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DOHA WTO MINISTERIAL 2001: MINISTERIAL DECLARATIONS AND DECISIONS

WT/MIN(01)/17
20 November 2001

Implementation-related issues and concerns

Decision of 14 November 2001

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Contents:
>
GATT 1994
> Agriculture
> SPS
> Textiles
> Technical barriers
> Trade-Related Investment Measures
> Article VI of GATT
> Article VII of GATT
> Rules of Origin
> Subsidies and Countervailing Measures
> TRIPS
> Cross-cutting issues
> Implementation
> Final provisions

 

Past WTO Ministerials
> Seattle, 1999
> Geneva, 1998
> Singapore, 1996


The Ministerial Conference,

Having regard to Articles IV.1, IV.5 and IX of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO);

Mindful of the importance that members attach to the increased participation of developing countries in the multilateral trading system, and of the need to ensure that the system responds fully to the needs and interests of all participants;

Determined to take concrete action to address issues and concerns that have been raised by many developing-country members regarding the implementation of some WTO Agreements and Decisions, including the difficulties and resource constraints that have been encountered in the implementation of obligations in various areas;

Recalling the 3 May 2000 Decision of the General Council to meet in special sessions to address outstanding implementation issues, and to assess the existing difficulties, identify ways needed to resolve them, and take decisions for appropriate action not later than the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference;

Noting the actions taken by the General Council in pursuance of this mandate at its Special Sessions in October and December 2000 (WT/L/384), as well as the review and further discussion undertaken at the Special Sessions held in April, July and October 2001, including the referral of additional issues to relevant WTO bodies or their chairpersons for further work;

Noting also the reports on the issues referred to the General Council from subsidiary bodies and their chairpersons and from the Director-General, and the discussions as well as the clarifications provided and understandings reached on implementation issues in the intensive informal and formal meetings held under this process since May 2000;

Decides as follows:

1. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994) back to top

1.1     Reaffirms that Article XVIII of the GATT 1994 is a special and differential treatment provision for developing countries and that recourse to it should be less onerous than to Article XII of the GATT 1994.

1.2     Noting the issues raised in the report of the Chairperson of the Committee on Market Access (WT/GC/50) concerning the meaning to be given to the phrase “substantial interest” in paragraph 2(d) of Article XIII of the GATT 1994, the Market Access Committee is directed to give further consideration to the issue and make recommendations to the General Council as expeditiously as possible but in any event not later than the end of 2002.


2. Agreement on Agriculture back to top

2.1     Urges members to exercise restraint in challenging measures notified under the green box by developing countries to promote rural development and adequately address food security concerns.

2.2     Takes note of the report of the Committee on Agriculture (G/AG/11) regarding the implementation of the Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food-Importing Developing Countries, and approves the recommendations contained therein regarding (i) food aid; (ii) technical and financial assistance in the context of aid programmes to improve agricultural productivity and infrastructure; (iii) financing normal levels of commercial imports of basic foodstuffs; and (iv) review of follow-up.

2.3     Takes note of the report of the Committee on Agriculture (G/AG/11) regarding the implementation of Article 10.2 of the Agreement on Agriculture, and approves the recommendations and reporting requirements contained therein.

2.4     Takes note of the report of the Committee on Agriculture (G/AG/11) regarding the administration of tariff rate quotas and the submission by members of addenda to their notifications, and endorses the decision by the Committee to keep this matter under review.


3. Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures back to top

3.1     Where the appropriate level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection allows scope for the phased introduction of new sanitary and phytosanitary measures, the phrase “longer time-frame for compliance” referred to in Article 10.2 of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, shall be understood to mean normally a period of not less than 6 months. Where the appropriate level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection does not allow scope for the phased introduction of a new measure, but specific problems are identified by a member, the member applying the measure shall upon request enter into consultations with the country with a view to finding a mutually satisfactory solution to the problem while continuing to achieve the importing member's appropriate level of protection.

3.2     Subject to the conditions specified in paragraph 2 of Annex B to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the phrase “reasonable interval” shall be understood to mean normally a period of not less than 6 months. It is understood that timeframes for specific measures have to be considered in the context of the particular circumstances of the measure and actions necessary to implement it. The entry into force of measures which contribute to the liberalization of trade should not be unnecessarily delayed.

