World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

WTO Meeting Ends With Agreement On New Programme

Press/255
14 November 2001

Ministerial Conference ends with agreement on new programme

Ministers from WTO member governments approved a work programme — which they called “broad and balanced” — that includes negotiations on a range of subjects and other tasks for the coming years.

“The success of our conference at this difficult time is … especially important as a reaffirmation of the determination of the international community to work together to respond to these challenges for a better future, said Conference chairman, Qatari Finance, Economy and Trade Minister Youssef Hussain Kamal.

Director-General Mike Moore said: “This conference has been a remarkable experience for all of us. It has been difficult, because we have been dealing with some of the most sensitive issues in international trade policy, and many governments have had to move towards the positions of their partners to make this agreement possible.

“I have been impressed by the readiness which so many ministers have shown to understand and accommodate the needs of others, and by the strength of the common determination to make the conference a success — not just for the sake of national interests, but very much because everybody appreciated the need to give a signal of confidence in this very difficult time of international uncertainty.”

The work programme, spelt out in two declarations — a main declaration and one on intellectual property (TRIPS) and public health — and one decision on implementation — i.e. developing countries’ difficulties in implementing current WTO agreements.

The main ministerial declaration includes elaboration of objectives and timetables for the current negotiations in agriculture and services, negotiations or possible negotiations in a range of issues such as industrial tariffs, trade and investment, trade and competition policy, some aspects of trade and the environment, implementation, and so on.

The declaration gives a boost to developing countries and commits ministers to address “the particular vulnerability of least developed countries and the special structural difficulties they face in the global economy”. Numerous items in the work programme deal with this.

Negotiations under the work programme are to be concluded not later than 1 January 2005. The only exception is the negotiation on improving and clarifying the Dispute Settlement Understanding, which is to conclude by the end of May 2003.

Other elements of the work programme are to be concluded by the end of 2002 or by the next Ministerial Conference — the conferences have to take place at least once every two years.

The declaration on TRIPS and public health spells out ministers’ recognition of various flexibilities that the agreement gives to governments to deal with health problems. It also sets out sets out specific tasks for the WTO TRIPS Council.

Agreement was reached on 14 November after all-night consultations on remaining disagreements.

Meanwhile ministers agreed to grant the European Union a waiver from its non-discrimination obligations, in order to enable it give preferential tariff concessions to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that are former colonies of its member states.

Agreement on this also required intensive consultations because of concerns raised by some developing countries that are not ACP members.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Science Media Centre: New South Wales Opens Up For Fully-vaccinated – Aus SMC Expert Reaction
Sydney has partially eased Covid-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals after NSW reached its target of 70 per cent of the population double-dosed. The Australian Science Media Centre has asked experts about the possible risks of the country opening up again...More>>


Nobel Peace Prize: Journalists Who ‘Speak Truth To Power’ Recognized

Two campaigning journalists were awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was recognition that a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights – and the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions”...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>