DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDAback to top Lamy warns bilateral agreements are not the “easy way out” from the
Director-General Pascal Lamy, in the Annual Memorial Silver Lecture
at the Columbia University in New York on 31 October, said that
“we must ensure regional trade agreements are complementary — and
not a substitute — to the multilateral trading system”. He added
that “if the multilateral system dies away, so does the positive
potential of regional trade agreements”.
In a speech before the International Trade Committee of the European
Parliament in Brussels on 17 October, Mr. Lamy said the failure of
the trade talks would “not be a major economic shock that would precipitate
any particular market crisis...but rather as a slowly developing disease
that would progressively sap the strength of the multilateral trading
system built up over the past 50 years, damaging its economic lungs,
its political heart, and its systemic bone structure”.
The Director-General, in his report to the General Council on 10 October
as chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee, said that from his contacts
with many trade ministers “it is now obvious that the cost of failure,
and the missed opportunity to rebalance the trading system, would hurt
developing countries more than others”. In a separate statement, he
underscored the importance of moving forward on Aid for Trade despite
the setback in the negotiations.
Mr. Lamy, in a video message to the African Investment Forum on 10
October 2006, said Africa’s agriculture exports and the continent’s
intra-trade would be among the major beneficiaries from a successful
In a keynote speech to the 23rd Assembly of the International Federation
of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations on 11 October, the
Director-General said that “the public is holding their governments
to account for the expectations that’s globalization has raised on
a much wider scale — that an increasingly wealthy and prosperous world
should be making faster progress towards broadly-based economic development,
reducing poverty, and achieving international social and environmental
Union urges trading powers to quickly restart negotiations
The Chairman of the African Union, President Denis Sassou N’Guesso
of Congo, in a statement issued on 27 October, urged “all WTO Members,
and in particular the G-6, to break the current deadlock”. He added
that “for millions of our citizens, the Doha Development Agenda
represents the hope of improving their living standards and freeing
themselves from absolute poverty”.
ACCESSIONSback to top Working party completes Viet Nam’s membership talks
WTO members negotiating the terms of Viet Nam’s membership completed
their task on 26 October by accepting the documents spelling out
Viet Nam’s commitments and rights. The documents will now go to the
full membership in the General Council, which will meet on 7 November,
to decide on accepting Viet Nam.
The Working Party began intensive consultations on 9 October.
submits revised offers
Working Party on the Accession of Tajikistan held its third meeting
on 6 October 2006 to continue its examination of Tajikistan's foreign
trade regime. With new materials from Tajikistan, the Secretariat
will prepare an Elements of a draft Working Party Report for consideration
at the next meeting. Tajikistan submitted revised offers on goods
and services and met bilaterally with interested Members on the
fringes of the Working Party meeting. The Chairman H.E. Mr. C.
indicated that, depending on the arrival of new inputs, the next
meeting could be held in the first half of 2007.
POLICY REVIEWback to top East African Community: Economic progress, but continuation of reform
is still needed
Trade Policy Review Body examined the trade policies and practices
of the East African Community (EAC), composed of Kenya, Tanzania
and Uganda on 25 and 27 October. The EAC members have continued their
economic reform programmes over the last few years aimed at addressing
key challenges, notably poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth
and development, and full integration into the world economy, according
to a WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and practices of
the East African Community. The report notes that further liberalization
of trade and investment, driven both by their commitments in the
WTO, and by their participation in regional trade agreements, have
been major features in this process. But the report also adds that
EAC countries' membership in overlapping trade arrangements makes
their trade regime complex, difficult to manage, and is likely to
limit the proper functioning of the EAC as a customs union. According
to the report, more attention needs to be paid to non-tariff measures
in the full establishment of the EAC customs union (its free-trade-area
and common trade-measure components). In addition, continued structural
reforms and additional trade liberalization by EAC members would
contribute to better resource allocation.
Republic: Impressive progress but continued reform remains important
Trade Policy Review Body reviewed the Kyrgyz Republic's trade policies
and practices on 9 and 11 October. The country has made impressive
progress since its economic and political transition to a market-based
economy, with farm reform, price deregulation, financial sector
liberalization and significant state privatization that have helped
the country face various setbacks such as the Asian and Russian
economic crisis of the late 1990s, according to a WTO Secretariat
report on the trade policies and practices of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The report says that some structural reforms remain unfinished
and that it would be important for the Kyrgyz Republic to diversify
its economy into manufacturing and services and soften the country’s
vulnerable reliance on mining (gold) and agriculture.
DISPUTE SETTLEMENTback to top DSB sets up panels to examine disputes on auto parts, shrimp and steel
At its meeting on 26 October, the Dispute Settlement Body established
three panels to examine, respectively, China’s measures on auto
parts, US measures on shrimp from Thailand, and US anti-dumping
measures on steel from Mexico. Also at the meeting, the US blocked
the first-time request by India for a panel to examine the US customs
bond directive, and, under Other Business, Brazil expressed concern
at the “terrible precedent” set during the process to compose the
compliance panel in the “cotton” case.
Specialized Course on WTO Dispute Settlement ends
On 29 September, 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.
