DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDAback to top General Council supports suspension of trade talks, Task Force submits
“Aid for Trade” recommendations
The General Council, at its meeting on 27-28 July, supported a recommendation
by Director-General Pascal Lamy to suspend the Doha negotiations.
The Task Force on Aid for Trade submitted its report and recommendations
aimed at helping developing countries increase exports of goods
> Summary of the meeting
The Doha Development Agenda negotiations were suspended because gaps
between key players remain too wide. Heads of delegations, speaking
in an informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee on 24 July,
agreed with the Director-General that this will be a setback for all
Mr. Lamy told the Group of Eight Summit in St. Petersburg on 17 July
that his consultations have only shown “marginal” movement in the negotiations
and the responsibility now lies with leaders of the major economies
to give their ministers more room to negotiate.
On 10 July, he welcomed the Negotiating Group on Rules' formal approval
of a new WTO transparency mechanism for all regional trade agreements
The Director-General Pascal, in a statement to the National Press Club
in Tokyo on 6 July, said that “if members are serious about creating
a more open, equitable and relevant trading system, there is no option
but to move now”.
Ministers have failed to narrow their differences on the “modalities”
or template agreements that are needed to compile detailed
cuts in tariffs and agricultural subsidies, and members have
asked Director-General Lamy to try to broker a compromise “as
soon as possible”. Members also shared his assessment that
the negotiations are now in crisis. A formal meeting on 1 July
2006 of the Trade Negotiations Committee, which comprises the
entire WTO membership, brought to an end about three days of
discussions among a representative group of ministers. No progress
was made in trying to narrow the gaps on formulas for reducing
tariffs and subsidies, various flexibilities, and other disciplines
that would be in the “modalities”.
TRADE POLICY REVIEWback to top Nicaragua: Recent economic progress could be sustained by more multilateral
The Trade Policy Review Body reviewed the trade policies and practices
of Nicaragua on 24 and 26 July. Since its last review in 1999, Nicaragua
has experienced a favourable economic development with moderate GDP
growth, control of the fiscal deficit, and reduction of external
debt to sustainable levels, thanks to a macroeconomic adjustment
programme, and a policy to keep markets open, according to the WTO
Secretariat report. The report notes that during the period under
review, Nicaragua eliminated the import surcharge introduced in 1994,
redrafted or amended its legislation in many areas, made scant use
of contingency measures, applied limited non-tariff barriers and
made improvements in areas such as import procedures, customs valuation,
and intellectual property protection, while additional reforms are
under consideration. Nevertheless, while the average MFN tariff is
relatively low, it has increased over the past years due largely
to the continuation of the process of harmonization under the Central
American Common Market.
Socio-political stability and ambitious reforms could improve economic
Trade Policy Review Body, on 3 and 5 July, conducted the second review
of the trade policies and practices of Togo. Socio-political stability,
ambitious reforms, and intensification of multilateral commitments
on trade in goods and services could create a business friendly climate
in Togo and make its trade regime more transparent, more credible
and more predictable, according to the WTO Secretariat report. Such
reforms would consolidate the current macro economic situation and
stimulate much needed private investment now almost absent because
of, inter alia, the socio-political instability in Togo and its poor
macroeconomic performance. The report notes that such efforts would
be supported by the international community through enhanced market
access for Togo’s goods and services, and favourable response to
its technical assistance needs.
ACTIVITIESback to top Goods Council approves waiver for EC's trade preference scheme for
the Western Balkans
Council for Trade in Goods, on 12 July, approved the European Communities'
request for a waiver on its trade preference scheme for the Western
Balkans and agreed to forward it to the General Council for adoption.
Dominican Republic joins WTO's Information Technology Agreement
Committee of Participants on the Expansion of Trade in Information
Technology Products approved, on 7 July, the participation of the
Dominican Republic, which became the 68th member of the WTO's Information
Technology Agreement (ITA).
Council: EC presents implementing regulation on public health decision
Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights,
on 14-15 June, took note of new notifications made under various
provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. In this context, the European
Communities introduced a new EC regulation on compulsory licensing
of patents to implement the recent WTO Decisions on the implementation
of paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and
The Council took note of the outstanding material required to complete the
pending reviews of eight members. Regarding the review of national implementing
legislation of Saudi Arabia, it set target dates for the submission of questions
The Council continued its discussion of the agenda items on the review of the
provisions of Article 27.3(b), the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement
and the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the protection of traditional
knowledge and folklore on the basis of contributions by members.
The Council had before it three new communications: from Japan on “The Patent
System and Genetic Resources”; from Norway on “Amending the TRIPS Agreement
to Introduce an Obligation to Disclose the Origin of Genetic Resources and
Traditional Knowledge in Patent Applications”; and from Brazil, China, Cuba,
India, Pakistan, Peru, Thailand and Tanzania on a disclosure proposal, which
they requested to be circulated also as a TRIPS Council document. Colombia
requested to be listed as a co-sponsor.
It agreed that the Chair hold further consultations on how the Council should
organize its future work on the review of the application of the provisions
of the Section on geographical indications under Article 24.2.
