Dáil Éireann - Volume 603 - 31 May, 2005

Written Answers. - World Trade Negotiations.

  95. Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his assessment of the status of the World Trade Organisation negotiations on the liberalisation of world trade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18082/05]

  Mr. M. Ahern: The adoption of the framework agreement by the WTO General Council in Geneva, in July 2004, effectively relaunched the stalled Doha [620] development agenda negotiations. The framework agreement sets clear and precise parameters on each of the key areas under the Doha development agenda, DDA, negotiations, including in the areas of agriculture, non-agricultural market access, NAMA, services, trade facilitation, and on development issues.

It is now a matter for WTO members to develop the agreed framework into concrete, detailed and specific commitments including, for example, levels of tariff reduction, increased quotas, potential dates for elimination of agricultural export subsidies, and the further reduction, and-or elimination, of non-tariff trade barriers. Detailed negotiations on these aspects are now taking place among WTO members. It is important that the current momentum is maintained in these negotiations and that WTO members in Geneva move quickly towards the preparation of modalities on all key areas of the DDA in the lead-in to the next WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong in December 2005.

Ireland is engaged extensively in the preparation of, and input to, EU submissions to the WTO across the full spectrum of issues under the Doha agenda. Along with other EU member states, we will be anxious to secure a large measure of success in progressing the DDA negotiations at the next WTO Trade ministerial conference in Hong Kong.