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Inside Southern African Trade (INSAT) Newsletter

Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub

Issue 3, December 2005

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Special issue: WTO Hong Kong Ministerial

As the Delegations of the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) convene in Hong Kong from December 13-18 for the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference, INSAT takes an in-depth look at the state of play of the Doha Development Round of Negotiations from the perspective of Southern Africa.

WTO Ministerial Conferences take place at least once every two years and are the WTO’s highest decision-making body. The Hong Kong Conference is essential to a successful conclusion of the Doha Round by the end of 2006. However, prospects for realizing the intended objectives at the Conference have been tempered in the weeks leading up to the meeting.

We speak to a number of policy-makers, negotiators and private sector and civil society actors from the region and beyond, to get their views on what we can expect from Hong Kong, how we can expect the region to react, and what will be needed for negotiations to move forward post-Hong Kong.

While most of our interviewees lament the downscaling of expectations from Hong Kong, they are still optimistic about the possibility of concluding the Round by the end of 2006. They retain their confidence in the multilateral trading system and are geared up for renewed efforts to ensure that development-friendly trade liberalization becomes a reality.

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