The meeting is at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center


About the Seattle meeting

These briefing notes describe the situation as it existed at the end of October 1999, prior to the Ministerial Conference of 30 November to 3 December.

They are designed to help journalists and the public understand the key issues of the Seattle Ministerial Conference. While every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate, they are not legal interpretations of the WTO agreements, nor do they prejudice member governments’ positions in the conference and in future negotiations.


Director-General’s message
Seattle Ministerial Conference must deliver for the poorest, says Moore

The Seattle “ministerial”

Built-in Agenda
Work set out in existing agreements

The WTO agreements and developing countries
Problems with implementation

Least-developed countries
WTO DG Moore seeks package for poorest states

Agriculture (1)
The issues

Agriculture (2)
Some agricultural trade statistics

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures
Food safety, etc

Rules for growth and investment

Intellectual property (TRIPS)
Negotiations, implementation and TRIPS Council work

Textiles and clothing
Half-way point of agreement’s implementation

Information technology products
Free trade dawns for a dynamic sector

Trade and environment
Work of the Trade and Environment Committee

Trade and investment
Negotiate, or continue to study?

Trade facilitation
Cutting red tape at the border

Trade and competition policy
Working group set up by Singapore ministerial

Transparency in government procurement
Applying a fundamental WTO principle on how governments buy goods and services

Trade and labour standards
Subject of intense debate

Disputes (1)
Review of the dispute settlement understanding

Disputes (2)
Disputes facts and stats

Electronic commerce
Work programme reflects growing importance

Members and accessions
Becoming a member of the WTO

Some facts and figures
Stats for Seattle

Glossary of terms
An informal guide to ‘WTO speak’

Download these background briefing notes

Word format  (73 pages, 380 KB)
PDF format  (73 pages, 746 KB)