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WTO DOHA: Meeting Summary Novermber 12th


Chinese Taipei signs, ministers make progress on intellectual property

In the main formality of the day, 12 November, Chinese Taipei signed its membership package; while in informal meetings, ministers made considerable progress on the draft declaration on intellectual property and health or access to medicines.

Ministers from WTO member governments had formally approved Chinese Taipei’s package on 11 November. Following today’s signing, Chinese Taipei’s next step is to ratify the agreements. A special meeting of the legislature is scheduled to start discussing ratification on 16 November. Chinese Taipei will become the WTO’s 144th member 30 days after ratification.

Chinese Taipei’s membership agreement is about 1,200 pages in total, and weighs about 13 kg.

Reporting back

Meanwhile ministers continued their lengthy discussions on the draft declarations and decisions. They had already worked late into the previous night.

Much of the work continued to be in various forms of consultations with the “friends of the chair” assigned to handle specific subjects — some open to all delegations, some with individual delegations, and some in small groups of key negotiators (see 10 November summary for an explanation).

In the evening the chairman, Qatari Finance, Economy and Trade Minister Youssef Hussain Kamal, reconvened the heads of delegation for the six Friends of the Chair to report on their consultations.

Intellectual property (TRIPS)/Public health/Access to medicines — Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista of Mexico reported considerable progress in the consultations. He said a new draft has been prepared, and that it is almost a final draft.

Agriculture — Minister George Yeo of Singapore had little new to report because overall the position remains the same.

Implementation — Minister Pascal Couchepin of Switzerland reported encouraging developments on a number of subjects such as subsidies and customs valuation, but there had been no progress on textiles.

Environment — Minister Heraldo Muñoz Valenzuela of Chile reported little change. Delegations still differ on the question of whether there should be negotiations, he said.

“Singapore” issues — Minister Pierre Pettigrew of Canada said the meetings had not been “very comforting”, with few results so far.

Rules — Minister Alec Erwin of South Africa reported progress in some areas, but he did not specify what these are. He said difficulties remain over fishing subsidies.

The conference chairperson said he will call another heads of delegation meeting for tomorrow.

While all this was going on, ministers continue to make their formal statements in the plenary sessions of the ministerial conference

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