The WTO Doha Round of negotiations was launched at the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. One of the fundamental objectives of the Doha Round is to improve the trading prospects of less developed countries, thus why it is often referred to as the Doha Development Agenda. The mandate for the negotiations provided by the Doha Ministerial Declaration, included negotiations on agriculture, services, non-agricultural market access, trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, WTO rules (e.g., anti-dumping, subsidies), dispute settlement, trade facilitation, and trade and environment, among others. All areas of the Doha negotiations are bound together as a "single undertaking," that is, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. In order for these negotiations to be successful in both developed countries and less developed countries, negotiations must strike a balance among the interests of all WTO Members. The conduct of these negotiations is supervised by the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee. For more information on the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee, including access to documents concerning the negotiations by subject, please see The Trade Negotiations Committee.
Canada has been an active participant in each of the negotiating groups and has several objectives in key negotiating areas. In agriculture, Canada has sought the elimination of all export subsidies, substantial reductions to and disciplines on trade distorting domestic support, and significant market access improvements. With respect to non-agricultural goods, Canada has sought improved market access in key markets of interest to Canadian exporters. With respect to services, Canada has pursued increased access to foreign markets for Canadian service firms, including professional, financial, energy, computer, environmental services and temporary entry for business people. Canada also has supported the overall goal of the Round, which is to better integrate developing countries into the international trading system. Canada views the WTO as the best forum for achieving broadly-based trade liberalization, especially in key areas such as agriculture. Agriculture is a central element in the negotiations for almost all WTO Members, including Canada.
Unfortunately, the Doha Round negotiations are currently at an impasse. Despite this fact, Canada remains supportive of the WTO and steadfast in our belief that its institutional credibility must be promoted and upheld.