HONG KONG BRIEFING NOTES Briefing notes on the Ministerial and the main issues

These briefing notes describe the situation as it exists at the time of going to press (mid-November 2005).

They are designed to help journalists and the public understand the key issues of the Hong Kong 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 the negotiations.

Past WTO Ministerials:
> Cancún, 2003
> Doha, 2001
> Seattle, 1999
> Geneva, 1998
> Singapore, 1996

Further information:
> The WTO in brief
> Understanding the WTO:
Introduction to the WTO

Director-General’s letter to journalists

The Doha Development Agenda
A brief summary of some of the items on the Agenda

‘Modalities’ would boost entire round

Special focus as an agriculture negotiations issue

One member's obligation is another member's right

Market access, non-agricultural products
Still sorting out ‘modalities’

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

Trade facilitation
Cutting red tape at the border

Rules: ad, SCM including fisheries subsidies
Negotiations to clarify and improve disciplines

Rules: regional agreements
Building blocks or stumbling blocks?

Dispute settlement
Force of argument, not argument of force

Trade and environment
The “win-win” potential for trade and environment

Small economies
Trade challenges for small economies

Trade, debt and finance
WTO’s contribution to solving debt and financial crises

Trade and technology transfer
Exporting knowledge

Technical cooperation
A joint effort to build capacity in developing countries

Least-developed countries
Enhancing trade opportunities

Special and differential treatment
Stronger support for development

Implementation issues
Progress made but some difficult issues remain

Electronic commerce
Work continues on issues needing clarification

Members and accessions
Becoming a member of the WTO

149 governments, as of 11 December 2005, with date of membership.

Discussions continue on a long-standing issue

Textiles and Clothing

Facts and Figures

Jargon buster
Country groupings

Jargon buster
An informal guide to ‘WTOspeak’

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