DEVELOPMENT back to top General Council endorses recommendations of Aid for Trade Task Force
The General Council, on 10 October, took note of the report of the Task
Force on Aid for Trade, endorsed its recommendations contained,,
and agreed to the specific next steps outlined in the report.
of the meeting
It’s time for a new “Geneva consensus” on making trade work for development
Director-General Lamy, in the Emile Noel Lecture at the New York University
Law School on 30 October 2006, stressed that “a fundamental aspect
of the current Round is to correct the remaining imbalances in trade
rules in favour of developing countries and to improve rules that
will provide developing countries with authentic market opportunities”.
On 12 October, Mr. Lamy held an online chat with representatives from
developing countries. The 196 government officials participating
in a course on the WTO, organized by the Institute for Training and
Technical Co-operation on its eTraining website, were invited to
looks at cocoa trade
At the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) meeting on 4 October,
the International Cocoa Organization made a presentation on the world
cocoa economy and on aspects of the organization's work. It was agreed
that a panel discussion bringing together a number of organizations
working on commodity issues would be a useful way to move forward
under this agenda item. The Committee also agreed to consider inviting
the International Coffee Organization on a meeting-by-meeting basis
to attend future discussions on commodities.
The Committee reverted to the notifications made by ASEAN and China under
the Enabling Clause in 2005 and the questions raised on the notifications
by the EC, the US and Japan. Members agreed that the Chairman should
continue to consult informally to find an acceptable way to conclude
the Committee's consideration of the notifications. The Chairman
will report to the Committee on his consultations at the last meeting
of the year, scheduled for 28 November 2006.
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. At the request
of a number of delegations, the item will remain on the CTD's agenda.
Under the agenda item concerning the Hong Kong Decision to provide duty-free
and quota free (DFQF) market access for LDCs, Bangladesh made a statement
on behalf of the LDC Group outlining the Group's view that the appropriate
forum to discuss the Decision at this point in time was the CTD in
Special Session. Under the same agenda item, Korea informed the Committee
that it was working on expanding its provision of DFQF market access
to LDCs, and the US and Japan confirmed that their domestic processes
to implement the Decision were ongoing and on schedule.
The Chairman proposed that the CTD's discussion of the developmental
aspects of the negotiations under paragraph 51 of the Doha Declaration
be temporarily put on hold, in view of the suspension of the negotiations.
The Committee will consider how to proceed with this agenda item
at its last meeting of the year.
The Committee appointed Ambassador Jean Feyder (Luxembourg) as Chairman
of the Sub Committee on Least-Developed Countries.
bodies join forces to advise OIE animal health and welfare fund
Five international organizations met for the first time in Paris on 20
October to advise the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on funding
to help developing countries meet international standards for dealing
with disease outbreaks and related issues.
organizes two e-training courses for developing-country officials
Two online introduction courses, in French and Spanish respectively,
on the WTO and its Basic Principles will be organized in parallel on
the eTraining website for government officials from developing countries
from 23 October to 1 December 2006.
Korea, Denmark contribute to WTO technical assistance
Germany’s contribution to the Standards and Trade Development Facility
(STDF) will assist developing countries in improving compliance with
international sanitary and phytosanitary standards which must be
met if imports of certain products are to gain access to foreign
The Republic of Korea has announced a contribution of USD 200,000
to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund.
The Danish government has donated DKK 14 million (CHF 3 million) to
support technical assistance and training activities in favour of developing
countries for the years 2006 and 2007.
ACTIVITIESback to top 2006 import licensing review completed
vehicles, agricultural products, footwear, toys, steel, iron and
copper ores, lithium carbonate and licensing regimes in general,
were among the import licensing issues discussed when the committee
handling this subject reviewed 46 information documents from members
on 30 October and completed its latest biennial review.
Lankan cinnamon’s future brightens, SPS Committee told
Clouds overhanging Sri Lanka’s cinnamon exports to the EU are dissipating
thanks to bilateral talks and the swift approval of new international
standards, the WTO committee handling food safety and animal and
plant health heard in its 11-12 October meeting. But some developing
countries continued to be concerned about EU “novel food” regulations,
and several continued to press for a discussion on private sector
Group discusses technology transfer and services
the Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology (WGTTT)
meeting on 6 October, preliminary views were raised about the
possibility of trade in services leading to appropriate technology
transfer. In addition, the representative of UNCTAD briefed Members
on their recent work on "Trends in Cross Border Flows of Technology".
It was pointed out that UNCTAD had identified six indicators
to assess cross-border technology flows: payment of royalties
and licensing fees by the users to technology providers; trade
in capital goods; trade in business and professional services;
number of patents filed; the flow and expenditure of transnational
corporations in R&D; and the growth of industrial alliances.
the agenda item relating to the consideration of possible recommendations
on steps that might be taken within the mandate of the WTO to increase
flows of technology to developing countries, India, Pakistan and
the Philippines introduced a room document elaborating upon some
of the recommendations contained in an earlier submission tabled
by them. The document provided written responses and clarification
to the questions that some developed countries had posed on the
issues raised in their submission.
questions spill over into regular Agriculture Committee
WTO farm talks are suspended, and in any case they do not take
place in the regular Agriculture Committee, but they still featured
in the committee’s meeting on 31 October, in particular members’
failure to supply up-to-date information.
fields 150 questions from around the world in online chat
a hundred participants from around the world posed some 150 questions
in on online chat hosted by Director-General Lamy on 18 October.
Questions touched on the prospects for the resumption of the
Doha Round, the possible impact of failure, and the future of