The Council agreed that the annual review of technical cooperation be held
at its meeting scheduled for 25-26 October 2006. In preparation for this, it
invited developed country members to supply information on their activities
pursuant to Article 67 of the TRIPS Agreement. Other Members who also make
available technical cooperation were encouraged to share information on these
activities if they so wished. Furthermore, intergovernmental organizations
that have observer status in the TRIPS Council and the WTO Secretariat were
invited to provide information on their activities of relevance.
This information was requested by 29 September 2006 to allow its timely circulation
before the October meeting. The Secretariat reported on action to enhance technical
cooperation in favour of LDCs, including in cooperation with WIPO, as called
for by the Decision on “Extension of the Transition Period under Article 66.1
for Least-Developed Country Members”.
On the request of the European Communities, the Council had a further exchange
on the communications from the European Communities on “Enforcement of Intellectual
Other agenda items that the Council took up were non-violation and situation
complaints, the review of implementation of the TRIPS Agreement under Article
71.1; observer status for international intergovernmental organizations; and
information on relevant developments elsewhere in the WTO.
Under “Other Business”, the Council agreed on the arrangements for its fourth
annual review of developed country members' reports on their implementation
of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement. The Council requested developed country
Members to submit new detailed reports on actions they had taken or planned
in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2 by 29 September, in order
to allow their timely circulation and review at the Council's meeting scheduled
for 25-26 October.
ACCESSIONSback to top Bilaterals done, multilateral nearly, Viet Nam’s membership now
chairperson of Viet Nam’s membership negotiations aims to secure
final agreement at the General Council meeting in October, he told
the talks’ working party on 19 July.
submits revised offers on goods and services
The Working Party on the Accession of Yemen, at its third meeting on
7 July, continued its examination of Yemen's foreign trade regime
on the basis of documentation provided by Yemen and a Revised Factual
Summary of Points Raised prepared by the Secretariat. Yemen is
to provide further inputs and a revised legislative action plan
prior to the next meeting. It submitted revised offers on goods
and services and met bilaterally with interested Members on the
fringes of the Working Party meeting. China announced that it had
concluded its market access negotiations with Yemen. Revised offers
are to be submitted in advance of the next meeting. No date was
fixed for the next meeting but it may be held in early-2007.
tables initial offer on goods
Working Party on the Accession of Montenegro to the WTO, at its
second meeting on 5 July, received positively the latest information
on foreign trade regime of Montenegro and the initial offer on
goods. The meeting proceeded in an expeditious and business-like
manner. The delegation from Montenegro was led by Dr. Gordana
Djurovic, Minister for International Economic Relations and European
Integration. The timing of the next meeting will be fixed once
new inputs have been received from Montenegro.
DISPUTE SETTLEMENTback to top WTO appoints new Appellate Body Member
The WTO Dispute Settlement Body appointed, on 31 July, Mr. David Unterhalter,
aged 47, of South Africa to the seven-member Appellate Body to
replace the late Mr John Lockhart who passed away in January.
DSB establishes panels in reference to shrimp and gambling services
The Dispute Settlement Body, on 19 July, established a panel to examine
US measures on shrimp from Ecuador (DS335) and a compliance panel
to review US implementation of “gambling” rulings (DS285).
DEVELOPMENT back to top WTO Working Group discusses paper on technology transfer to developing
The Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology, on 13 July, in
its consideration of possible recommendations on steps that might
be taken within the mandate of the WTO to increase flows of technology
to developing countries, discussed an earlier submission tabled by
India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
The proponents provided detailed responses and clarification to the
questions that some developed countries had posed which mainly related
to issues on “the linkage between Articles 66.2, 67 and 7 of the TRIPS
“the meaning of formal adoption of voluntary guidelines”; “the
intent of the establishment of mechanisms for the formation, assessment
and implementation of technological standards”; and “the development
of mechanisms to disseminate and exchange information on investment
and technology-related incentives and best practices”. These issues
will remain on the agenda of the next meeting.
Members continued their consideration of the relationship between trade
and transfer of technology and had a useful discussion, including
in the context of two studies that were introduced by UNCTAD (“Salmon
Industry in Chile”) and UNIDO (“Technology Transfer and Trade: The
Toy Industry in India”) at the last meeting of the Working Group.
In addition to highlighting the importance of the mandate of the Working
Group to developing countries and to the development dimension of
the Doha Round, some members stressed the need for assessing the
impact of multilateral trade rules on technology flows. Members have
been encouraged to make country presentations, highlighting through
national examples, the role that trade can play in facilitating technology
Chair highlights progress on agreement-specific proposals
the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Development meeting
on 7 July, the Chairman, Amb. Burhan Gafoor (Singapore) briefed
delegations on the status of work on the remaining Agreement-specific
proposals. He highlighted the progress made on seven of the proposals
and stressed the need for members to seek elements of convergence,
on the remaining nine proposals, so that he could start a text-based
discussion on them too.
