In a policy statement prepared by business experts on trade and investment policy, the International Chamber of Commerce recommends ways to make progress in the World Trade Organization’s Doha round of trade negotiations in the lead-up to a key meeting of government ministers in Hong Kong in December.
ICC outlines the following priority issues on which WTO members should focus between now and the Hong Kong meeting:- reaching agreement on negotiating modalities for industrial market-access;
– reaching agreement on full negotiating modalities for trade in agriculture;
– ensuring urgent and substantive progress in the negotiations on trade in services;
– making substantial progress on trade facilitation; and
– ensuring a balanced approach to the negotiations on antidumping and regional trade agreements.
ICC calls on ministers and capitals to stay strongly engaged and give clear mandates to negotiators to ensure that the Hong Kong ministerial conference achieves meaningful results and locks in further progress, in order to maintain the momentum towards a final result by the end of 2006.
ICC Secretary General Maria Livanos Cattaui said: “ICC is concerned about the proliferation of bilateral and regional trading agreements. Only a Doha round that achieves substantial multilateral trade liberalization can mitigate the effects of such agreements.”
ICC attaches particular importance to progress on trade facilitation, which it sees as a “win-win” issue for all WTO members.
“It would be counterproductive to look at trade facilitation as a concession being extracted from developing countries by other WTO members,” said Mrs Cattaui. “Developing countries are likely to be the main beneficiaries of a successful Doha round, providing them with opportunities to increase their share of international trade and investment.”
Copies of the policy statement have been sent to ICC’s national committees worldwide for distribution to trade ministers in all WTO member countries and other interested parties.
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