World Trade Organization (WTO)
WTO Doha Round Bulletin
Week ending 12 March 2004 (Issue 2004/9)
- USTR Zoellick testifies before US Senate and House on WTO issues
- Trade Policy Review of Sri Lanka
- Sub-committee on Least-Developed Countries discusses Australia’s duty and quota free package
- Forthcoming meetings in Geneva
- Contact us
United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick testified this week on WTO issues before the Committee on Finance of the United States Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the United States House of Representatives. During his testimony, Zoellick expressed cautious optimism over prospects for the Doha Round. He noted that his January letter seeking to move the Doha negotiations forward has been well-received, as had his recent round of meetings with representatives of over 40 countries.
Zoellick highlighted two steps that he regarded as vital to making notable progress over the coming months: firstly, reconciling the “Singapore Issues”by agreeing to focus solely on trade facilitation; and secondly, concentrating on the draft agriculture text to locate specific frameworks for reform. According to Zoellick, to “secure movement on agriculture, all countries will need to agree to eliminate export subsidies, including the subsidy element of credit, to end State Trading Enterprise monopolies, and discipline food aid in a way that still permits countries to meet vital humanitarian needs”.
The Second Trade Policy Review (TPR) of Sri Lanka concluded last week, with members commending Sri Lanka for its steady economic growth and efforts to reduce its budget deficit, despite ongoing civil conflict. Members also noted Sri Lanka’s comparatively low applied tariff rates, as well as privatisation and public/private sector initiatives in the telecommunications, port and electricity sectors, and foreign investment liberalisation in the financial and telecommunication sectors. Some concerns were raised, including the level of transparency and predictability of Sri Lanka’s tariff regime, the need for greater diversification of exports and export markets, and the need for greater harmonisation of national and international standards. Sri Lanka advised it was seeking to diversify its export base and destinations and that it was committed to services liberalisation.
The WTO Secretariat concluded that Sri Lanka’s economic prospects were favourable, provided that peace and political stability were maintained and economic reforms continued.
Australia notified its package of duty and quota free access for least-developed countries (LDCs) which came into effect on 1 July 2003, at the meeting of the WTO Sub-committee on LDCs held on 9 March 2004. Australia noted that the initiative set a very high standard, being comprehensive, with no products excluded and with no phase-in periods.
15-17 Textiles Monitoring Body
16-17 Negotiating Group on Rules
17-18 Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures
19 Dispute Settlement Body
22 Committee on Specific Commitments
22-26 Committee on Agriculture –Special Session
23 Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade
23 Committee on Trade in Financial Services
24 Working Party on GATS Rules
25 Committee on Agriculture
25 Council for Trade in Services
25 Dispute Settlement Body –Special Session
29-31 Negotiating Group on Market Access
Trade Policy Section
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
BARTON ACT 0221
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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.