In the resolution, which received 475 votes in favour, 106 against and 14 abstentions, MEPs say it is essential that the Doha Round succeeds in order to strengthen the multilateral trade system to ensure harmonious development of the world economy. They strongly support the placing of development at the heart of the round, stressing the negotiations must help in eradicating poverty. They also regret the slow progress so far, and are deeply concerned about the serious effect that a failure would have on the multilateral trade system. They therefore call for a constructive ministerial conference in Hong Kong to prepare for a successful conclusion of the round in 2006. Emphasising the need for a balanced outcome covering every key sector they call on all stakeholders, especially in more advanced countries, to assume their responsibilities to bring the round closer to a successful conclusion.
The resolution says the Hong Kong meeting must agree on the phasing out of all export subsidies by all developed country WTO members in parallel and stresses the need for a substantial reduction in trade distorting domestic support and a significant improvement in market access. The four groups reiterate their support for the CAP reform. Stressing the importance of the multifunctional character of EU agriculture being respected, the resolution also supports the EU's focus on non-trade concerns such as food safety and quality, the environment and employment in rural areas. MEPs call for the effective recognition of geographical indications as part of the round. The issue of sensitive products needs to be resolved in a way which fully respects the Doha Development Round's principles. An effective solution needs to be found on cotton - including the elimination of all export subsidies from developed countries by 2010.
NAMA - Non-agricultural market access
Parliament calls for the acceleration of NAMA negotiations, saying trade barriers between developing countries as well as between developed and developing countries are an obstacle to sustainable development. Advanced countries should open their markets to the least developed countries, while the problem of preference erosion should also be addressed. The principle of less-than-full reciprocity needs to be respected, as does the issue of the significant government income from industrial tariffs in many developing countries. There needs to be adequate protection of nascent industries, promotion of industrialisation and diversification and safeguarding of jobs, especially for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). All trading partners, where justified, should also remove their non-tariff barriers.
Calling for Hong Kong to "lay the foundations for an ambitious agreement on trade in services" the resolution says market access for EU service provides should be enhanced while also safeguarding WTO members' ability to regulate their service sectors. While calling for substantive progress in this field, MEPs say an exception should be made for health, education and audiovisual services. They call on developed and emerging WTO members to make efforts of similar ambition as the EU's offer of January 2005 and for supplementary approaches to this field to be investigated, with due regard for the interests of LDCs.
Trade coupled with aid and debt relief is essential to meet the 2015 Millennium Goals, says the resolution, calling for concrete results on development aspects of the round at Hong Kong. Special and Differential Treatment should be an integral part of the WTO agreements. Developed countries should give tariff- and quota-free access to all goods from LDCs, along the lines of the EU's Everything but Arms plan. The resolution supports the idea of a "free round" for LDCs and vulnerable countries. There also needs to be more trade related technical assistance for LDCs and a coherent "aid for trade" facility to help poorer countries make the most of any trade deal. The text calls for an urgent and permanent solution to the issue of TRIPs and TRIMs (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and Trade Related Investment Measures) to ensure access to medicines for countries with no manufacturing capacity facing public health concerns.
Among other issues dealt with by the resolution, there is a call for stronger multilateral rules on anti-dumping. surveillance and countervailing measures, taking account of the needs of developing countries and LDCs. MEPs also stress the need to take account of social, environmental and cultural issues. They call for Parliament to be kept fully informed throughout the negotiations, noting the EP's right of assent to the conclusion of trade rounds, agreed at the end of the Uruguay Round. Finally, they say reform of the WTO is much needed, including better negotiating procedures and greater efficiency and transparency, and a better Dispute Settlement Mechanism.