3.3     Takes note of the Decision of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (G/SPS/19) regarding equivalence, and instructs the Committee to develop expeditiously the specific programme to further the implementation of Article 4 of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

3.4     Pursuant to the provisions of Article 12.7 of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures is instructed to review the operation and implementation of the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures at least once every four years.

3.5     (i) Takes note of the actions taken to date by the Director-General to facilitate the increased participation of members at different levels of development in the work of the relevant international standard setting organizations as well as his efforts to coordinate with these organizations and financial institutions in identifying SPS-related technical assistance needs and how best to address them; and

(ii) urges the Director-General to continue his cooperative efforts with these organizations and institutions in this regard, including with a view to according priority to the effective participation of least-developed countries and facilitating the provision of technical and financial assistance for this purpose.

3.6     (i) Urges members to provide, to the extent possible, the financial and technical assistance necessary to enable least-developed countries to respond adequately to the introduction of any new SPS measures which may have significant negative effects on their trade; and

(ii) urges members to ensure that technical assistance is provided to least-developed countries with a view to responding to the special problems faced by them in implementing the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.


4. Agreement on Textiles and Clothing back to top

Reaffirms the commitment to full and faithful implementation of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, and agrees:

4.1     that the provisions of the Agreement relating to the early integration of products and the elimination of quota restrictions should be effectively utilised.

4.2     that members will exercise particular consideration before initiating investigations in the context of antidumping remedies on textile and clothing exports from developing countries previously subject to quantitative restrictions under the Agreement for a period of two years following full integration of this Agreement into the WTO.

4.3     that without prejudice to their rights and obligations, members shall notify any changes in their rules of origin concerning products falling under the coverage of the Agreement to the Committee on Rules of Origin which may decide to examine them.

Requests the Council for Trade in Goods to examine the following proposals:

4.4     that when calculating the quota levels for small suppliers for the remaining years of the Agreement, members will apply the most favourable methodology available in respect of those members under the growth-on-growth provisions from the beginning of the implementation period; extend the same treatment to least-developed countries; and, where possible, eliminate quota restrictions on imports of such members;

4.5     that members will calculate the quota levels for the remaining years of the Agreement with respect to other restrained members as if implementation of the growth-on-growth provision for stage 3 had been advanced to 1 January 2000;

and make recommendations to the General Council by 31 July 2002 for appropriate action.


5. Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade back to top

5.1     Confirms the approach to technical assistance being developed by the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade, reflecting the results of the triennial review work in this area, and mandates this work to continue.

5.2     Subject to the conditions specified in paragraph 12 of Article 2 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade, the phrase “reasonable interval” shall be understood to mean normally a period of not less than 6 months, except when this would be ineffective in fulfilling the legitimate objectives pursued.

5.3     (i) Takes note of the actions taken to date by the Director-General to facilitate the increased participation of members at different levels of development in the work of the relevant international standard setting organizations as well as his efforts to coordinate with these organizations and financial institutions in identifying TBT-related technical assistance needs and how best to address them; and

(ii) urges the Director-General to continue his cooperative efforts with these organizations and institutions, including with a view to according priority to the effective participation of least-developed countries and facilitating the provision of technical and financial assistance for this purpose.

5.4     (i) Urges members to provide, to the extent possible, the financial and technical assistance necessary to enable least-developed countries to respond adequately to the introduction of any new TBT measures which may have significant negative effects on their trade; and

(ii) urges members to ensure that technical assistance is provided to least-developed countries with a view to responding to the special problems faced by them in implementing the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.


6. Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures back to top

6.1     Takes note of the actions taken by the Council for Trade in Goods in regard to requests from some developing-country members for the extension of the five-year transitional period provided for in Article 5.2 of Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures.

6.2     Urges the Council for Trade in Goods to consider positively requests that may be made by least-developed countries under Article 5.3 of the TRIMs Agreement or Article IX.3 of the WTO Agreement, as well as to take into consideration the particular circumstances of least-developed countries when setting the terms and conditions including time-frames.


7. Agreement on the Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 back to top

7.1     Agrees that investigating authorities shall examine with special care any application for the initiation of an anti-dumping investigation where an investigation of the same product from the same member resulted in a negative finding within the 365 days prior to the filing of the application and that, unless this pre-initiation examination indicates that circumstances have changed, the investigation shall not proceed.

