Media release from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Wednesday, 25 July 2001

Deadline for Public Submissions on WTO-Related Issues Looms

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The closing date for public submissions on issues related to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is August 1.

The Government is committed to ensuring that it takes into account the views of all Australians in developing negotiating position and proposals in our engagement with the WTO, particularly in the lead up to the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, November 9-13.

In early April, Trade Minister Mark Vaile invited interested parties, including members of the public, business groups, non-government organisations and companies, to make written submissions.  These submissions will contribute to the process.

Public comment is invited on WTO-related issues, including the

  • Agenda for future multilateral trade negotiations, including the subject matter, content and timetable for negotiations, or other further work in the WTO;
  • Desirability for Australia's interests of including in the WTO's negotiating agenda new issues;
  • Broader range of issues which Australia might propose for inclusion in the WTO agenda for further work; and
  • Operation and the effect on Australia's national interest of existing WTO Agreements.

During the Doha conference, WTO Ministers will examine the desirability of initiating a new round of multilateral trade negotiations.  By prior agreement, negotiations on several WTO agreements, in the areas of agriculture, services and intellectual property are currently underway.  In addition, the preparatory process will also examine the desirability of negotiations or further study on other topics.  The range of topics is open-ended but, by way of example, there have been calls for work on trade and investment; trade and competition policy; trade and environment; transparency in government procurement; electronic commerce; industrial market access and WTO institutional issues.

Further information regarding the submission process is available on the DFAT website www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/consultations_australians or by contacting Sonja Weinberg on (02) 6261 1889.

Media enquiries:
Nicole Guihot, DFAT Media Liaison, 02 6261 1555