Geneva (Switzerland), 17 and 18 February 2003
Organised jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the European Parliament

  The Conference was a joint undertaking of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the European Parliament. It was aimed at strengthening democracy at the international level by bringing a parliamentary dimension to multilateral cooperation on trade issues. The Conference took place at Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) on 17 and 18 February 2003.

The Conference was initiated by parliamentarians participating in the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha in November 2001, where they adopted a Declaration calling for strengthening the transparency of the WTO by more close association of Parliaments with the activities of this organization. The Post-Doha Steering Committee was established to that end with the task of preparation of a parliamentary conference on trade issues. The Committee held two sessions: in Brussels on 18-19 May and Geneva on 14-15 October 2002, where it took a number of practical decisions concerning both substantive and organizational aspects of the Conference.

The Conference was organized primarily for parliamentarians who specialise in international trade issues in their respective parliaments and was attended by over 500 delegates from 77 countries. It provided them with an opportunity to examine the main issues arising from the Doha Ministerial Conference and to obtain first-hand information on the subject from the new WTO leadership. The Conference also offered opportunities to exchange views and experiences with colleagues in other parliaments, interact with government representatives directly involved in the process of multilateral trade negotiations, and engage in a dialogue with representatives of leading international agencies carrying out programmes of technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of international trade.

At its closing session, the Conference adopted by consensus the text of its Final Declaration.

The agenda and programme of the Conference are reproduced below. Relevant documents (invitation, registration form, hotel reservation form, practical information note) can be downloaded from this page in PDF format.


Final Declaration: HTML and PDF New!
Provisional annotated agenda: HTML and PDF
Tentative programme: HTML and PDF
Organisation of the Conference work: additional information (PDF)
Discussion paper on agenda item "Access to markets" (PDF)
Discussion paper on agenda item "Development dimension of the multilateral trading system" (PDF)
Discussion paper on agenda item "Options for a parliamentary dimension of the WTO" (PDF)
Invitation letter (PDF)
Practical information note (PDF)
Registration form (PDF)
Hotel reservation form (PDF)
Post-Doha Steering Committee

MPs intend to enhance the transparency of WTO activities (18 February 2003)
"Parliaments have a special role in making the international trading system more open, more equitable, more predictable and non-discriminatory" (18 February 2003)
IPU and European Parliament organise jointly a Parliamentary Conference on WTO (13 February 2003)

World Trade Organization
Geneva International Conference Centre
Final Declaration of the Parliamentary Meeting on the occasion of the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference (Doha, 11 November 2001)
Parliamentary Meeting on International Trade "For a free, just and equitable multilateral trading system: Providing a parliamentary dimension" organized by IPU (Geneva, 8-9 June 2001)

