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Sustainable and responsible business

Doha declaration and trade issues

The declaration of the Fourth World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference hold from 9 to 14 November 2001 in Doha, Qatar, provides the mandate for negotiations on a range of subjects and other works.

The negotiations take place in the Trade Negotiations Committee and its subsidiaries.

Environmental aspects of enterprise policy

As regards negotiations on trade and environment, these take place in the Trade and Environment Committee and partly in the Service Trade Council. The declaration sets 1 January 2005 as the date for completing these negotiations.

Progress was reviewed at the Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference which is to be held from 10 to 14 September 2003 in Cancun, Mexico.

The issues to be addressed on Trade and Environment are formulated in the Doha declaration in articles 31 to 33 and aim at:

31. Enhancing the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment.

Therefore, negotiations are to be held on:

  • the relationship between existing WTO rules and specific trade obligations set out in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs);
  • procedures for regular information exchange between MEA Secretariats and the relevant WTO committees, and the criteria for the granting of observer status;
  • the reduction or, as appropriate, elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services.

32. Clarifying relevant WTO rules by giving particular attention to:

  • the effect of environmental measures on market access, especially in relation to developing countries, in particular the least-developed among them, and those situations in which the elimination or reduction of trade restrictions and distortions would benefit trade, environment and development;
  • the relevant provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights;
  • labelling requirements for environmental purposes.

33. Encouraging that expertise and experience be shared with members wishing to perform environmental reviews at the national level.

Especially encouraging that technical assistance and capacity building in the field of trade and environment be provided to developing countries, in particular the least-developed among them.

The full articles 31 to 33 of the Doha Declaration can be viewed on the site of the WTO.

The main concerns for the Unit B1 of Enterprise Directorate are the following:

  • Contribute to defining the concept of "environmental good" and "environmental service". Agreeing on a definition is crucial in order to be able to go on in the negotiation with all partners of the DDA.
  • Elaborate argumentation to implement greater liberalisation of environmental goods to the benefit of EU Industry as well as developing countries. Indeed, a greater liberalisation of environmental goods and services will contribute:
    • First, to eradicating the poverty for developing countries (for instance by making it possible better access to water with respect to WSSD goals).
    • Secondly, to preserving the global environment (for instance by implementing air cleaning devices in order to struggle climate change with respect to the Kyoto Protocol).

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