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Its aim is to achieve major reform of the international trading system
through the introduction of lower trade barriers and revised trade rules.

The work programme covers about 20 areas of trade.

The Round is also known semi-officially as the Doha Development

Agenda as a fundamental objective is to improve the trading prospects of developing countries.


The Round was officially launched at the WTOs Fourth Ministerial

Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001 in which ministers from 142 member countries participated.

The Doha Ministerial Declaration provided the mandate for the

negotiations, including on agriculture, services and an intellectual property topic.

In Doha, ministers also approved a decision on how to address the

problems developing countries face in implementing the current WTO agreements.


The first WTO ministerial conference, which was held in Singapore
in 1996, established permanent working groups on four issues: transparency in government procurement, trade facilitation (customs issues), trade and investment, and trade and competition. These became known as the Singapore issues.

The negotiations were intended to start at the ministerial

conference of 1999 in Seattle, USA, and be called the Millennium Round but, due to several different events including protest activity outside the conference (the so-called "Battle of Seattle"), the negotiations were never started. Due to the failure of the Millennium Round, it was decided that negotiations would not start again until the next ministerial conference in 2001 in Doha, Qatar.


The compromise deal struck in the 198694 Uruguay Round

included commitments to continue the reforms agreed in the round, in three subjects. The first to take effect was the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Of broader interest were negotiations in agriculture and services. These resumed in 2000, as agreed in Article 20 of the Agriculture Agreement and Article 19 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services. Meanwhile, in 2000, the General Council adopted a decision on a number of issues arising from the implementation of the WTOs present agreements.


DOHA 2001
The 913 November 2001 Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar,
was the fourth meeting of the WTOs topmost, decision-making body. The declarations that WTO members adopted in Doha set up a work programme the Doha Development Agenda, which includes trade negotiations (the Doha Round) and the issues arising from the implementation of the existing agreements. In Doha, ministers also decided to postpone the deadline for some developing countries to eliminate export subsidies and for leastdeveloped countries to provide protection for pharmaceutical patents and test data, and to tackle problems faced by countries unable to make generic versions of patented medicines.


Committing all countries to negotiations opening agricultural

and manufacturing markets, as well as trade-in-services (GATS) negotiations and expanded intellectual property regulation (TRIPS). The intent of the round, was to make trade rules fairer for developing countries.

The original aim was to reach agreement on almost all subjects in

the negotiation by 1 January 2005. The only exceptions were the negotiation on improving and clarifying the Dispute Settlement Understanding (with a deadline of 31 May 2003) and the negotiations on a registration system for geographical indications for wines and spirits (with a deadline of the Fifth Ministerial Conference in 2003). Those deadlines were missed and the dates are now history.


Importance of US presidential 'fast-track' authority

The round had been planned for conclusion in December 2005,

after two more ministerial conferences had produced a final draft declaration. The WTO pushed back its self-imposed deadline to slightly precede the expiration of the U.S. President's Congressional Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority. Any declaration of the WTO must be ratified by the U.S. Congress to take effect in the United States. Trade Promotion Authority prevents Congress from amending the draft. It expired on 30 June 2007, and congressional leaders decided not to renew this authority for President George W Bush.



Geneva 2003:- The first major agreement in the Doha Round after
the Doha Ministerial Conference was on special treatment in services for least-developed countries.

Geneva 2004:- The General Councils decision of 1 August 2004

narrowed the gaps, focused the negotiations and raised them to a new level. This July [2004] Package decision included a number of annexes for the negotiations in agriculture and non-agricultural market access, a term that is sometimes used for the entire package.


Hong Kong 2005:- The next major agreement was the declaration
from the 1318 December 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference, which locked in a further narrowing of differences in the negotiations.


The negotiations collapsed on 29 July 2008 over issues of
agricultural trade between the United States, India, and China. In particular.

There was insoluble disagreement between India and the United

States over the special safeguard mechanism (SSM), a measure designed to protect poor farmers by allowing countries to impose a special tariff on certain agricultural goods in the event of an import surge or price fall.

The United States, China and India could not agree on the
threshold that would allow the mechanism to be used, with the United States arguing that the threshold had been set too low.


The United States and some European Union members blamed

India for the failure of the talks. India claimed that its position (i.e. that the U.S. was sacrificing the world's poor for U.S./European commercial interests) was supported by over 100 countries.

Then-European Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson said that

India and China should not be blamed for the failure of the Doha round