THE economic ministers of 142 member-economies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded their meeting recently in Doha, Qatar. A principal decision was the admission of China and Taiwan to the organization.
In addition, the ministers approved a work program, which they called "broad and balanced,'' that includes negotiations on a wide range of subjects and other tasks for the coming years.
The work program is spelled out in two declarations - a main declaration and one on intellectual property and public health - and one decision on implementation, which presents developing countries' difficulties in implementing current WTO agreements.
The main ministerial declaration includes an elaboration of objectives and timetables for the current negotiations in agriculture and services, negotiations or possible negotiations on issues such as industrial tariffs, trade and investment, trade and competition policy, some aspects of trade and the environment, implementation and other concerns.
The declaration gives a boost to developing countries and commits ministers to address "the particular vulnerability of least developed countries and the special structural difficulties they face in the global economy. …