Implementation-Related Issues in the WTO: A Possible Way Forward

Publisher: TWN (ISBN: 978-967-5412-03-5)

Year: 2009   No. of pages: 64


The set of multilateral agreements under the jurisdiction of the World Trade Organization (WTO) governs the conduct of international trade. Implementation of the commitments imposed by these agreements has, however, given rise to a host of problems for the WTO’s developing-country members, ranging from non-realization of anticipated benefits to imbalances in the rules.

These implementation-related issues have been on the WTO agenda for over a decade, yet meaningful resolution is still proving elusive. This paper documents the progress – or, more appropriately, lack thereof – in the treatment of the implementation issues over the years. It looks at the various decisions adopted, to little effect thus far, by the WTO in this area, including the 2001 Doha Declaration which incorporates the implementation issues into the remit of the ongoing Doha round trade talks.

The paper exhorts the developing countries to draw upon the Doha mandate to bring the implementation issues back to the centrestage of negotiations. As a practical measure given the resource constraints developing-country negotiators face in the WTO, it is proposed that the implementation issues be taken up according to a suggested order of priority. Prioritization notwithstanding, the paper stresses that developing countries have every right to seek solutions to each of these longstanding, long-neglected issues.


1.      Factual Background                                                              

2.      Implementation Issues                                                          

3.      The Way Forward                                                                  


Annex 1: Chairman’s Statement in the Closing Session of the Doha Ministerial Conference

Annex 2: Decision on Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns

Annex 3: Compilation of Outstanding Implementation Issues Raised by Members

Annex 4: Outstanding Implementation Issues Which Are Subsumed in the Negotiating Mandate

Annex 5: Prioritization of Outstanding Implementation Issues Which Are Not Subsumed in the Negotiating Mandate


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