Ambassador McCook said the “strictly factual and objective” briefing by the WTO Secretariat will set out the process and issues in the negotiations up to April 2011, when the last Chair text outlining the state of play in the rules negotiations was issued. The briefing is a compromise between some members who wanted to convene a stocktaking workshop and others who questioned the utility of a workshop in addressing what they view as old issues.
A separate discussion open to all WTO members on the role they envision for rules in the post-Bali work programme will take place in the afternoon of 4 May as part of the regular Negotiating Group session. Ambassador McCook noted there were varying degrees of interest for including different elements of rules in the work programme. While some members have indicated that inclusion of anti-dumping and fisheries subsidies are a priority for inclusion, others have indicated they could envision a work programme that does not include rules.
The chair said he believed proponents “recognized the need for recalibration and are prepared to engage concretely in the search for doables, although the degree of ambition varies among them.”
WTO members agreed at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference to produce a “clearly defined” work programme on advancing the remaining Doha Round issues. The WTO’s General Council subsequently agreed in November that the work programme should be finalized by July 2015.
The Doha Round negotiations on rules relate to the following subject matter: the Agreement on Implementation of Article VI of GATT 1994 (better known as the Anti-dumping Agreement); the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and, in this context, WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies; and WTO provisions applying to regional trade agreements.
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