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Ministerial conferences

According to article 4 the «Marrakesh agreement on World Trade Organization creation» dd. April 15, 1994 the Ministerial conference is the supreme body of the WTO consisting of representatives of all members of the WTO.

Sessions of Ministerial conference are spent not less often than once in two years. The given body can make decisions on all questions which are a subject of multilateral agreements of the WTO.




The first conference / December 9-13, 1996 / Singapore

During the first Ministerial conference of the WTO ministers of trade, the finance, agriculture and foreign affairs more than 120 member states of the WTO have taken part.

The Singapore Ministerial conference passed in a kind of plenary sessions, various multilateral, плюрилатеральных and bilateral meetings. During the given conference have been accepted:

  • The Singapore declaration of ministers;
  • The Declaration of ministers on trade in production information technologies as plurilateral agreements (obligatory only for the signed countries). 

In the Singapore Ministerial conference three working groups have been created:

  1. On trade and investments;
  2. On trade and the competitive policy;
  3. On a transparency of the state purchases.

Besides, Ministers of member states of the WTO have given the commission to Council about trade in the goods to study possibilities of simplification of trading procedures (assistance in trade development).

The questions as a result considered above remained in the history as the «Singapore questions». 


The second conference / May 18-20, 1998 / Geneva, Switzerland

During the second Ministerial conference, the multilateral trading system devoted to the 50th anniversary, have been signed:

  • The Declaration of the ministers underlining importance of multilateral trading system based on rules;
  • The Declaration on global electronic commerce. The given document contains the commission to a WTO General council to develop the activity program in the field.


The third conference / November 30 – December 3, 1999 / Seattle, USA

During the third Ministerial conference declarations have not been accepted.


The fourth conference / November 9-14, 2001 / Doha, Qatar

Negotiations in Doha have covered all basic questions of the international trading system, but the special attention has been given the further liberalization of trade by the agricultural goods and problems of developing countries.

In the fourth WTO Ministerial conference the following had been accepted:

  • Ministerial Declaration The given document contains the working program of negotiations, including the negotiations provided by the Agreement on creation of the WTO and its Appendices.

During carrying out of the fourth WTO Ministerial conference they had approved the introduction of China into the WTO.


The fifth conference / September 10-14, 2003 / Cancun, Mexico

In the fifth Ministerial conference the representatives of member states have accepted the additional Declaration again confirming the obligations on end of negotiations under the aegis of the Doha program of development. However ministers had not been reach a consensus in negotiation methods on such key question, as agriculture. Besides, ministers also have not come to a common opinion on «the Singapore questions» that has led to removal of this points in question from the summons of multilateral negotiations, except for a question of simplification of trading procedures (assistance in trade development).


The sixth conference / December 13-18, 2005 / Hong-Kong

During the sixth Ministerial conference have been accepted:

  • The Declaration of ministers including the agreement on some question.
  • New obligations for developed countries the purposes of maintenance without quota and without duty export from the least developed countries (for 2008), and also on an exception of all kinds of the export grant for a clap by 2006.

The seventh conference / November 30 - December 2, 2009 / Geneva, Switzerland

In the seventh Ministerial conference the theme became the basic point of issue: «the WTO, multilateral trading system and an economic current state». According to the schedule at conference negotiations on the Doha round of negotiations were not carried on.

The eighth conference /December 15-17, 2011 / Geneva, Switzerland

The Eighth Ministerial Conference was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15 to 17 December 2011. In parallel to the Plenary Session, where Ministers made prepared statements, three Working Sessions took place with the following themes: “Importance of the Multilateral Trading System and the WTO”, “Trade and Development” and “Doha Development Agenda”. The Conference approved the accessions of Russia, Samoa and Montenegro. In the final session, Ministers adopted a number of decisions and the Chair made a concluding statement.