
need to enter TN/RL/W or TN/RL/GEN in the Document Symbol field
in the search form, press Return and all documents under these
symbols will be listed.
On 30 November 2007, the Chair issued Chair's draft
texts on anti-dumping and subsidies. On 21 April 2011, the Chair issued a revised draft text on antidumping and a report on the negotiations on horizontal subsidies disciplines and countervailing measures.
The mandate for the fisheries subsidies negotiations is to
clarify and improve WTO disciplines, taking into account the
importance of this sector to developing countries. The
negotiations are also to enhance the mutual supportiveness of
trade and environment and seek to develop new WTO rules to
prohibit subsidies specific to the fishing sector.
Annex D (PDF) of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration of
December 2005 noted that there is broad agreement that
disciplines on fisheries subsidies should be strengthened and
that certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to
over capacity and over fishing be prohibited. The Ministerial
Declaration called on WTO Members to promptly undertake further
detailed work to, inter alia, establish the nature and
extent of disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector,
including transparency and enforceability. The Declaration also
noted that special and differential treatment for developing
and least-developed Members should be an integral part of these negotiations.
Proposals have been divided between those preferring a
broad-based prohibition with limited exceptions and others
favouring limited, specific prohibitions. The Chair
issued his draft text on fisheries subsidies on 30 November
2007. On 21 April 2011, the Chair issued a report on the fisheries subsidies negotiations.
There are fresh efforts through separate plurilateral negotiations to develop disciplines for fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.
See also the department's World Trade Organization webpage