Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

Overview of trade facilitation work in 2003

In 2003, Members continued their work on trade facilitation under the Doha mandate. Discussions in the first half of the year mainly took place in the Goods Council, where delegations carried out the Work Program they had adopted for the time until the Fifth Ministerial Conference. Two formal meetings (12-13 March and 12-13 June) provided a forum to discuss the three issues Members had decided to take up as core agenda items: (i) GATT Articles V, VIII and X, (ii) trade facilitation needs and priorities of members, especially of developing and least-developed countries, and (iii) technical assistance and capacity building.

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> Trade facilitation work in 2003

Trade facilitation work in 2002

Trade facilitation work in 2001
Trade facilitation in the preparatory work for the Doha Ministerial Conference, (2001)

Trade facilitation work in 2000
De-restricted papers submitted until end of 2000

Work from mid-1998 until end of 1999
> Trade Facilitation in the preparatory work for the Seattle Ministerial Conference (1999)

Work in the WTO until mid-1998

In the course of those meetings, Members continued their previous discussions of proposals(1) by delegations on how to possibly improve and clarify GATT Articles V, VIII and X. They further outlined some of their trade facilitation needs and priorities and were briefed on various trade facilitation-related technical assistance and capacity building activities undertaken by donor Members, the WTO and other international organizations. Nine written contributions were submitted to the Council, of which 6 originated from Members (Australia G/C/W/466, Canada G/C/W/448, European Communities G/C/W/442 Rev.1, Japan G/C/W/465, New Zealand G/C/W/449, and the United States G/C/W/451), 2 came from observers (OECD , and WCO G/C/W/467) and 1 was prepared by the WTO Secretariat G/C/W/463. Two additional documents summarized the work of the Council (G/L/637 and G/L/665). (For a more detailed overview of the CTG's work on this issue, see its last report to the General Council: G/L/665).

Following the June meeting, trade facilitation work continued under the auspices of the General Council, with a series of informal consultations in June, July and August. Those consultations, which were conducted by the Chairman of the CTG as a “friend” of the Chair of the General Council, focused on how to approach the decision to be taken at the Fifth Ministerial Conference in the area of trade facilitation. A first draft Cancun Ministerial text was circulated by the GC Chair at the end of July (JOB(03)/150), which was subsequently revised (24 August, JOB(03)/150/Rev.1, and 13 September, JOB(03)/150/Rev.2).

The final Cancun Ministerial statement noted that, while “considerable progress” was made, “more work needs to be done in some key areas to enable us to proceed towards the conclusion of the negotiations in fulfilment of the commitments we took at Doha”. Ministers instructed their officials “to continue working on outstanding issues with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose and taking fully into account all the views we have expressed in this Conference”. They further undertook to maintain the convergence where it had been reached, while “working for an acceptable overall outcome”. Members reaffirmed all their Doha Declarations and Decisions and recommitted themselves to working to implement them fully and faithfully. Full text of the Ministerial statement.


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For an overview of all proposals by delegations in the discussion on trade facilitation, see document “Review, clarification and improvement of GATT Articles V, VIII and X — Proposals made by Delegations” (G/C/W/434). Back to text
2. The OECD paper was not circulated as a formal CTG document.

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Overview of written contributions provided to the CTG on Trade Facilitation in 2003 back to top


Member / Other Source


Title and Topic

G/C/W/442 Rev.1


10 March 2003

Information on Trade Related Assistance by the EC and its Member States



10 March 2003

Possible Linkages Between Trade Facilitation Principles, Measures, Potential Benefits and Trade-Related Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building


New Zealand

10 March 2003

Trade Facilitation: National Experience


United States

11 March 2003


Trade Facilitation: An Integrated and Comprehensive Approach to Special and Differential Treatment


WTO Secretariat

26 May 2003

Selective Bibliography of Literature on GATT Article V



6 June 2003

International Architecture on Trade Facilitation — The WTO and International Organizations and Framework



12 June 2003

Trade Facilitation in the WTO: Benefits of a Rules-Based System



2 July 2003

Capacity Building in Customs


Council for Trade in Goods

14 July 2003

Update to the 2002 Report of the Council for Trade in Goods


Council for Trade in Goods

4 December 2003

Report (2003) of the Council for Trade in Goods

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