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WTO Doha Round - Global business, manufacturers' statement

30 June, 2008

The Doha Round of WTO multilateral trade negotiations are now at a crucial point. We, the undersigned organisations, still strongly believe that, properly constructed, the Doha Round represents an opportunity to deliver a huge boost to global economic growth and development.

Together, the countries represented by our business organisations generate over half of total global trade annually. Reaching an ambitious conclusion to the Round remains the number one global priority for business. 

In order to be supported by the global industrial sector, the Round must achieve significant gains in real market access for industrial goods (NAMA), services, trade facilitation and progress in other aspects of the negotiations, including rules.  While we are in complete agreement with the basis of “less than reciprocal” set forth in the 2001 Doha Declaration, we nevertheless believe that all nations must meet the basic and primary goal of a global trade round, which is to achieve significant commercial gains for all WTO members in all markets through meaningful reductions of tariffs.

We are strongly concerned that the latest version of the NAMA negotiating draft does not yet achieve the kind of industrial tariff reductions in advanced developing economies that is required to meet the goals of the Doha Round.  In fact, we believe that the formula coefficients, flexibilities, implementation periods, and weak sectoral participation provisions in this draft provide for little new market access.

We do not believe the Doha Round is irreversibly harmed or that no further progress is possible, and we urge further negotiations.  Negotiators should continue their discussions on a meaningful and serious basis, in order to achieve the kind of access we expect from a global trade round.

However, our support is conditional on the basis of an outcome that provides commercially meaningful new market access for industrial goods by reducing substantially or eliminating tariffs among, at minimum, the developed and emerging countries, and through the inclusion of a number of key elements such as:
  • Sectoral agreements, with robust participation of developed and advanced emerging economies, which reduce or eliminate tariffs for willing sectors.
  • Flexibilities should not lead to the exclusion of entire HTS chapters or tariff lines that have the effect of exempting entire industrial sectors from the formula. 
  • Concrete results on non tariff barriers (NTBs) which undermine the competitiveness of industries and distort international markets.
  • No weakening of formula coefficients for advanced developing countries.
Furthermore, we believe the final text and negotiations on services must be put at the same level as NAMA and agriculture, and provide new business opportunities. The WTO should furthermore put negotiating texts on the table for all remaining issues of the Doha Round including a trade facilitation agreement, clarify trade remedy rules and reduce international distortions. We are committed to making the Doha Round a success. Business will continue to urge negotiators to ensure that the outcome of the Round will truly deliver real gains for business.

Joint statement from:

Australian Industry Group • Business New Zealand • BUSINESSEUROPE • Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Chinese National Federation of Industries
Korea International Trade Association
National Association of Manufacturers (US) • Nippon Keidanren