The Ministerial Conference is the top decision making body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). There have been ten conferences from 1996 to 2015, usually every two years.
|1st||9–13 December 1996||Singapore|
|2nd||18–20 May 1998||Geneva, Switzerland|
|3rd||30 November – 3 December 1999||Seattle, United States|
|4th||9–14 November 2001||Doha, Qatar|
|5th||10–14 September 2003||Cancún, Mexico|
|6th||13–18 December 2005||Hong Kong|
|7th||30 November – 2 December 2009||Geneva, Switzerland|
|8th||15–17 December 2011||Geneva, Switzerland|
|9th||3–6 December 2013||Bali, Indonesia|
|10th||15–18 December 2015||Nairobi, Kenya|
First ministerial conference
The inaugural ministerial conference was held in Singapore in 1996. Its primary purpose was to initiate an international effort among global trading nations to overhaul the structure and mechanisms of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) while preserving the considerable progress and success achieved by that system since its inception in 1948.
Disagreements, largely between developed and developing economies, emerged over four issues initiated by this conference; afterward, these were collectively referred to as the "Singapore issues".
Second ministerial conference
Third ministerial conference
Fourth ministerial conference
The fourth conference was held in Doha In Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. The Doha Development Round was launched at the conference. The conference also approved the joining of China, which became the 143rd member to join.
Fifth ministerial conference
The ministerial conference was held in Cancún, Mexico, aiming at forging agreement on the Doha round. An alliance of 22 southern states, the G20 (led by India, China and Brazil), resisted demands from the North for agreements on the so-called "Singapore issues" and called for an end to agricultural subsidies within the EU and the US. The talks broke down without progress.
Sixth ministerial conference
The sixth WTO Conference Ministerial was held in Hong Kong from 13 December – 18 December 2005. It was considered vital if the four-year-old Doha Development Agenda negotiations were to move forward sufficiently to conclude the round in 2006. In this meeting, countries agreed to phase out all their agricultural export subsidies by the end of 2013, and terminate any cotton export subsidies by the end of 2006. Further concessions to developing countries included an agreement to introduce duty-free, tariff-free access for goods from the Least Developed Countries, following the Everything But Arms initiative of the European Union — but with up to 3% of tariff lines exempted. Other major issues were left for further negotiation to be completed by the end of 2006.
Seventh ministerial conference
Eighth ministerial conference
Ninth ministerial conference
Was held 3–6 December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. 159 members of World Trade Organization agreed to the Bali Package which eases barriers to international trade.
Tenth ministerial conference
The WTO's 10th Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 15 to 19 December 2015.The completion of Afghanistan and Liberia's accession to the WTO will be on the agenda.It culminated in the adoption of the "Nairobi Package", a series of six Ministerial Decisions on agriculture, cotton and issues related to least-developed countries (LDCs). The Conference was chaired by Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Amina Mohamed.
The WTO launched the current round of negotiations, the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) or Doha Round, at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. The Doha round was to be an ambitious effort to make globalisation more inclusive and help the world's poor, particularly by slashing barriers and subsidies in farming. The initial agenda comprised both further trade liberalization and new rule-making, underpinned by commitments to strengthen substantial assistance to developing countries.
The negotiations have been highly contentious and agreement has not been reached, despite the intense negotiations at several Ministerial Conferences and at other sessions. As of 2008, disagreements still continued over several key areas including agriculture subsidies.
|GATT and WTO trade rounds|
|Geneva||April 1947||7 months||23||Tariffs||Signing of GATT, 45,000 tariff concessions affecting $10 billion of trade|
|Annecy||April 1949||5 months||34||Tariffs||Countries exchanged some 5,000 tariff concessions|
|Torquay||September 1950||8 months||34||Tariffs||Countries exchanged some 8,700 tariff concessions, cutting the 1948 tariff levels by 25%|
|Geneva II||January 1956||5 months||22||Tariffs, admission of Japan||$2.5 billion in tariff reductions|
|Dillon||September 1960||11 months||45||Tariffs||Tariff concessions worth $4.9 billion of world trade|
|Kennedy||May 1964||37 months||48||Tariffs, Anti-dumping||Tariff concessions worth $40 billion of world trade|
|Tokyo||September 1973||74 months||102||Tariffs, non-tariff measures, "framework" agreements||Tariff reductions worth more than $300 billion achieved|
|Uruguay||September 1986||87 months||123||Tariffs, non-tariff measures, rules, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, textiles, agriculture, creation of WTO, etc.||The round led to the creation of WTO, and extended the range of trade negotiations, leading to major reductions in tariffs (about 40%) and agricultural subsidies, an agreement to allow full access for textiles and clothing from developing countries, and an extension of intellectual property rights.|
|Doha||November 2001||?||159||Tariffs, non-tariff measures, agriculture, labor standards, environment, competition, investment, transparency, patents etc.||The round has not yet concluded. Bali Package signed on the 7th December 2013.|
- "Ministerial Conferences". World Trade Organization. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- Five Years of China WTO Membership. EU and US Perspectives about China's Compliance with Transparency Commitments and the Transitional Review Mechanism
- "http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news09_e/gc_chair_stat_26may09_e.htm WTO to hold 7th Ministerial Conference on 30 November-2 December 2009". World Trade Organization. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2013. External link in
- "Day 3: Samoa and Montenegro join Russia with membership agreed, as ministers wrap up conference". WTO. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- "Historic trade package sealed at WTO Bali meeting". Global Times. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- The Economist, "In the twilight of Doha", 65
- The Doha Development Agenda, European Commission
- Fergusson, Ian F. (2008-01-18). "World Trade Organization Negotiations: The Doha Development Agenda" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
- a)The GATT years: from Havana to Marrakesh, World Trade Organization
b)Timeline: World Trade Organization – A chronology of key events, BBC News
c)Brakman-Garretsen-Marrewijk-Witteloostuijn, Nations and Firms in the Global Economy, Chapter 10: Trade and Capital Restriction