- Ministerial Conference
- WTO Ministerial Conference of 1996
- WTO Ministerial Conference of 1998
- WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999
- WTO Ministerial Conference of 2001
- WTO Ministerial Conference of 2003
- WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005
First ministerial conference
The inaugural ministerial conference was held in Singapore in 1996. Its primary purpose was to initiate an international effort among global trading nations to overhaul the structure and mechanisms of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) while preserving the considerable progress and success achieved by that system since its inception in 1948.
Disagreements, largely between developed and developing economies, emerged over four issues initiated by this conference; afterward, these were collectively referred to as the "Singapore issues".
Second ministerial conference
Third ministerial conference
The third conference in Seattle, Washington ended in failure, with massive demonstrations and police and National Guard crowd control efforts drawing worldwide attention.
Fourth ministerial conference
Fifth ministerial conference
The ministerial conference was held in Cancún, Mexico, aiming at forging agreement on the Doha round. An alliance of 22 southern states, the G20 (led by India, China and Brazil), resisted demands from the North for agreements on the so-called "Singapore issues" and called for an end to agricultural subsidies within the EU and the US. The talks broke down without progress.
Sixth ministerial conference
The sixth WTO Conference Ministerial was held in Hong Kong from 13 December – 18 December 2005. It was considered vital if the four-year-old Doha Development Agenda negotiations were to move forward sufficiently to conclude the round in 2006. In this meeting, countries agreed to phase out all their agricultural export subsidies by the end of 2013, and terminate any cotton export subsidies by the end of 2006. Further concessions to developing countries included an agreement to introduce duty free, tariff free access for goods from the Least Developed Countries, following the Everything But Arms initiative of the European Union — but with up to 3% of tariff lines exempted. Other major issues were left for further negotiation to be completed by the end of 2006.
The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) or Doha Round, at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. The Doha round was to be an ambitious effort to make globalisation more inclusive and help the world's poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming. The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.
The negotiations have been highly contentious and agreement has not been reached, despite the intense negotiations at several Ministerial Conferences and at other sessions. Disagreements still continue over several key areas including agriculture subsidies.
GATT and WTO trade rounds Name Start Duration Countries Subjects covered Achievements Geneva April 1947 7 months 23 Tariffs Signing of GATT, 45,000 tariff concessions affecting $10 billion of trade Annecy April 1949 5 months 13 Tariffs Countries exchanged some 5,000 tariff concessions Torquay September 1950 8 months 38 Tariffs Countries exchanged some 8,700 tariff concessions, cutting the 1948 tariff levels by 25% Geneva II January 1956 5 months 26 Tariffs, admission of Japan $2.5 billion in tariff reductions Dillon September 1960 11 months 26 Tariffs Tariff concessions worth $4.9 billion of world trade Kennedy May 1964 37 months 62 Tariffs, Anti-dumping Tariff concessions worth $40 billion of world trade Tokyo September 1973 74 months 102 Tariffs, non-tariff measures, "framework" agreements Tariff reductions worth more than $300 billion dollars achieved Uruguay September 1986 87 months 123 Tariffs, non-tariff measures, rules, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, textiles, agriculture, creation of WTO, etc The round led to the creation of WTO, and extended the range of trade negotiations, leading to major reductions in tariffs (about 40%) and agricultural subsidies, an agreement to allow full access for textiles and clothing from developing countries, and an extension of intellectual property rights. Doha November 2001 ? 141 Tariffs, non-tariff measures, agriculture, labor standards, environment, competition, investment, transparency, patents etc The round is not yet concluded.
- ^ http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/minist_e.htm
- ^ Five Years of China WTO Membership. EU and US Perspectives about China's Compliance with Transparency Commitments and the Transitional Review Mechanism
- ^ The Economist, "In the twilight of Doha", 65
- ^ The Doha Development Agenda, European Commission
- ^ Fergusson, Ian F. (2008-01-18). "World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda". Congressional Research Service. http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RL32060.pdf. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
- ^ a)The GATT years: from Havana to Marrakesh, World Trade Organization
b)Timeline: World Trade Organization – A chronology of key events, BBC News
c)Brakman-Garretsen-Marrewijk-Witteloostuijn, Nations and Firms in the Global Economy, Chapter 10: Trade and Capital Restriction
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