Doha Development AgendaThe Doha Ministerial Conference marks a change in the negotiation process of WTO. Till this 4th Ministerial conference the ‘Singapore issues’ (issues favouring developed countries discussed at 1st Ministerial Conference, Singapore) were dominated in the trade negotiations. The terrorist attack on World Trade Centre in September 2001 forced the developed countries to create a trade cohesive world including the interests of both developed and developing countries. Thus the Doha development agenda has become the back bone of world trade negotiations at WTO since then.Main areas of negotiations at Doha are:-1.
Agriculture Negotiations: To reform agriculture trade was one of the main objectives of WTO which was included in the Doha development agenda in 2001. In this field the negotiations are continued through Bali and Nairobi conference and also Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) in an achievement in the field of agriculture trade.2.
Non Agricultural Market Access Negotiations: At Doha, Ministers agreed to initiate negotiations to further liberalize trade on non-agricultural goods. For this purpose Negotiating Group on Market Access (NGMA) was created in 2002.3. Services Negotiation: The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) mandates WTO member governments to progressively liberalize trade in services. Various issues related to services were at the negotiation table in WTO.
At the Doha Ministerial Conference, the services negotiations became part of the “single undertaking” under the Doha Development Agenda, whereby all subjects under the negotiations are to be concluded at the same time4. Special and Differential Treatment Provisions: This provision provides developing countries special rights. 4th Ministerial conference mandated the committee on Trade and Development to examine this special and differential treatment provision.5.
Negotiations on trade and the environment: At Doha ministerial conference these negotiations were launched with an aim to enhance the mutual support of trade and environmental policies.6. Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS): At Doha, developing countries managed to alter ‘Agreement on Trade related aspects of Intellectual Property’ (TRIPS) in support of developing countries by permitting compulsory licensing in certain cases. First compulsory license was granted by Indian Patent Office to NATCO for ‘nexavar’ drug manufactured originally by German firm Bayer AG.