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Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Council of Ministers discusses Doha

The 3112th Council meeting on Foreign Affairs/Trade held in Brussels, 26 September 2011 took stock of developments in multilateral trade negotiations under the WTO's Doha Development Agenda, in preparation for the WTO's eighth ministerial conference, scheduled to take place in Geneva on 15 to 17 December.

Launched in Doha in 2001, the negotiations are aimed at achieving a major reform of the international trading system and improving the trading prospects of developing countries. The talks have however remained in an impasse since 2008 in the absence of an agreement on "modalities", which would transpose political commitments made by WTO members into figures. The Council reconfirmed the EU's strong commitment to a successful outcome to the Doha round and to the ministerial conference in December, as well as the importance it attaches to the multilateral trading system.

The EU's objective has long been to obtain an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced agreement. The Council therefore urged WTO members to seek and identify a way out of the current impasse. To this end, it expressed support for the Commission to explore with other WTO members approaches that could advance the negotiating agenda in accordance with the mandate agreed at Doha, whilst building on the progress already made. It reiterated the EU's commitment to achieving concrete outcomes addressing the needs and interests of the least developed countries.

Source: Council of Ministers

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