While nations recognize the potential of international trade and the multilateral trading system to contribute to economic growth, development and employment, reaching agreements on trade issues especially in multilateral for a presents a myriad of challenges. The World Trade Organization (WTO) represents the principal international organization governing world trade and providing a multilateral forum for trade negotiations. Established in 1995 as a successor organization to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the WTO counts 153 member states today. In November 2001, the WTO at its 4th Ministerial Conference held in Doha, Qatar, adopted the 'Doha Work Programme' focusing on broad areas of global trade. The Doha Round was supposed to have been concluded by 1 January 2005. The negotiations fell apart over the issue of the special safeguard mechanism for developing countries in the event of import surges.
With the global economic and financial crisis, WTO Members turned their attention to adopting policies to rejuvenate their own economies. Less attention was given to the Doha negotiations, even though there are several studies which indicate that the successful conclusion of the Round could boost the global economy by several billions of dollars. Since then, attempts to narrow the differences in Members' negotiating positions have floundered. As both momentum for the Round wanes and Members continue to disagree on key areas of the negotiations, there are now talks of salvaging the Round through a 'plan B' to preserve those areas that have been agreed to and protecting the vitality and credibility of the WTO.
- Explain the objectives and rules of the multilateral trading system and the WTO framework;
- Analyze key negotiation issues and negotiation modalities under the Doha Round;
- Identify and discuss issues that cut across different related areas, including climate change, Intellectual Property, gender, and development etc.;
- Further develop their expertise to contribute positively to current trade-related duties and negotiations within the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
The seminar will be divided into three parts. The first part will introduce participants into the functioning of the international trading system, including an overview of the role, structure, and the basic principles of the WTO, and will cover the latest developments in international trade. The second part will give an overview of the Doha Development Agenda, including the status of the negotiations in the various areas as well as the contentious issues involved that have prevented the conclusion of the Round. In particular, it will focus on the negotiations on agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA). The third part will assess a number of cross-cutting issues that are related to world trade and development, including aid for trade and the inter-linkages between trade and gender, environment and employment.
The Seminar will consist of three full-day sessions from Wednesday 18 July until Friday 20 July at the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations, 313 East 43rd Street (Between 1st and 2nd ave) New York, NY 10017.