Note: Documents in PDF format require Adobe Acrobat Reader Get Acrobat Reader

1.  Adoption of the agenda
2.Debate on substantive themes:
 The Parliamentary Conference on the WTO is taking place as governments address the Doha Development Agenda adopted in November 2001 and prepare for the Fifth Ministerial Conference, to be held in September 2003 in Cancun. In Doha, ministers reaffirmed the principles and objectives of the multilateral trading system and recognized the need for all peoples to benefit from the greater opportunities and welfare gains that the system generates. By launching the Doha Development Agenda, they agreed to place the needs and interests of developing countries at the heart of the work programme. They also acknowledged the need for improved market access, balanced rules, and well targeted, sustainably financed technical assistance and capacity-building programmes.
 (a)Access to markets
 This item focuses on the key issue of market access. There remain many barriers to international trade in goods and services. In certain sectors, tariff and non-tariff barriers still severely limit market access both for developed and developing countries. Conference participants are invited to discuss how to secure better market access through the Doha process, in particular the role of parliaments in providing momentum for the process.
 (b)Development dimension of the multilateral trading system
 Market access is one key element of the current negotiations. But more must be done to ensure a truly 'developmental' dimension to the Doha Development Agenda. Under this item, participants are invited to discuss other areas of the Doha work programme, such as progress in implementation, special and differential treatment, and targeted assistance for least developed countries.
      Panel discussion: The need for a coherent policy framework of technical assistance and capacity-building
    Technical assistance and capacity-building programmes are vital for advancing the Doha Development Agenda. During this interactive panel discussion, involving representatives from WTO, European Commission, World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNIDO and ITC, participants will be updated on the WTO's technical assistance activities that are designed to improve countries' capacity for trade negotiations. However, the training requirements of developing countries in this field extend well beyond the capacity for trade negotiations, and the panel will look at ways in which various international agencies can provide broader and more coordinated assistance. The panel will discuss ways to map out a single strategy in response to the various agendas from Doha (trade negotiations), Monterrey (financing for development), and Johannesburg (sustainable development), and to maximise the contribution of the three processes to the goals established by Heads of State in the Millennium Declaration.
 (c)Options for a parliamentary dimension of the WTO
 Discussion of a parliamentary dimension of the WTO, which was initiated by parliamentarians attending the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle and reaffirmed in Doha, has advanced considerably since the early days. The objective of the discussions will be to devise a common approach and lay down a solid foundation for a dialogue of legislators for the WTO.
3.Adoption of the Final Declaration
 At the end of Conference, the participants will be called on to adopt a Final Declaration, the draft of which will be prepared by the Post-Doha Steering Committee.

Updated on 14 February 2003   
9.30 a.m. - 7 p.m.Registration of participants
3 - 6.30 p.m.Pre-Conference session of the Steering Committee (in camera meeting)

8 a.m. - 6.30 p.m.Registration of participants
9.30 - 10 a.m.Inaugural session
10.15 a.m. - 1 p.m.Working session
Adoption of the agenda and other organisational issues
Substantive theme (a)Access to markets
- Mr. Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, MP (Mexico)
- Mr. Paul Rübig, Member of the European Parliament
- Ambassador M. Supperamaniam, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to WTO
1 - 2.30 p.m.Lunch break
2.30 p.m.Continuation of the debate on substantive theme (a), followed by
Substantive theme (b)Development dimension of the multilateral trading system
- Mr. Robert Haydn Davis, MP (South Africa)
- Ms. Concepció Ferrer, Member of the European Parliament
- Ambassador Nathan Irumba, Permanent Representative of Uganda to WTO
5 p.m.Interactive panel discussion: The need for a coherent policy framework of technical assistance and capacity-building
- Dr. Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Professor of International Political Economy, Director of Evian Group
- Mr. Kipkorir Aly Azad Rana, WTO Deputy Director-General
- Ambassador Carlo Trojan, Permanent Representative of the European Commission to the WTO
- Mr. Faizel Ismail, Head of the South African delegation to the WTO
- Ms. Haleh Bridih, General Manager, World Bank Office, Paris
- Ms. Mina Mashayekhi, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
6.45 p.m.Reception
8 - 10 p.m.Steering Committee (in camera meeting)

9.30 a.m.Continuation of the debate on substantive theme (b)
1 - 2.30 p.m.Lunch break
2.30 p.m.Continuation of the debate on substantive theme (b), followed by
Substantive theme (c)Options for a parliamentary dimension of the WTO
- Mr. Kobsak Chutikul, MP (Thailand)
- Ms. Erika Mann, Member of the European Parliament
- Baroness Hooper, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
- Mr. Ney Lopes de Souza, MP (Brazil) President of the Latin American Parliament
- Mr. John Marek, Treasurer of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
6 - 6.30 p.m.Closing session
Adoption of the Final Declaration
- Ms. Erika Mann, Member of the European Parliament


The Committee is composed of representatives of the following parliaments and international organizations:

Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay, United States of America, Inter-Parliamentary Union, European Parliament, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, World Trade Organization.

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