World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 23 January 2004 (Issue 2004/2)

Key Issues

United States completes its 7th WTO Trade Policy Review

The United States has completed its seventh WTO Trade Policy Review (TPR) which was conducted on 14 and 16 January in Geneva. During the review, WTO members recognised the importance of the US economy for global economic growth, the leadership role of the US in the WTO, its generally open and transparent trade regime and its commitment to moving ahead with the Doha round.

In its TPR report on the US economy, the WTO Secretariat summarised the US as a largely open economy, but with market access barriers in important areas, most notably through assistance to selected areas such as agriculture, steel and textiles & clothing – which “has burdened US consumers, taxpayers and trade”.

The Secretariat noted that recent US macroeconomic policy has been directed towards recovering and sustaining growth and that this policy was increasingly successful. It also stated that the US had taken further steps to liberalise its trade regime on Most Favoured Nation as well as preferential bases. The report also covers the new security considerations in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks and stresses that new US security-related policies and practices should not become unnecessary trade or investment barriers. The US TRP can be downloaded from the WTO website.

Cairns Group responds to Zoellick Letter

The Cairns Group has welcomed the signal by the United States Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, in outlining his views in a letter to WTO members, on how to move ahead with the round. In a statement issued from Geneva on 19 January, the Cairns Group said it shared the view expressed by USTR Zoellick that an ambitious result on agriculture was essential for the round to succeed. Cairns Group members also agreed with Zoellick that export subsidies needed to be eliminated. “We also believe that the three pillars are linked and therefore need a high and balanced level of ambition across all the pillars of the agricultural negotiations, not least domestic support” the statement read.

Speaking on the release of the Cairns Group statement, Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, said that an ambitious outcome on agriculture was essential in order to secure the benefits of the Doha round. In a press release, Mr Vaile also stated that he had this week written to Mr Zoellick, welcoming the US ideas for moving ahead in the round. “The Cairns Group will continue to press for an outcome on agriculture that is in keeping with the high level of ambition we set for ourselves in Doha”. Mr Vaile said. The Trade Minister also indicated that he would be discussing strategies to accelerate progress in agricultural negotiations with Cairns Group Ministers during the Group’s 26th Ministerial meeting which will be held in Costa Rica in late February.

G20 supports Zoellick view on agriculture

The G20 this week issued a communiqué also welcoming the Zoellick initiative and the US willingness to work towards achieving results in the round this year. In the communiqué the G20 reiterated that the grouping had consistently indicated its commitment to the success of the negotiations and that it was ready to contribute to the success of the Doha round in general, particularly in the area of agriculture. Members shared the view expressed by Zoellick that agriculture would play a critical role in the negotiations. The communiqué also advised that G20 countries were considering Zoellick’s ideas. The G20 reiterated its readiness to contribute and cooperate with all WTO members to achieve substantial progress in the negotiations.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

JANUARY 2004

26

Council for Trade in Goods

26-27

Dispute Settlement Body –Special Session

27

Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance

28

WTO Introduction Day

30

Working Party on the Accession of Belarus

Contact Us

Trade Policy Section
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
BARTON ACT 0221
Fax: (02) 6261 3514
or e-mail trade.consult@dfat.gov.au

This bulletin is issued by the Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It summarises key WTO Doha Round-related activities over the past week.

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