The Commonwealth and the WTO: strategies for a successful DOHA round: recommendations of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC)

The Commonwealth and the WTO: strategies for a successful DOHA round: recommendations of the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC)

Recommendations of the Commonwealth Business Council on the DOHA round

The CBC invites Commonwealth Governments to adopt the following positions on the WTO and its Doha Development Agenda (DDA):

  • to reaffirm the WTO’s market access raison d’être: the progressive liberalisation of trade in goods and services according to transparent, non-discriminatory rules, in both developed and developing countries
  • to reaffirm the development focus of the DDA and to honour the commitments made to developing countries when the Round was launched
  • to give top priority to the market access negotiations in the DDA on agriculture, non-agricultural goods and services
  • to deal expeditiously with implementation of Uruguay Round agreements by means of flexible transition periods, increased technical assistance and related capacity-building measures
  • to amend the TRIPS agreement so that developing countries without domestic production capacity can have access to affordable essential medicines to deal with public health emergencies, subject to safeguards against abuse
  • to recognise the importance of strengthening WTO rules, particularly disciplines on anti-dumping measures and fisheries subsidies, but also on regional trade agreements and in dispute settlement
  • to adopt a cautious approach on the Singapore issues. Eventual agreements, if any, should be light and incremental, and should avoid regulatory overload and future implementation burdens
  • to make progress on liberalising trade in environmental goods and services, but to avoid burdensome environmental, health and safety regulations that would further restrict developing country exports
  • to encourage developing countries to play a more active role in the WTO, especially in like-minded coalitions involving developed and developing countries
  • to promote Commonwealth participation in the WTO system at intergovernmental level and through business-government dialogue