World Trade Organization (WTO)

WTO Doha Round Bulletin

Week ending 3 December 2004 (Issue 2004/42)

Key Issues

Trade Facilitation negotiations

The Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation met for the second time on 22-23 November in Geneva.

The Group was established as part of the July Framework Agreement. The goal of the trade facilitation negotiations is to further expedite the movement, clearance and release of goods between WTO Member states.

The second meeting of the Group was conceived as an 'education and stocktaking' session, to prepare the ground for detailed negotiations in 2005. The meeting featured an overview by the WTO Secretariat on the scope of the negotiations, and presentations by the World Customs Organization, UNCTAD and the World Bank on the respective roles of their institutions and how they could support the negotiations. Discussion points included the importance of utilising the experience of international organisations and avoiding duplication of existing work.

Members agreed that the Chair of the Group, Ambassador Noor of Malaysia, and the WTO Secretariat would consult further with international organisations on the establishment of a mechanism for better coordination in technical assistance and capacity building for developing countries in the negotiations.

Australia plans to hold a workshop for APEC trade and customs officials involved in the WTO negotiations in Kuala Lumpur in February 2005. Japan also proposes to hold an information seminar for Geneva-based negotiators from developing countries on 10 February.

The next meeting of the Negotiating Group is scheduled for 7 and 9 February 2005.

Market access for non-agricultural goods

The Negotiating Group on Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA), covering industrials, minerals, energy, fisheries and forestry products, will meet in Geneva on 6-8 December.

Members agreed at the last meeting in November to begin considering a range of technical issues from the July Framework, on the basis of a list to be prepared by the Chair. The list of issues was circulated by the Chair on 22 November, and will form the basis of discussion next week and at the 31 January meeting. The technical issues include: tariff peaks, high tariffs and tariff escalation; product coverage; tariff revenue dependency; and the treatment of developing countries and newly-acceded WTO Members.

Forthcoming meetings in Geneva

DECEMBER

6 Negotiating Group on Market Access

6 Working Party on the Accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina

7 Committee on Trade and Development - Special Session

8 Working Party on the Accession of the Republic of Cape Verde

8 Negotiating Group on Market Access

9 Textiles Monitoring Body

9 Trade Negotiations Committee

10 Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance

13-14 General Council

14 Negotiating Group on Rules

15 Trade Policy Review Body - Switzerland/Liechtenstein

15 Working Party on the Accession of Vietnam

16 Committee on Government Procurement

16 General Council

17 Trade Policy Review Body - Switzerland/Liechtenstein

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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