DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA back to top Lamy calls for continuous negotiations as chairs report modalities
deadline will be missed
Director-General Pascal Lamy told journalists on 24 April that “we may
have missed the deadline but we are not in deadlock”.
Earlier, in a statement at an informal meeting of heads of
delegations, he said that “genuine and important progress has been
made, but not fast enough to allow us to reach agreement on modalities
by the end of the month”. He said that “from now on, the process to
reach modalities will be continuous, Geneva-based, and focused on
texts — and we should aim at finishing this work in a matter of weeks
rather than months”.
The Director-General, in a speech to the Indian Council for Research
on International Relations in New Delhi on 6 April, called on India to
contribute to a “win-win” outcome in the trade talks, stressing that
it “has a lot at stake given its interest across the entire
negotiating agenda and given the dynamism of its economy”. He added
that the developing world would be the “the main losers from a failure
of the Round”.
On 18 April, Mr. Lamy praised Rob Portman, outgoing US Trade
Representative, for his contribution to the global trading system
while welcoming the announcement by US President George Bush that
Deputy US Trade Representative Susan Schwab, has been nominated as Mr.
Portman's successor. Mr. Portman has been nominated by President Bush
to serve as White House Budget Director.
Chairperson’s reference papers, April 2006
In early April 2006, Ambassador Crawford Falconer, chairperson of the
agriculture negotiations, circulated a set of reference papers for the
last week of agriculture negotiations before the 30 April deadline for
“modalities”. These reference papers represent preliminary texts for
preparing modalities on food aid, exporting state trading enterprises
and export credits (in the export competition pillar), and the Blue
Box and Green Box (in domestic support). In notes, he outlined his
assessment and plans for meetings.
TRADE POLICY REVIEWback to top United Arab Emirates: A generally liberal economy whose performance
could further improve with structural reform
Trade Policy Review Body, on 24 and 26 April, conducted its first
review of the trade policies and practices of the United Arab
Emirates. The review was chaired by Ambassador Claudia Uribe
(Colombia) with Dr. Alexander Gross (Germany) acting as discussant.
The UAE’s generally liberal and increasingly diversified economy, the
importance of trade for its economic performance, its relatively low
border barriers to trade, and its growing economic power make it an
increasingly important supporter of the multilateral trading system,
according to a report on the trade policies and practices of the UAE
by the WTO Secretariat.
The economy has grown by 6% per year on average over the past decade
and 9% in 2003-2005, although, despite some diversification, the UAE
still depends on crude oil and gas exports for a significant share of
its national income. But internal barriers to trade, resulting largely
from the absence of a competition policy, institutional weaknesses,
and restrictions on foreign participation in the economy, are
impediments to doing business in the UAE and are hindering the
diversification into services, a sector that is rapidly becoming a
The report says that structural reforms, including the abolition of
the restrictive Trade Agency Law, the adoption of competition
legislation, and further liberalization of and multilateral
commitments in the services sector, would improve resource allocation
and the UAE’s economic performance.
China: Economic reform has produced impressive results but important
Trade Policy Review Body, on 19 and 21 April, conducted its first review
of the trade policies and practices of the People's Republic of China.
The review was chaired by Ambassador Uribe with Ambassador Burhan Gafoor
(Singapore) acting as discussant.
China's gradual economic reforms have opened the economy to
international trade and investment and have made it one of the fastest
growing in the world, with a nearly nine-fold increase in GDP per capita
since 1978, according to a WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies
and practices of China.
Ongoing trade and structural reforms, given added impetus by China's
membership of the WTO since 2001, have made it the world's third largest
trader and one of the largest FDI recipients. These reforms have also
reduced the proportion of China's population living in poverty from 73%
in 1990 to 32% in 2003. At the same time, however, income disparity has
increased, especially between the coastal and inland regions and between
urban and rural areas. Trade and investment barriers have declined
considerably, in part due to WTO commitments. Nevertheless, the report
notes that the Government continues to intervene to “manage” trade,
including for domestic supply considerations.
Continued structural reform will increase unemployment in certain
sectors and over 100 million jobs will need to be created over the next
decade. The report suggests it may be necessary to reappraise the
current policy to attract investment to export-oriented capital
intensive manufacturing and to place greater emphasis on removing
impediments to the expansion of the services sector. The Government also
needs to accelerate its efforts to raise the quality of the labour force
in order to move away from traditional low-skilled, labour-intensive
industries into higher value-added production. Other challenges include
bottlenecks in infrastructure as well as the continued need to
restructure the financial sector and capital markets by making them more
DISPUTE SETTLEMENTback to top DSB considers aircraft disputes brought by the US and EC
At the DSB meeting on 21 April the US requested the establishment of a
panel in reference to EU measures in large civil aircraft (DS316), and
the EC requested for the fourth time the initiation of the procedures
for developing information-gathering under Annex V of the SCM Agreement
in reference to US measures in large civil aircraft (DS317).
The Appellate Body,
On 18 April, issued its report regarding the case “United States —
Laws, Regulations and Methodology for Calculating Dumping Margins
(“Zeroing”)” (DS294), which was brought by the European
Communities to the WTO.
On 13 April, issued its report regarding the compliance panel report
in the case “United States — Investigation of the International
Trade Commission in Softwood Lumber from Canada” (DS277).
Body news archive
On 3 April, the WTO issued the report of the panel that had examined the
case United States — Final Dumping Determination on Softwood Lumber
from Canada — Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Canada.
