World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin - Special Release

Week ending 20 August 2004 (Issue 2004/27)

This bulletin, summarising key WTO Doha Round-related activities, is issued by the Office of Trade Negotiations, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Key Issues

Preparations for appointment of new director-general begin

The term of the current Director-General, Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, will expire on 31 August 2005. The Director-General is the head of the WTO Secretariat and is usually appointed for a four-year term. F ormal nominations of candidates are due in December 2004.

Appointment of the position will be determined by the WTO's General Council. A decision is reached by consensus after consultations with all WTO members, including non-resident members. Although appointments are usually for four years, Director-General Supachai's three-year tenure resulted from the fact that in 1999 a consensus for a single candidate could not be reached so two candidates were appointed for consecutive three-year terms. The General Council has subsequently strengthened its resolve to encourage and facilitate the building of consensus among members, and assist them in moving from the initial field of candidates to a final decision on appointment. Candidates representing the diversity of members across all regions are invited in the nominations process.

Australia to host trade facilitation workshop

In the July Framework Package, members agreed that of the four Singapore issues (trade facilitation, investment, competition policy, and transparency in government procurement), only trade facilitation would move forward into the negotiations phase, while the others would be relegated to work groups and not form part of the Doha Round.

In an effort to build understanding of the WTO negotiations on trade facilitation and help build capacity for effective involvement in the negotiations, Australia is seeking to hold a workshop on trade facilitation for selected WTO-member APEC economies later this year. The purpose of this workshop will be to build understanding among trade and customs officials of what WTO negotiations on trade facilitation will involve, with a view to strengthening their capacity to participate effectively. In particular, the workshop should benefit trade officials by improving their practical understanding of 'trade facilitation' issues, while it will also give customs officials greater understanding of how these issues might be taken up within the WTO negotiations process, as opposed to the more operational focus of work on trade facilitation in APEC and other customs fora.

This initiative is part of the Australian Government's broader commitment to support developing countries, including through strategic trade-related technical assistance, in an effort to promote constituencies for trade liberalisation and reform.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva


31 Dispute Settlement Body

Contact Us

Trade Policy Section
Office of Trade Negotiations
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Fax: (02) 6261 3514
or e-mail

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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