World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 30 January 2004 (Issue 2004/3)

Key Issues

Australia's Ambassador to the WTO completes consultations

Australia's Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, David Spencer, this week completed a two week program of consultations in Australia with Federal and State government officials, business, leading academics, prominent community advocates and NGOs. Travelling between Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, Ambassador Spencer provided an assessment of the progress in the Doha Round and the road ahead for 2004 and obtained views from the business community on its own priorities for the trade round. Ambassador Spencer reiterated the importance that the Australian Government places on the successful conclusion of the Round and of the Government's commitment to make real progress in 2004 that will advance Australia's trade interests.

Doha Round discussed at Davos World Economic Forum

A small meeting of twenty Trade Ministers, which included Brazil, India, Canada, Switzerland and others (the US and EU were represented by their WTO negotiators), met in the margins of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos during the forum's annual meeting (21-25 January). The meeting was an attempt to seek ways to revive the Doha round negotiations. Issues discussed included agriculture and farm subsidies as well as the Singapore Issues of investment and competition. WTO General Council Chair, Castillo, described the meeting as a “useful exchange of ideas”. The meeting concluded with a reaffirmation by those present to get the round back on track.

In his address to the World Economic Forum, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, called on the world's business community to use its influence to advance the current trade round, especially over the issue of agriculture. “No single issue more gravely imperils the multilateral trading system…”he said, “Agricultural subsidies skew market forces. They damage the environment. And they block poor-country exports from world markets, keeping them from earning revenues that would dwarf any conceivable level of aid and investment flows to those countries. For all our sakes, and for the credibility of the system itself, they must be eliminated”.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

FEBRUARY

4-6 WTO Trade Policy Review - Gambia

11-12 WTO General Council Meeting

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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