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Suspension of Doha Development Agenda Negotiations

Volume 449: debated on Monday 11 September 2006

I would like to update the House on the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda. On July 24, Pascal Lamy, the Director General of the WTO announced that he was recommending the suspension of the negotiations across all subjects after talks between the US, EU, Brazil, India, Australia and Japan broke down on the key issues of agricultural domestic support, agricultural market access and non-agricultural market access. He said the suspension would give all WTO members time to reflect, to examine available options and to review their positions. His recommendation was accepted at a WTO General Council meeting on 27 July.

The UK Government are very disappointed that insufficient progress has been made in the negotiations to allow the conclusion of the Doha Round this year. While it is very disappointing that no agreement has yet been reached, it is premature to say that the Doha Round has collapsed and cannot be revived. We believe that all key players have a responsibility to use the suspension of the negotiations to reflect on their positions with a view to showing flexibility in future that will allow an agreement to be reached. Developing countries, including the poorest countries, are the biggest losers from the failure to reach agreement.

The UK remains committed to achieving an ambitious, pro-development outcome to these negotiations. Our priority now is to encourage all WTO members to re-engage in the negotiations as soon as possible. The UK Government have taken and will continue to take every opportunity to press for this—within the EU and with other WTO members. The UK Government will also continue to press for progress on Aid For Trade for developing countries. Building developing countries’ capacity to trade is important in helping them integrate into the global economy and for providing a route out of poverty, and we do not believe that Aid for Trade should be conditional on the successful conclusion of the DDA.

The UK will continue to support a multilateral, rules based international trading system. We believe multilateralism is the best way of tackling unfair trade practices.