Doha Development Agenda: Summary of Negotiations

16/12/2010    638

The November 2001 declaration of the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, provides the mandate for negotiations on a range of subjects and other work. The negotiations include those on agriculture and services, which began in early 2000.

In Doha, Ministers also approved a linked decision on implementation — problems developing countries face in implementing the current WTO agreements.

Ministerial discussions have taken place in Cancún in 2003, Geneva in 2004, Hong Kong in 2005 and Geneva in 2006 and 2008

Since Doha

The Fifth Ministerial Conference in Cancún, Mexico, in September 2003, was intended as a stock-taking meeting where members would agree on how to complete the rest of the negotiations. But the meeting was soured by discord on agricultural issues, including cotton, and ended in deadlock on the “Singapore issues”. Real progress on the Singapore issues and agriculture was not evident until the early hours of 1 August 2004 with a set of decisions in the General Council (sometimes called the July 2004 package).

The Sixth Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, December 2005, recorded the progress made in the year and a half since then. The final declaration included agreement on a range of questions, which further narrowed down members’ differences and edged the talks closer to consensus. A new timetable was agreed for 2006 and members resolved to finish the negotiations by the end of the year. By then, the original 1 January 2005 deadline had been missed.

June / July 2006 modalities meetings
The General Council, at its meeting on 27-28 July 2006, supported a recommendation by Director-General Pascal Lamy to suspend the Doha negotiations.

Director-General's remarks at the informal TNC, 16 November 2006
Informal TNC meeting at the level of Head of Delegation.

July 2008 package
The July 2008 package is a stepping stone on the way to concluding the Doha Round. The main task before WTO members was to settle a range of questions that would shape the final agreement of the Doha Development Agenda. Consultations took place among a group of ministers representing all interests in the negotiations. A series of meetings were held in Geneva from 21 to 30 July 2008.