7.2     Recognizes that, while Article 15 of the Agreement on the Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 is a mandatory provision, the modalities for its application would benefit from clarification. Accordingly, the Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices is instructed, through its working group on Implementation, to examine this issue and to draw up appropriate recommendations within twelve months on how to operationalize this provision.

7.3     Takes note that Article 5.8 of the Agreement on the Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 does not specify the time-frame to be used in determining the volume of dumped imports, and that this lack of specificity creates uncertainties in the implementation of the provision. The Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices is instructed, through its working group on Implementation, to study this issue and draw up recommendations within 12 months, with a view to ensuring the maximum possible predictability and objectivity in the application of time frames.

7.4     Takes note that Article 18.6 of the Agreement on the Implementation of Article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 requires the Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices to review annually the implementation and operation of the Agreement taking into account the objectives thereof. The Committee on Anti-dumping Practices is instructed to draw up guidelines for the improvement of annual reviews and to report its views and recommendations to the General Council for subsequent decision within 12 months.


8. Agreement on the Implementation of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 back to top

8.1     Takes note of the actions taken by the Committee on Customs Valuation in regard to the requests from a number of developing-country Members for the extension of the five-year transitional period provided for in Article 20.1 of Agreement on the Implementation of Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994.

8.2     Urges the Council for Trade in Goods to give positive consideration to requests that may be made by least-developed country members under paragraphs 1 and 2 of Annex III of the Customs Valuation Agreement or under Article IX.3 of the WTO Agreement, as well as to take into consideration the particular circumstances of least-developed countries when setting the terms and conditions including time-frames.

8.3     Underlines the importance of strengthening cooperation between the customs administrations of members in the prevention of customs fraud. In this regard, it is agreed that, further to the 1994 Ministerial Decision Regarding Cases Where Customs Administrations Have Reasons to Doubt the Truth or Accuracy of the Declared Value, when the customs administration of an importing member has reasonable grounds to doubt the truth or accuracy of the declared value, it may seek assistance from the customs administration of an exporting member on the value of the good concerned. In such cases, the exporting member shall offer cooperation and assistance, consistent with its domestic laws and procedures, including furnishing information on the export value of the good concerned. Any information provided in this context shall be treated in accordance with Article 10 of the Customs Valuation Agreement. Furthermore, recognizing the legitimate concerns expressed by the customs administrations of several importing members on the accuracy of the declared value, the Committee on Customs Valuation is directed to identify and assess practical means to address such concerns, including the exchange of information on export values and to report to the General Council by the end of 2002 at the latest.


9. Agreement on Rules of Origin back to top

9.1     Takes note of the report of the Committee on Rules of Origin (G/RO/48) regarding progress on the harmonization work programme, and urges the Committee to complete its work by the end of 2001.

9.2     Agrees that any interim arrangements on rules of origin implemented by members in the transitional period before the entry into force of the results of the harmonisation work programme shall be consistent with the Agreement on Rules of Origin, particularly Articles 2 and 5 thereof. Without prejudice to Members' rights and obligations, such arrangements may be examined by the Committee on Rules of Origin.


10. Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures back to top

10.1     Agrees that Annex VII(b) to the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures includes the members that are listed therein until their GNP per capita reaches US $1,000 in constant 1990 dollars for three consecutive years. This decision will enter into effect upon the adoption by the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures of an appropriate methodology for calculating constant 1990 dollars. If, however, the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures does not reach a consensus agreement on an appropriate methodology by 1 January 2003, the methodology proposed by the Chairman of the Committee set forth in G/SCM/38, Appendix 2 shall be applied. A Member shall not leave Annex VII(b) so long as its GNP per capita in current dollars has not reached US $1000 based upon the most recent data from the World Bank.

10.2     Takes note of the proposal to treat measures implemented by developing countries with a view to achieving legitimate development goals, such as regional growth, technology research and development funding, production diversification and development and implementation of environmentally sound methods of production as non-actionable subsidies, and agrees that this issue be addressed in accordance with paragraph 13 below. During the course of the negotiations, members are urged to exercise due restraint with respect to challenging such measures.

