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Doha Ministerial - Draft Ministerial Declaration

General Council
Preparations for the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference
Draft Ministerial Declaration

The attached draft Ministerial Declaration is submitted for the consideration of delegations by the Chairman of the General Council in co-operation with the Director-General. It represents what they judge to be the best possible basis at the present time for reaching an eventual consensus on a balanced text to be put before Ministers in Doha. This draft does not of course purport to be agreed in any part, and it is understood that agreement must be reached on the text as a whole.

The present draft presents options in certain areas, and in other areas text remains to be developed. These are indicated by notes in italics which are not to be read as part of the text proper. Further intensive consultations based on this draft are envisaged, with the aim of resolving outstanding differences before a revision is issued.


*******

1. The multilateral trading system embodied in the World Trade Organization has promoted economic growth, development and employment throughout the past fifty years. We are determined, particularly in the light of the global economic slowdown, to maintain the process of reform and liberalization of trade policies, thus ensuring that the system plays its full part in promoting recovery and growth. We therefore strongly reaffirm the principles and objectives set out in the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, and pledge to reject the use of protectionist measures.

2. International trade plays a key role in the alleviation of poverty. We recognize the obligation to ensure that all our peoples may benefit from the increased opportunities and welfare gains generated by the multilateral trading system, and in the Work Programme adopted through this Declaration we seek to place the interests and needs of developing and least-developed countries at the heart of the WTO's work.

3. We stress our commitment to the WTO as the unique forum for global trade rule-making and liberalization, while also recognizing that regional trade agreements can play an important role in promoting the liberalization and expansion of trade.

4. We are aware that the challenges Members face in a rapidly changing international environment cannot be addressed through measures taken in the trade field alone. We shall continue to work with the Bretton Woods institutions for greater coherence in global economic policy-making, and for effective cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations that have responsibilities related to those of the WTO.

5. We are convinced that the aims of upholding and safeguarding an open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, and acting for the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development can and must be mutually supportive. We recognize the right of Members under the multilateral rules to take measures to uphold and enforce the levels of health, safety and environmental protection they deem appropriate, including the right to regulate, and to introduce new regulations on, the supply of services. We agree to ensure that measures taken to address such concerns shall not be used for protectionist purposes.

6. We reaffirm our declaration made at the Singapore Ministerial Conference regarding internationally recognized core labour standards. We take note of work under way in the International Labour Organization on the social dimensions of globalization.

7. We note with particular satisfaction that this Conference has completed the WTO accession procedures for China and Chinese Taipei. We also welcome the accession as new Members, since our last Session, of Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Jordan, Lithuania, Moldova and Oman. These accessions will greatly strengthen the multilateral trading system, as will those of the 28 countries now negotiating their accession. We therefore attach great importance to concluding accession proceedings as quickly as possible, especially for least-developed countries.

8. Recognizing the challenges posed by an expanding WTO membership, we confirm our collective responsibility to ensure internal transparency and the effective participation of all Members. Emphasizing the intergovernmental character of the organization, we will continue to promote a better public understanding of the WTO and to communicate the benefits of a liberal, rules-based multilateral trading system, particularly through the more effective dissemination of information and improved dialogue with the public.

9. In view of these considerations, we hereby agree to undertake the broad and balanced Work Programme set out below. This incorporates both an expanded negotiating agenda and other important decisions and activities necessary to address the challenges facing the multilateral trading system.

IMPLEMENTATION-RELATED ISSUES AND CONCERNS

10. We attach the utmost importance to the implementation issues and related concerns raised by Members and are determined to resolve them. Taking note of the General Council Decisions of 15 December 2000 [and 3 October 2001], we adopt the further Decision contained in document … to address other outstanding issues. We agree that remaining implementation issues should be fully addressed, in accordance with appropriate guidelines to be developed, under the Work Programme we are establishing.

