Overview of the Doha Round

A new round of WTO trade negotiations was launched in Doha in November 2001. The Doha Ministerial Declaration mandates negotiations on a wide range of issues including agriculture, services, industrial products, intellectual property, anti-dumping and other WTO rules issues, dispute settlement, and some trade and environment issues. These negotiations are to provide a basis for further trade liberalisation and will address the elimination of agricultural export subsidies for the first time. The December 2005 Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong made some progress on substantive issues.

Further progress was made at the July 2008 Ministerial Meeting in Geneva. At this Meeting, about 40 Ministers met with the aim of reaching agreement on agriculture and industrial products (non-agricultural market access or NAMA) and signalling improvements in services offers. This was the largest WTO Ministerial Meeting since the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference. Revised negotiating texts on agricultural and industrial products were released in the lead-up to the Meeting and a Services Signalling Conference was held during the Meeting. Although the Ministerial talks broke down, significant progress was made on agriculture and industrial products, and on signals to improve services offers. WTO Members are working to build on the real progress made at the Meeting. More information on the Meeting is available on the WTO website.

The role of developing countries in the negotiations remains important, as they comprise three quarters of the WTO Membership, and the negotiations are also called the Doha Development Agenda.

Last Updated: 8 January 2013