10.3     Agrees that the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures shall continue its review of the provisions of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures regarding countervailing duty investigations and report to the General Council by 31 July 2002.

10.4     Agrees that if a member has been excluded from the list in paragraph (b) of Annex VII to the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, it shall be re-included in it when its GNP per capita falls back below US$ 1,000.

10.5     Subject to the provisions of Articles 27.5 and 27.6, it is reaffirmed that least-developed country members are exempt from the prohibition on export subsidies set forth in Article 3.1(a) of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and thus have flexibility to finance their exporters, consistent with their development needs. It is understood that the eight-year period in Article 27.5 within which a least-developed country member must phase out its export subsidies in respect of a product in which it is export-competitive begins from the date export competitiveness exists within the meaning of Article 27.6.

10.6     Having regard to the particular situation of certain developing-country members, directs the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures to extend the transition period, under the rubric of Article 27.4 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, for certain export subsidies provided by such Members, pursuant to the procedures set forth in document G/SCM/39. Furthermore, when considering a request for an extension of the transition period under the rubric of Article 27.4 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and in order to avoid that members at similar stages of development and having a similar order of magnitude of share in world trade are treated differently in terms of receiving such extensions for the same eligible programmes and the length of such extensions, directs the Committee to extend the transition period for those developing countries, after taking into account the relative competitiveness in relation to other developing-country members who have requested extension of the transition period following the procedures set forth in document G/SCM/39.


11. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) back to top

11.1     The TRIPS Council is directed to continue its examination of the scope and modalities for complaints of the types provided for under subparagraphs 1(b) and 1(c) of Article XXIII of GATT 1994 and make recommendations to the Fifth Session of the Ministerial Conference. It is agreed that, in the meantime, members will not initiate such complaints under the TRIPS Agreement.

11.2     Reaffirming that the provisions of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement are mandatory, it is agreed that the TRIPS Council shall put in place a mechanism for ensuring the monitoring and full implementation of the obligations in question. To this end, developed-country members shall submit prior to the end of 2002 detailed reports on the functioning in practice of the incentives provided to their enterprises for the transfer of technology in pursuance of their commitments under Article 66.2. These submissions shall be subject to a review in the TRIPS Council and information shall be updated by Members annually.


12. Cross-cutting Issues back to top

12.1     The Committee on Trade and Development is instructed:

(i) to identify those special and differential treatment provisions that are already mandatory in nature and those that are non-binding in character, to consider the legal and practical implications for developed and developing Members of converting special and differential treatment measures into mandatory provisions, to identify those that Members consider should be made mandatory, and to report to the General Council with clear recommendations for a decision by July 2002;

(ii) to examine additional ways in which special and differential treatment provisions can be made more effective, to consider ways, including improved information flows, in which developing countries, in particular the least-developed countries, may be assisted to make best use of special and differential treatment provisions, and to report to the General Council with clear recommendations for a decision by July 2002; and

(iii) to consider, in the context of the work programme adopted at the Fourth Session of the Ministerial Conference, how special and differential treatment may be incorporated into the architecture of WTO rules.

The work of the Committee on Trade and Development in this regard shall take fully into consideration previous work undertaken as noted in WT/COMTD/W/77/Rev.1. It will also be without prejudice to work in respect of implementation of WTO Agreements in the General Council and in other Councils and Committees.

12.2    Reaffirms that preferences granted to developing countries pursuant to the Decision of the Contracting Parties of 28 November 1979 (“Enabling Clause”)(1) should be generalised, non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory.


13. Outstanding Implementation Issues(2) back to top

Agrees that outstanding implementation issues be addressed in accordance with paragraph 12 of the Ministerial Declaration (WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1).


14. Final Provisions back to top

Requests the Director-General, consistent with paragraphs 38 to 43 of the Ministerial Declaration (WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1), to ensure that WTO technical assistance focuses, on a priority basis, on assisting developing countries to implement existing WTO obligations as well as on increasing their capacity to participate more effectively in future multilateral trade negotiations. In carrying out this mandate, the WTO Secretariat should cooperate more closely with international and regional intergovernmental organisations so as to increase efficiency and synergies and avoid duplication of programmes.

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Notes:
1 : BISD 26S/203.
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2 : A list of these issues is compiled in document Job(01)/152/Rev.1.
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