DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDAback to top Lamy says differences require “recalibration” of Hong Kong
expectations, calls for “negotiating spirit” to advance trade talks
Director-General Pascal Lamy, in his
heads of delegations on 10 November, said that informal meetings of a
number of ministers during the past few days have not been able to
bridge differences, which would now require members to “recalibrate”
their expectations for the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference. He
stressed the need to maintain the ambition of the Round, and for Hong
Kong to mark a step forward in successfully completing the talks next
On 26 November, the Director-General introduced the Draft Ministerial
Text for the Sixth Ministerial Conference, at an informal meeting of
heads of delegations.
Find the ‘last bridge’ urgently farm talks chairperson tells
negotiators in pre-Hong Kong report
The agriculture negotiations have made “relatively rapid” progress
since August, the talks’ chairperson, Ambassador Crawford Falconer,
says in a report
to the Trade Negotiations Committee circulated on 25 November. But the
major differences that have prevented agreement on “full modalities”
in the forthcoming Hong Kong Ministerial Conference mean there is a
“compelling urgency” to seize the moment and drive the process to a
conclusion as rapidly as possible, he warns.
Two cotton proposals for Hong Kong conference discussed
Two new or modified proposals on cotton were outlined at the eighth
Cotton Sub-Committee meeting on 18 November: from the four African
proponents (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) and from the EU. These
include proposed actions for ministers to take at the Hong Kong
Ministerial Conference next month.
Lamy to NGOs: your criticism is based on a misunderstanding of
Non-governmental organizations that signed an open letter to the WTO
misunderstand the way a text on services for the Hong Kong Ministerial
Conference is being drafted, the Director-General said in a
released on 18 November. The text is based on ideas from all
participants in the negotiations and at no stage has the chairperson
said that parts of the text can only be removed by consensus, Mr Lamy
ACCESSION back to top
General Council successfully adopts Saudi Arabia’s terms of accession
The General Council formally concluded, on 11 November, negotiations
with Saudi Arabia on the terms of the country’s membership to the WTO.
The General Council Chair, Ambassador Amina Mohamed of Kenya, said
“Members have taken not only a major step towards better international
economic cooperation but they have also allowed the WTO to become more
universal.” Director-General Lamy said that “Saudi Arabia is on its way
to becoming the WTO's 149th Member, paving the way for a stronger
multilateral trading system.”
Ukraine Working Party holds 15th meeting
The Working Party on the Accession of Ukraine held its fifteenth meeting
on 23 November. The Working Party reviewed legislative developments, the
state of play of the bilateral market access negotiations in goods and
services, and examined the third revision of the Draft Report of the
Working Party prepared by the Secretariat. The Working Party agreed to
target the next meeting in the first quarter of 2006 to review progress
on the multilateral and bilateral fronts.
TRADE POLICY REVIEW back to top Romania: Continued liberalization should improve efficiency and
Since its last review in 1999, Romania has continued to liberalize its
trade regime. This, in turn, has contributed to a positive overall
economic performance during the last few years. Romania has also
embarked on a reinvigorated privatization programme to increase
efficiency and attract more foreign investment, still largely untapped
and low by regional standards, according to a WTO Secretariat report on
the trade policies and practices of Romania. Romania’s trade regime
would gain from tariff reforms. Indeed, the reduction of the gap between
applied and bound MFN tariffs, mainly on agricultural products, would
improve the predictability of the regime. Moreover, the reduction of
applied MFN tariffs should contribute to diversify the geographical
pattern of Romania’s trade away from its preferential partners,
according to the report.
Bolivia: The trade regime has improved but greater predictability is
Since its last review in 1999, Bolivia has modernized and simplified its
trade policy but economic growth has been sluggish and investment trends
have proved disappointing, according to a WTO Secretariat Report on the
Trade Policies and Practices of Bolivia. The report notes that it is of
critical importance for Bolivia to increase investment, including
foreign investment, in order to enhance productivity and promote growth.
Bolivia could make significant headway in that direction if it improved
the predictability of its trade and investment regime by undertaking
broader multilateral commitments to consolidate the considerable
liberalization steps it has already taken.This could include new
commitments under the GATS. Although Bolivia has bound all its tariffs,
predictability would be further enhanced by narrowing the gap between
applied and bound tariffs.
DISPUTE SETTLEMENT back to top The DSB adopts rulings on Korean and US anti-dumping measures
On 28 November, the DSB adopted panel report concerning Korea
anti-dumping duties on certain paper from Indonesia (DS312); and panel
and appellate body reports pertaining to United-States anti-dumping
measures on oil country tubular goods from Mexico (DS282).