FUTURE WORK PROGRAMME

Agriculture

11.1 We recognize the work already undertaken in negotiations initiated in early 2000 under Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture, including the large number of negotiating proposals submitted on behalf of a total of 121 Members. We recall the long-term objective referred to in the Agreement to establish a fair and market oriented trading system through a program of fundamental reform encompassing strengthened rules and specific commitments on support and protection in order to correct and prevent restrictions and distortions in the world agricultural markets. We reconfirm our commitment to this program. Building on the work carried out to date, we commit ourselves to comprehensive negotiations aimed at: substantial improvements in market access; reductions of, with a view to, phasing out all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support. We agree that special and differential treatment for developing countries shall be an integral part of all elements of the negotiations and shall be embodied in the Schedules of concessions and commitments and as appropriate in the rules and disciplines to be negotiated, so as to be operationally effective and to enable developing countries to effectively take account of their development needs, including food security and rural development. We take note of the non-trade concerns reflected in the negotiating proposals submitted by Members and confirm that non-trade concerns will be taken into account in the negotiations as provided for in the Agreement on Agriculture.

11.2 Modalities for the further commitments, including provision for special and differential treatment, shall be established no later than [...]. Participants shall submit their comprehensive draft Schedules based on these modalities no later than [...]. The negotiations, including with respect to rules and disciplines and related legal texts, shall be concluded as part and at the date of conclusion of the negotiating agenda as a whole (paragraph 36 below refers).


Services

12. The mandated negotiations on trade in services are an important means of promoting the economic growth of all trading partners and the development of developing countries. We note with satisfaction the progress which has been made in these negotiations since their inception in January 2000, and the large number of proposals submitted by Members on a wide range of sectors and several horizontal issues, as well as on movement of natural persons. We reaffirm the Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations adopted by the Council for Trade in Services on 28 March 2001 as the basis for continuing the negotiations with a view to achieving the objectives of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, as stipulated in the Preamble, Article IV and Article XIX of that Agreement.

Market Access for Non-agricultural Products

13. We agree to negotiations which shall aim, by modalities to be agreed, to reduce or as appropriate eliminate tariffs, including the reduction or elimination of tariff peaks and tariff escalation, as well as non-tariff barriers. Product coverage shall be comprehensive and without a priori exclusions. The negotiations shall take into account the special needs and interests of developing and least-developed country participants, including through less than full reciprocity in reduction commitments.

Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
(It is proposed that the issue of the relationship between intellectual property and [access to medicines][public health] be addressed in a separate declaration)

14. We agree to complete negotiations on the establishment of a multilateral system of notification and registration of geographical indications for wines and spirits.

15. We agree [that the Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council) shall examine issues related to possible negotiations on][to negotiate] the extension of the protection of geographical indications provided for in Article 23 to additional product areas.

16. We instruct the TRIPS Council, in pursuing its work programme, to give due attention to the relationship between the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and the Convention on Biological Diversity, the protection of traditional knowledge, non-violation complaints, and keeping the TRIPS Agreement abreast of new technological and other developments. In undertaking this work, the TRIPS Council shall be guided by the objectives and principles of the TRIPS Agreement and shall take fully into account the development dimension.

17. The TRIPS Council shall report on the progress of its work set out above to the General Council at the end of 2002 and submit a final report to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference, which shall decide on further action.

Relationship between Trade and Investment

18. We agree to negotiations which shall aim to establish a multilateral framework of rules to secure transparent, stable and predictable conditions for long-term cross-border investment, particularly foreign direct investment. The framework shall reflect in a balanced manner the interests of home and host countries, and take due account of governments' regulatory responsibilities and economic development objectives. It shall include as core elements provisions on scope and definition, transparency, non-discrimination, pre-establishment commitments based on a GATS-type approach, and the settlement of disputes between governments. The special development, trade and financial needs of developing and least-developed country participants shall be taken into account as an integral part of the framework, which shall enable Members to undertake obligations commensurate with their individual needs and circumstances. The negotiations shall pay due regard to other relevant WTO provisions and to existing bilateral and regional arrangements on investment. We commit ourselves to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the provision of technical assistance and support for capacity building both during the negotiations and as an element of the agreement to be negotiated.

