§ Mr. Caborn
The Government are committed to the principle of sustainable development and to maintaining an open, non-discriminatory and equitable multi-lateral trading system. These aims are regarded as complementary and mutually supportive. We are committed to ensure that sustainable development is a key objective for any new round of trade negotiations.
§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the(a) dates, (b) places at which meetings were held and (c) purposes of conferences of the World Trade Organisation since its inception and those of the former General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or other conferences relating to its preparations, together with the names of (i) members of the Government and (ii) officials who were present when draft rules were (1) considered and (2) agreed. 
§ Mr. Caborn
The dates, locations, and main purposes of GATT and WTO Ministerial Conferences and Special Sessions are as follows:
- 1946 United Nations Economic and Social Council in London establishes a Preparatory Committee to prepare for a United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment for the purpose of promoting the expansion of trade and production, exchange and consumption of goods.
- 1947 Preparatory Committee in Geneva—tariff negotiations and drafting of the GATT
- 1947 GATT Conference in Geneva—Signing of the "Final Act" covering tariff reductions and trade rules (GATT Articles);
- 1948 GATT enters into force. GATT Session in Geneva to incorporate elements of the Havana Charter into the GATT;
- 1949 GATT Conference in Annecy—tariff reductions;
- 1951 GATT Special Session in Torquay—tariff reductions;
- 1956 GATT Conference in Geneva—tariff reductions;
- 1957 GATT Ministerial in Geneva—tariff reductions and rules;
- 1959 GATT Ministerial in Tokyo to establish Trade Negotiations Committee for a new Round of negotiations on tariffs (Dillon Round);
- 1961 GATT Ministerial in Geneva to discuss tariff reductions, trade in agriculture, and obstacles to the trade of least-developed countries;
- 1963 GATT Ministerial in Geneva to agree measures to benefit exports from developing countries and establish the Trade Negotiations Committee for a new Round of negotiations on tariffs and anti-dumping measures (Kennedy Round);
- 1964 Trade Negotiations Committee met in Geneva at Ministerial level to agree guidelines for and formally launch the Kennedy Round;
- 1964 and 1965 GATT Special Session in Geneva to approve GATT Part IV (trade and development);
- 1967 GATT Ministerial in Geneva to conclude the Kennedy Round;
- 1973 GATT Ministerial in Tokyo establishing Trade Negotiations Committee for a new Round of negotiations on tariffs, non-tariffs and "framework" agreements (Tokyo Round);
- 1982 GATT Ministerial in Geneva to agree a work programme and priorities for future work (which failed to launch a Round);
- 1986 GATT Ministerial in Punta del Este, Uruguay to establish Trade Negotiations Committee for what became known as the Uruguay Round (negotiations covering tariff reductions, non-tariff measures, rules, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, textiles, agriculture, and the creation of the WTO);
- 1988 GATT Ministerials in Montreal and 1989 in Geneva—mid-term review of Uruguay Round;
- 1990 GATT Ministerial in Brussels to discuss the closing of the Uruguay Round;
- 1994 Ministerial in Marrakesh to conclude the Uruguay Round Agreements establishing the WTO;
- 1996 First WTO Ministerial in Singapore to discuss future WTO work programme;
- 1998 Second WTO Ministerial Conference in Geneva to mark 50th Anniversary of the GATT and start preparations for a possible new Round of trade negotiations (to be launched at the third Ministerial Conference);
- 1999 Third WTO Ministerial in Seattle to discuss the launch of a new Trade Round.
- Records of Ministerial and Official attendance at meetings where rules were considered and agreed could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
§ Dr. Cable
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps were taken at the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in Seattle to address the concerns of developing countries that existing agreements to put an end to dumping subsidised agricultural products have not been implemented; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Byers
[holding answer 9 December 1999]: The commitments made by WTO members, as part of the Uruguay Round, to reduce subsidised exports of agricultural products have been fully implemented. Negotiations mandated in the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture on further commitments to reduce agricultural support, including subsidised exports, will start in January 2000. This process will go ahead even though discussions on a wider Round of negotiations were suspended in Seattle.
§ Mr. Byers
[holding answer 9 December 1999]: Many developing countries with concerns about TRIPS relate to their ability to implement and enforce the agreement effectively. These concerns can be addressed through capacity building and technical assistance to which the UK is committed. If we had been successful in launching a new trade Round at Seattle, other issues of concern to developing countries in particular those relating to the protection of traditional knowledge and skills and increasing the protection for geographical indications could have been included. Opportunities do, however, remain to discuss some of these issues, for example in the built-in agenda of the TRIPS Council and in the forum of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
§ Dr. Cable
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps were taken at the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference in Seattle to increase market access in sectors of interest to developing countries, particularly agriculture and textiles; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Byers
[holding answer 9 December 1999]: The WTO Ministerial meeting in Seattle was suspended without formal agreement between Members to new improvements to market access for developing countries. However, improvements will be made as part of obligations entered into under agreements which were concluded as part of the Uruguay Round—the so-called built-in agenda. This means, for Agriculture, that negotiations will start in January 2000 in Geneva to continue the process of liberalising agricultural support 14W and protection. For textiles, the planned progressive phase-out of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement will continue, and is due to be completed by 1 January 2005.
In addition we will be pressing the EU to go ahead with its commitment to duty free access for essentially all products from the Least Developed Countries as soon as possible, and with the minimum of exceptions.
§ Mr. Byers
[holding answer 9 December 1999]: The Government are working bilaterally and with a wide range of other organisations, including UNCTAD, the World Bank, ITC and the Commonwealth Secretariat, to help build the capacity of developing countries to participate effectively in WTO and the multilateral trading system. To date, the UK has committed over –15 million to trade-related capacity building programmes of this type and a full list of activities has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
More specifically, in terms of helping developing countries participate in the WTO negotiations at Seattle, the UK has supported bilateral technical assistance programmes in Bangladesh (£0.56 million), Malawi (£0.25 million), South Africa (£0.1 million), Zimbabwe (£0.5 million) and the 14 CARICOM countries in the Caribbean (£1.1 million). A project in Pakistan is currently under review. This technical assistance comprises expert technical advice, training, trade policy studies and negotiating skills and is typically provided to a broad base of stakeholders from national Governments, the private sector and civil society organisations who are involved in trade policy negotiations.
At the multilateral level, developing countries' participation in the WTO negotiations is being particularly supported by a major World Bank Trade Policy Development Programme (TPDP), to which the UK has committed £3 million. TPDP comprises trade policy research and analytical studies; seminars on key issues for the WTO negotiations; training for trade policy officials; and a handbook for trade negotiators from developing countries.
In addition Commonwealth developing countries in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are benefiting from the Commonwealth Trade and Investment Access Facility (TIAF), to which the UK has committed –1.4 million. TIAF's technical assistance projects include full-time specialist WTO and Trade Policy Advisers based in Geneva and in the Pacific, who have played a key role in helping Commonwealth developing countries prepare for, and participate in, the WTO Seattle Ministerial meeting.
§ Mr. Caborn
Reflecting the concerns of developing countries about their effective participation in the decision-making process, the UK in Seattle tabled a proposal in the EU Council of Ministers for a WTO 15W Reform Conference during 2000 to look at improving formal and informal decision-making processes in WTO. This is one idea, there may be others; but the UK is pressing the issue of WTO reform within the EU as an issue which needs to be urgently addressed.