Zambia, on behalf of the LDCs, made a presentation on the two papers
they had recently submitted, one on Rules of Origin and the other on
Market Access . Both papers are intended to contribute to the discussions
on the duty-free and quota-free market access decision. Notwithstanding
the reservations expressed by some delegations, these submissions will
be discussed further in the next meeting of the Special Session.
Under the agenda item on the outstanding issues, the discussions
mainly focused on the Monitoring Mechanism, with members agreeing that
it was important to reach an understanding on the scope of the Mechanism.
The Secretariat will be preparing a compilation of all the earlier
submissions made on the Monitoring Mechanism.
resumes discussion of ASEAN-China FTA
Committee on Trade and Development, during its regular session on 6
July resumed its discussion on the notifications made by Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China under the Enabling Clause.
There was no agreement on a request that answers submitted bilaterally
by ASEAN and China to the European Communities, the United States and
Japan be shared with all members and circulated as a CTD document.
The Chairman said he would consult with the concerned members and report
back to the CTD at its next meeting.
Discussion continued on the EC's notification under the Enabling Clause
concerning its revised GSP scheme and the EC's written responses to questions
posed by Brazil, China, India and Pakistan. The item will remain on the
agenda for the next meeting.
Under the agenda item concerning the Hong Kong Decision to provide duty-free
and quota free market access (DFQF) for LDCs, Japan submitted a note
explaining the steps it would take to implement the Decision. Zambia,
on behalf of the LDC Group, said that work in the CTD was only one aspect
of the Decision and drew Members' attention to two recent submissions
made by the Group to the CTD in Special Session (on rules of origin and
on DFQF market access implementation of the Decision).
The Committee continued its review of the developmental aspects of the
negotiations and discussed the Secretariat's recently revised paper in
this regard. Delegations welcomed the paper and many emphasized its usefulness
as a document which shows the potential of the Round to make a contribution
to development. Members urged the Secretariat to continue revising the
paper to reflect developments in the Round.
The Committee listened to presentations by the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) on commodities and by the EC on its Export Helpdesk for Developing
Finally, a representative of the Institute for Training and Technical
Cooperation (ITTC) appealed to donors to make urgent contributions to
the Global Trust Fund for technical assistance.
management bodies adopt recommendations on an enhanced IF
The two IF management bodies, the IF
Working Group and the IF Steering Committee adopted, on 5 July, the
recommendations for an enhanced Integrated Framework.
discuss Secretariat studies on LDC trade
The Sub-Committee on Least-Developed
Countries, on 12 July, under the item on Market Access for LDCs took
up two Notes prepared by the Secretariat.
resumed its consideration of the Note entitled “Market Access Issues
Related to Products of Export Interest Originating from Least-Developed
Countries”. In view of requests from delegations at the previous meeting,
the Secretariat provided additional information on tariff measures facing
LDC exports in selected markets.
The Sub-Committee had a first substantive discussion on the Note prepared
by the Secretariat, pursuant to a request by the Sub-Committee at the
previous meeting, entitled “Non-Tariff Measures on Products of Export
Interest to the LDCs”. In light of its substantive content, the Sub-Committee
agreed to continue its examination at its next meeting.
The delegation of Benin introduced the Cotonou Ministerial Declaration
as well as the Cotonou Strategy, which resulted from the Ministerial
Meeting of the LDCs held in Cotonou from 5 to 8 June to prepare for the
mid-term comprehensive global review of the Brussels Programme of Action
for the LDCs for the Decade 2001-2010. The LDCs requested for faithful
implementation of the commitments made by the international community
through the Brussels Programme of Action.
WTO Trade Policy Course ends
Director of the Institute for Training
and Technical Co-operation Paul Rolian, on 25 July, chaired a diploma
ceremony held on the occasion of the closure of the 37th Trade Policy
Course conducted in Spanish.
On 7 July, twenty-four government officials from WTO Members and Observers
ended a five-day immersion into the rules and procedures governing the
WTO Dispute Settlement mechanism.
the Czech Republic and Spain contribute to WTO technical assistance
government has donated Yen 50 million (CHF 572,727) to finance 2006
and training activities organized by the WTO.
The Government of the Czech Republic
has given CZK 1,5 million (CHF 76,173) to the WTO Doha
Development Agenda Global Trust Fund.
The Spanish Government, on 1 July
2006, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the WTO over a contribution
of EUR 342,000 (approximately CHF 532,000) to finance technical assistance
and training activities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
NEW PUBLICATIONSback to top WTO World Trade Report focuses on subsidies
Government subsidies can be useful instruments in correcting market
failures and working towards social objectives but can also distort
trade and provoke strong responses from trading partners, according
to the WTO’s 2006 World Trade Report which was launched on 24 July.
“WTO economists have carefully scrutinized the use and the impact
of government support in a variety of sectors. While some subsidies
can benefit society and can offset the negative externalities of
economic activity, other types of government support are clearly
more controversial and can be damaging. One significant part of
our Doha round negotiations involves reducing subsidies which distort
trade while encouraging governments to use other forms of support
which can facilitate development and environmental protection.
Shifting support in this way is politically difficult and requires
determination and courage, but the evidence is clear that such
reforms can level the playing field and provide real rewards across
the board,” said Director-General Lamy.