OR

19. The Working Group on the Relationship between Trade and Investment shall undertake further focused analytical work, based on proposals by Members. A report on this work shall be presented to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy

20. We agree to negotiations aimed at enhancing the contribution of competition policy to international trade and development. To this end, the negotiations should establish a framework to address the following elements: core principles, including transparency, non-discrimination and procedural fairness, and provisions on hardcore cartels; modalities for voluntary cooperation; and, support for progressive reinforcement of competition institutions in developing countries through capacity building. In the course of negotiations, full account shall be taken of the situation of developing and least-developed country participants and appropriate flexibility provided to address them. We commit ourselves to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the provision of technical assistance and support for capacity building both during the negotiations and as an element of the agreement to be negotiated.

OR

21. The Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy shall undertake further focused analytical work, based on proposals by Members. A report on this work shall be presented to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

Transparency in Government Procurement

22. We agree to negotiations on a multilateral agreement on transparency in government procurement, building on the progress that has been made in the Working Group on Transparency in Government Procurement and taking into account participants' development priorities. The negotiations shall be limited to the transparency aspects and will not restrict the scope for countries to give preferences to domestic supplies and suppliers. Issues relating to compliance with any new obligations to be agreed shall be addressed in the negotiations, taking into account the situation of developing and least-developed country participants. We commit ourselves to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the provision of technical assistance and support for capacity building both during the negotiations and as an element of the agreement to be negotiated.

Trade Facilitation

23. We agree to negotiations which shall build upon Articles V, VIII and X of the GATT 1994, taking into account existing WTO provisions on matters related to customs and other procedures and formalities to expedite movement, release and clearance of goods. Issues relating to compliance with any new obligations to be agreed shall be addressed in the negotiations, taking into account the situation of developing and least-developed country participants. We commit ourselves to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the provision of technical assistance and support for capacity building both during the negotiations and as an element of the agreement to be negotiated.

WTO Rules

24. We agree to negotiations aimed at clarifying and improving disciplines under the existing Agreements on Implementation of Article VI of the GATT 1994 and on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures […], taking into account the needs of developing and least-developed country participants.

25. We also agree to negotiations aimed at clarifying and improving disciplines and procedures under the existing WTO provisions applying to regional trade agreements. Issues relating to the application of any new obligations to existing regional trade agreements shall be addressed during the negotiations. Participants shall also take into account the developmental aspects of regional trade agreements.

Amendment of the Dispute Settlement Understanding

26. We agree to negotiations on possible amendments to the Dispute Settlement Understanding on the basis of proposals by Members. The negotiations should be based on the work done thus far and aim to produce a balanced package of amendments not later than May 2003, at which time we will take steps to ensure that the amendments enter into force as soon as possible thereafter.

Trade and Environment

27. We instruct the Committee on Trade and Environment to pursue work on all items on its agenda within its current terms of reference, and in particular:

to address, in pursuance of the WTO's objective of sustainable development, those situations in which the elimination or reduction of trade restrictions and distortions would benefit trade, the environment and development;
to deepen the understanding of the relationship between the multilateral trading system and multilateral environment agreements (MEAs).

The Committee on Trade and Environment shall report to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference on these issues.

28. We direct the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade to expedite its work on labelling, bearing in mind that any measures in this field should not become disguised restrictions on trade, and to report to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

Electronic Commerce

29. We take note of the work which has been done in the General Council and other relevant bodies since our Declaration of 20 May 1998 and agree to continue the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce. We instruct the General Council to consider the most appropriate institutional arrangements for handling the Work Programme, and to report on further progress to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference. We agree to maintain our current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions until the Fifth Session.

Small Economies

30. We agree to a work programme, under the auspices of the General Council, to examine issues relating to the trade of small economies. The objective of this work is to frame responses to the trade-related issues identified for the fuller integration of small, vulnerable economies into the multilateral trading system, and not to create a sub-category of WTO Members. The General Council shall review the work programme and make recommendations for action to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

Trade, Debt and Finance

31. We agree to an examination, under the auspices of the General Council, of the relationship between trade, debt and finance, and of any possible recommendations on steps that might be taken within the mandate and competence of the WTO to enhance the capacity of the multilateral trading system to contribute to a durable solution to the problem of external indebtedness of developing and least-developed countries, and to strengthen the coherence of international trade, financial and monetary policies with a view to safeguarding the multilateral trading system from the effects of financial and monetary instability. We instruct the General Council to consider the most appropriate institutional arrangements for handling this examination and to report on progress to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