The 12th Geneva Week for Non Resident Members and Observers was held
at the WTO from 24 to 28 April. The Chairpersons of the various
negotiating groups provided participants with briefing sessions on the
latest developments under the Doha Development Agenda in such key
areas as agriculture, non agricultural market access, services,
development, intellectual property rights, rules, trade and
environment and trade facilitation. There was also be a briefing on
Aid for Trade.
In addition, participants attended meetings of the Sub-Committee on
Cotton and the Committee on Trade and Development's Dedicated Session
on Small Economies. Also featured during the 12th Geneva Week, were
presentations by the Advisory Centre on WTO Law and the Agency for
International Trade Information and Cooperation (AITIC).
15 small economies ask for extension of export-subsidy programmes
Fifteen small economies, on 25 April, presented to the Committee on
Subsidies and Countervailing Measures a proposal to extend until 2018
their ability to maintain export-subsidy programmes. Barbados, on
behalf of the other co-sponsors (Antigua and Barbuda; Belize;
Dominica; Dominican Republic; El Salvador; Fiji; Grenada; Jamaica;
Mauritius; Papua New Guinea; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; and St.
Vincent and the Grenadines), said that as small and vulnerable
economies, they need the policy space to maintain these programmes
which it said are important components of their development
Novel debate on EU’s food regulation
A proposed revision of the EU regulation on novel foods has aroused
the concern of several developing countries, mainly from Latin
America, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Committee learned in
its 29–30 March meeting. The proposed regulation is designed to
protect consumers but it can still be amended, the EU said. Almost a
week of informal and formal meetings also saw continued discussion on
regionalization and special and differential treatment for developing
countries, and heard updates on the situation in various countries on
avian influenza, foot and mouth disease and other diseases or pests.
The week ended with a workshop on implementation.
35th and 36th WTO Trade Policy Courses end
Fifty-two government officials from developing countries and economies
in transition concluded on 7 April a three-month immersion into the
The US pledges $1 million to technical assistance
The US Trade Representative Rob Portman announced on 6 April 2006 a
contribution of nearly $1 million for trade-related technical assistance
(TRTA) to the WTO. “Breaking down trade barriers is essential to
economic growth and poverty reduction, but we must ensure that
developing countries have the tools to take advantage of these new
market openings,” he said.
back to top
Trade picks up in mid-2005, but 2006 picture is uncertain
World trade began 2005 with sluggish growth and then regained momentum
to end the year registering 6% growth in the volume of goods traded, WTO
economists say. There are a number of uncertainties on the horizon for
2006, with signs of a stronger investment climate mixed with fragile
prospects for consumption and employment, particularly in Europe, they
say. WTO economists predict 7% growth in the volume of goods trade (i.e.
in real terms, discounting price changes) and 3.5% growth in the world
economy in 2006. A similar pattern can be seen for trade in goods and
services measured in dollars even though the numbers are different
because of higher energy prices, they say.
“The global trading system is undergoing a period of transition,” said
Director-General Lamy. “Shifting economic circumstances, major advances
in technology and the emergence of new players on the global scene all
underscore that we are on the cusp of big changes. Persistent
imbalances, driven largely by macro-economic factors continue to be a
cause for concern in some major economies. In such a climate of
uncertainty, one thing is certain, Member governments must strengthen
the global trading system by making it more equitable and relevant for
those who trade in the 21st century. There can be no doubt that the best
way to DO this would be to conclude this year an ambitious agreement in
the Doha round of global trade negotiations.”
Working Paper: The Impact of Disasters on International Trade
In this paper, WTO economists examine the impact of major disasters on
international trade flows using a gravity model. Our panel data
consists of more than 170 countries for the years 1962-2004 yielding
approximately 300,000 observations. They find that the driving forces
determining the impact of such events are the democracy level and, to
a lesser extent, the area of the affected country. The less democratic
and the smaller a country the more are its trade flows reduced in case
it is struck by a disaster. They are also able to distinguish between
the effect of a disaster on an importing and an exporting country.
Working Paper: Liberalizing Financial Services Trade in Africa--Going
Regional and Multilateral
This paper analyses the possible gains from regional and multilateral
liberalization of financial services trade for African countries
taking into account the implications of such liberalization for
financial regulation and capital account liberalization. It also
describes existing efforts to integrate financial markets within four
African regions (WAEMU, CEMAC, SADC and COMESA) and discusses the
existing GATS commitments of the relevant countries with respect to
financial services. Although the regions differ significantly, there
is scope for further regional integration in all of them. Significant
scope also exists for further multilateral liberalization of financial
services, in particular with respect to Mode3.
Secretariat Note: Market Access Issues Related to Products of Export
Interest Originating from Least Developed Countries
In 2004, LDCs as a group accounted for 0.6 per cent of world exports
and 0.8 per cent of world imports. In growth terms, their performance
has been mixed over the past 15 years. Between 1990 and 1999, the
growth of LDC exports and imports was less than that of world exports,
but since then the growth of LDC exports exceeded that of world
exports. Of particular note is the significant growth rate of exports
posted by LDCs in 2004, which was 34 per cent, compared to 21 per cent
for world exports. This figure, however, is for all LDCs and masks
considerable variance in the performance of individual countries. Five
oil exporters as a group, which account for 47 per cent of total LDC
exports, experienced a growth rate of 52 per cent, whereas
manufacturing and commodity exporters experienced growth rates of 19
and 22 per cent, respectively. Eight LDCs, all commodity exporters,
experienced negative growth rates.