WTO meeting in Qatar

European Parliament resolution on the WTO meeting in Qatar The European Parliament,

- having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2001, on the Fourth Ministerial Conference(1),

  1. Welcomes the outcome of last month's WTO Ministerial Conference in Qatar, which represents an important step towards a new WTO, more responsive to the needs and interests of citizens;

  2. Welcomes in particular the commitment in the Qatar declarations to redressing the imbalances between developed and developing countries; notes with pleasure that the cohesion and assertiveness of developing countries in Qatar and in the preceding weeks had a major impact both on the agreements reached in Qatar and on the wider politics of the WTO, and urges the Commission to ensure that the work programme is translated into outcomes which deliver real benefits to developing countries;

  3. Congratulates the Commission on the extent to which the agreements reached in Qatar reflected the priorities laid down by the European Parliament, and acknowledges both the Council's determined efforts to support the Commission's negotiations and the close cooperation with its delegation;

  4. Welcomes the Qatar declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health, reflecting a worldwide recognition of the need to address appropriately urgent health needs, and the possibilities of a more flexible application of intellectual property rights, and expects to see this agreement respected in practice by all concerned; also welcomes the approval of the WTO waiver for the ACP- EU Cotonou Agreement;

  5. Welcomes the prospect of greater opportunities for EU producers and gains for EU consumers, through the opening of negotiations on more open markets ; notes with approval that the text on agriculture recognises non-commercial aspects and therefore permits the European Union to proceed with reform of the CAP, shifting away from trade-distorting subsidies, especially where they penalise agricultural exports from developing countries, whilst safeguarding instruments to ensure multifunctionality, and underlines the importance in these negotiations of special and differential treatment for developing countries, to take account of their needs, such as rural development and food security; welcomes the inclusion in the negotiations of all forms of agricultural export support as well as the protection of geographical indications concerning agricultural products, namely wine;

  6. Considers that the Qatar agenda represents a significant first step towards taking proper account in the WTO of the relationship between trade and the environment, but emphasises the need for progress on the clarification of the precautionary principle in WTO rules as an important protection for environment and food safety standards;

  7. Notes the reaffirmation in Qatar of the Singapore Ministerial's commitment on labour rights; believes that further progress is essential and calls on the WTO to cooperate with the ILO's initiative on the social dimension of globalisation;

  8. Recalls that Qatar is just the start of a long process of negotiation and review; underlines that the final result must reflect a balance between the interests of all WTO Members; hopes therefore that significant progress will be made on the items to be negotiated in the second stage, after the next WTO Ministerial;

  9. Calls again for greater openness and transparency and insists that these aspects form an important part of negotiations on the reform of the disputes settlement procedure; considers that the next few years are crucial for obtaining support from Member States of the EU and the WTO for a parliamentary dimension to the WTO; welcomes the agreement reached among Parliamentarians meeting in Doha on 11 November 2001 to set up a steering group to prepare options for the establishment of such a body, for submission to the Parliamentary Conference during the 5th WTO Ministerial Conference; underlines its important role as the initiator of this project;

  10. Looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Commission, insists on continued, comprehensive briefings, makes clear its intention to follow closely the negotiations and reserves its right to make recommendations;

  11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the Director-General of the WTO.
(1) Texts Adopted, Item 13.

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