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Eyes on Trade

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch blog on globalization and trade


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Public Citizen | WTO Ministerials and Events - WTO Ministerials

WTO Ministerials

The Ministerial meetings of the WTO take place every two years in one of the WTO member countries, and are where key decisions are made regarding the future path of the WTO. In between the Ministerials there are ongoing negotiations within the so-called "built-in agenda of the WTO" which includes agriculture, services and intellectual property rights.

The 3rd WTO Ministerial in Seattle saw massive demonstrations with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets against the policies of the WTO. The following Ministerial was held in the Persian Gulf State of Qatar - a country which does not allow public protest or demonstrations. The next Ministerial took place in Cancun, Mexico from September 10-14, 2003, where the summit collapsed as the United States and Europe stubbornly rejected the demands of the majority of the organization’s signatory nations to make global trade rules fairer. The most recent Ministerial took place in Hong Kong from December 13-18, 2005, and concluded with only one out of dozens of outstanding substantive negotiating issues resolved, while the most significant deliverable was simply avoiding collapse of yet another WTO summit.

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