Trade and Transfer of Technology

32. We agree to an examination, under the auspices of the General Council, of the relationship between trade and transfer of technology, and of any possible recommendations on steps that might be taken within the mandate of the WTO to increase flows of technology to developing countries. We instruct the General Council to consider the most appropriate institutional arrangements for handling this examination and to report on progress to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

Technical Cooperation and Capacity Building

33. We instruct the Secretariat to respond to requests from Members for technical assistance in the context of their mainstreaming of trade into national plans for economic development and strategies for poverty reduction. The delivery of WTO technical assistance shall be designed to assist beneficiary countries to understand WTO rules and disciplines, implement obligations and exercise the rights of membership, including drawing on the benefits of an open, rules-based multilateral trading system. Priority shall also be accorded, in the delivery of trade-related technical assistance, to building capacity for multilateral trade negotiations in developing, least-developed, small and vulnerable, and transition economies, including those without representation in Geneva. We underscore the urgent necessity for the coordinated delivery of technical assistance with relevant international and regional intergovernmental institutions within a coherent policy framework and timetable. We agree that there is a need for this assistance to benefit from secure and predictable funding. We therefore instruct the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration to develop a plan for adoption by the General Council in December 2001 that will ensure long-term funding for WTO technical assistance at a level no lower than that of the current year.

Least-Developed Countries

34. We recognize that the further integration of the least-developed countries (LDCs) into the trading system requires combined and inter-related action at three levels namely, market access, trade-related technical assistance and capacity-building, and LDCs' domestic policy reforms. We agree that the WTO should take into account, in designing its work programme for LDCs, the trade-related elements of the Brussels Declaration and Programme of Action consistent with the WTO's mandate adopted at the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in May 2001. We acknowledge the value of and endorse the Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least-Developed Countries (IF) as a viable model for LDCs' trade development. We appeal to development partners to increase contributions to the IF Trust Fund. We urge the core agencies, in coordination with development partners, to explore the enhancement of the IF and the extension of the model. We request the Director-General, following coordination with all the core agencies, to report to Ministers at the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

Special and Differential Treatment

35. Text to be considered, taking into account the report to be submitted by the Committee on Trade and Development.

ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE WORK PROGRAMME

36. The negotiations to be pursued under the terms of this Declaration shall be concluded not later than … . The Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference will take stock of progress in the negotiations, provide any necessary political guidance, and take any decisions as necessary. When the results of the negotiations in all areas have been established, a Special Session of the Ministerial Conference will be held to take decisions regarding the adoption and implementation of those results.

37. The overall conduct of the negotiations shall be supervised by a Trade Negotiations Committee under the authority of the General Council. The Trade Negotiations Committee shall hold its first meeting not later than …. It shall establish appropriate negotiating mechanisms as required and supervise the progress of the negotiations.

38. The conduct, conclusion and entry into force of the outcome of the negotiations shall, with the exception of those related to the amendment of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, be treated as parts of a single undertaking. However, agreements reached at an early stage may be implemented on a provisional or a definitive basis. Early agreements shall be taken into account in assessing the overall balance of the negotiations.

39. Negotiations shall be open to

(i) all Members of the WTO;
(ii) States and separate customs territories that inform Members, at a regular meeting of the General Council, of their intention to negotiate the terms of their membership and for whom an accession working party is established.

Decisions on the outcomes of the negotiations shall be taken only by WTO Members.

40. The negotiations shall be conducted in a transparent manner among participants, in order to facilitate the effective participation of all. They shall be conducted with a view to ensuring benefits to all participants and to achieving an overall balance in the outcome of the negotiations.

41. The Committee on Trade and Development and the Committee on Trade and Environment will, within their respective mandates, each act as a forum to identify and debate developmental and environmental aspects of the negotiations, in order to help achieve the objective of having sustainable development appropriately reflected in the negotiations.

42. The Work Programme as a whole must evolve in a balanced and forward-looking manner which responds to the diverse challenges faced by Members. Those elements which do not involve negotiations are also accorded a high priority. They will be pursued under the overall supervision of the General Council, which shall report on progress to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference.

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