To date, no trade-effective measures have been challenged under the GATT-WTO system. Multilateral environmental agreements. Ministers agreed to open negotiations on the relationship between existing WTO rules and specific trade commitments set out in multilateral environmental agreements. The negotiations will focus on how WTO rules should be applied to WTO Members that are parties to environmental agreements, in particular to clarify the relationship between trade measures under environmental agreements and WTO rules. A number of provisions of the WTO Agreements stress the need for technology transfer between developed and developing countries. As a first step, participants must agree on how the “modalities”) implement tariff reduction (in the Tokyo Round, participants used an agreed mathematical formula to reduce tariffs in all areas; in the Uruguay Round, participants negotiated product-by-product reductions). The agreed procedures would include studies and capacity-building measures that would assist the least developed countries to participate effectively in the negotiations. Back in Geneva, the negotiators decided that the “modalities” should be agreed by 31 May 2003. When this deadline was not met, Members agreed on a new target on 1 August 2004: the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in December 2005. It stresses that the TRIPS Agreement does not and should not prevent the governments of Member States from taking measures to protect public health. It reaffirms the right of governments to use the flexibility of the agreement to avoid any restrictions on the part of governments. Exchange of information. Ministers agreed to negotiate procedures for a regular exchange of information between the secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements and the WTO.
Currently, the Committee on Trade and Environment holds a briefing once or twice a year with various secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements to discuss the trade-related provisions of these environmental agreements and their dispute settlement mechanisms. The new information exchange procedures could extend the scope of existing cooperation. > ongoing negotiations > more on regional trade agreements The Declaration of the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, of November 2001 sets out the negotiating mandate on a number of issues and other work, including issues related to the implementation of these agreements. Implementation is an abbreviation of problems raised in particular by developing countries in the context of the implementation of the current WTO agreements, i.e. the agreements resulting from the Uruguay Round negotiations. Ministers agreed on negotiations on the Anti-Dumping Agreement (GATT Article 6) and the Subsidy Agreement. The aim is to clarify and improve disciplines, while respecting the basic concepts and principles of these agreements and taking into account the needs of developing and least developed participants. Argentina understood that “there was no agreement to negotiate the `other outstanding implementation issues` mentioned in item (b) and that consensus would be needed by the end of 2002 to begin negotiations on these issues”. Regional trade agreements (RTAs) are an important exception to the WTO`s most-favoured-nation rule, the principle of non-discrimination between trading partners. All member governments are currently parties to RTAs. The WTO Agreements contain special provisions that confer special rights on developing countries.
These specific provisions include, for example, longer deadlines for the implementation of agreements and commitments or measures to increase trade opportunities for developing countries. RTAs must meet certain conditions in order to deviate from the most-favoured-nation principle. However, the interpretation of these rules has proved controversial. This has hampered the role of WTO members in assessing the wto compatibility of individual trade agreements. During the overlapping phases of negotiations, participants first indicated which provisions of these two agreements should be clarified and improved during the next phase of negotiations. Ministers mentioned in particular fisheries subsidies as an important sector for developing countries and in which participants should strive to clarify and improve WTO disciplines. The 1994 Marrakesh Ministerial Conference mandated WTO member governments to review the Dispute Settlement Agreement within four years of the entry into force of the WTO Agreement (i.e. before 1 January 1999).
The Doha Declaration calls for negotiations to “clarify and improve disciplines and procedures within the framework of existing WTO rules on regional trade agreements. The negotiations will take into account the development aspects of regional trade agreements. While average tariffs are at their lowest level after eight GATT rounds, some tariffs continue to restrict trade, particularly on developing country exports – for example, “tariff peaks”, which are relatively high tariffs, usually on “sensitive” products, in a context of generally low tariff levels. For developed countries, tariffs of 15% or more are generally recognized as “tariff peaks”. barriers to trade in environmental goods and services. Ministers also agreed on negotiations on the elimination or elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services. Examples of environmental goods and services are catalysts, air filters or consulting services for wastewater disposal. > more on the Sub-Committee on Least Developed Countries > more on WTO assistance to developing countries The Doha Declaration states that “the negotiations will be limited to transparency aspects and therefore will not limit the possibility for countries to favour domestic supplies and suppliers” – it is distinct from the plurilateral agreement on government procurement. Geographical indications — Extension of the “higher level of protection” to other products. The TRIPS Agreement provides for a higher level of protection for geographical indications of wines and spirits. This means that they should be protected even if there is no risk of misleading consumers or unfair competition.
A number of countries want to negotiate to extend this higher level to other products. Others oppose this measure, and the debate in the TRIPS Council has included the question of whether the relevant provisions of the TRIPS Agreement provide a mandate to extend coverage beyond wines and spirits. However, many other implementation issues of concern to developing countries have not been resolved. On these issues, ministers agreed in Doha on a future work programme to address these issues. Negotiations take place in the negotiating group on rules. Negotiations on these issues, including relevant environmental goods and services concepts, take place at “special meetings” of the Committee on Trade and Environment. Negotiations on market access for environmental goods and services take place at the “special meetings” of the Negotiating Group on Market Access and the Services Council. . Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, the EU, Hungary, India, Liechtenstein, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey argued that there was a clear mandate for immediate negotiations. This separate statement on TRIPS and public health aims to address concerns about the potential impact of the TRIPS Agreement on access to medicines.
Many industrialized countries have now significantly reduced or even eliminated tariffs on imports from least developed countries (LDCs). Under the specific heading “Technical cooperation and capacity building”, paragraph 41 lists all references to technical cooperation obligations in the Doha Declaration: items 16 (non-agricultural market access), 21 (trade and investment), 24 (trade and competition policy), 26 (transparency in government procurement), 27 (trade facilitation), 33 (environment), 38-40 (technical cooperation and capacity-building), 42 and 43 (on least developed countries). .