WTO issues report of compliance panel in softwood lumber dispute
The WTO, on 15 November, issued the report of the panel that had
examined Canada's complaint regarding the implementation of rulings in
the case “United States — Investigation of the International Trade
Commission in Softwood Lumber from Canada.” (DS277).
Appellate Body issues two reports
The Appellate Body issued the following reports:
On 2 November, regarding the complaint of Mexico against the United
States in the dispute “United States — Anti-Dumping Measures on Oil
Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) from Mexico” (WT/DS282/AB/R); and
On 29 November, regarding the complaint of the United States against
Mexico in the dispute “Mexico — Definitive Anti-Dumping Measures on
Beef and Rice, Complaint with Respect to Rice” (WT/DS295/AB/R).
DEVELOPMENT back to top Poorest countries given more time to apply intellectual property rules
Least-developed countries have been given an extension until 1 July 2013
to provide protection for trademarks, copyright, patents and other
intellectual property under the WTO’s agreement, following a decision
reached by member governments on 29 November. The decision by the WTO’s
Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(TRIPS) extends the transition period for least-developed countries by
seven and a half years, and includes commitments on technical assistance
to help them prepare to apply the agreement. The transition period was
due to expire on 1 January 2006, 11 years after the TRIPS Agreement came
Lamy says the Round’s development potential must be preserved
Director-General Pascal Lamy, on 28 November, presented a Secretariat
note on Development Aspects of the Doha Round to the WTO's Committee on
Trade and Development. He said that “what is already on the table can
translate into a good result for development,” adding that “it would
certainly be disastrous if what we have disappears because we fail to
move the negotiations forward”.
Patricia Francis appointed as Executive Director of the International
Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO
Patricia Francis of Jamaica has been appointed as Executive Director of
the International Trade Centre, the joint technical cooperation agency
of UNCTAD and WTO for business aspects of trade development. The
appointment was made by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and WTO
Director-General Pascal Lamy.
WTO Secretariat prepares implementation of the 2006 technical assistance
The Secretariat has started preparations for the implementation of the
WTO Technical Assistance and Training Plan for 2006 for
developing countries. The plan is designed to enable the Secretariat to
pursue in a coherent and cost effective fashion key objectives mandated
by members, including “mainstreaming” trade into national development
and poverty reduction policies, and reflects the principles and
priorities of the Doha Development Agenda.
Meanwhile, the following contributions were made during the month:
Luxembourg has donated EUR 250,000 to the Doha Development Agenda
Global Trust Fund, a contribution that will be used for the
implementation of the activities included in the Technical Assistance
and Training Plan.
The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu
made a contribution of USD 20,000 to the trust fund established for
the purpose of financing the participation of least-developed
countries in the 6th Ministerial Conference.
Iceland is donating to the WTO Doha Development Agenda Global Trust
Fund CHF 60,000 for each of the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 in order to
finance WTO technical assistance activities.
Regional trade policy course for Latin America closes in Santiago, Chile
The closing ceremony for the Regional Trade Policy Course for Latin
America, organized by the WTO in cooperation with the Institute of
International Studies, University of Chile, was held on 25 November. The
course started on 5 September 2005.
The same day, twenty-four government officials from WTO Member States
ended a five-day immersion into the rules and procedures governing the
WTO Dispute Settlement mechanism.
WTO ACTIVITIES back to top WTO Secretariat announces statistics on safeguard measures
The WTO Secretariat, on 16 November, published statistics on
safeguards actions notified by WTO Members pursuant to the Agreement
on Safeguards during the period 1 January 1995 to 30 June 2005.
According to these statistics, a total of 139 safeguard investigations
were initiated during the period, and a total of 68 safeguard measures
were imposed. These totals are relatively low, compared to the 2743
anti-dumping initiations and 1729 anti-dumping measures, and the 176
countervailing duty initiations and 108 countervailing duties measures
notified during the same period.
back to top
Arthur Dunkel: “A life dedicated to a more open and fair world trading
Director-General Pascal Lamy, in a speech on 2 November during a
ceremony in memory of Mr. Arthur Dunkel, said the former GATT
Director-General should be an inspiration in the current trade
negotiations: “he did not change course following the fashion of the
day, but remained firmly committed to his own belief that a more open
and fair trading system is an instrument of peace and prosperity”.