Press Notice 59, Session 2005-06

House of Commons

Westminster Hall Debate on World Trade

The International Development Committee 2006 report on The WTO Hong Kong Ministerial and the Doha Development Agenda [HC 730-I] argued that for the round to be successful priority must be given to agreements in areas which have the potential to contribute most to poverty reduction. The report suggests that while the Government put Africa at the top of its priorities for 2005, this did not translate into significant results in Hong Kong. Moreover the Government did not distance itself from aspects of the EU negotiation mandate which were contrary to the Government’s commitment not to force developing countries to liberalise.

The report will be the focus of a Parliamentary debate on Thursday 12 October at 14.30 in Westminster Hall.

International Development Committee Chair Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce MP said:

“This round of negotiations was always supposed to be about shaping trade for development. Yet what we see is endless wrangling around the margins on the issues that will not, in the end, benefit the poorest people. The EU must improve its offer, and there is good reason for the Commission to ‘blink first’ since in these negotiations, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

“If this is to be a development round then the EU should not make its offers on agriculture, or wider market access to the EU, conditional on reciprocal non agricultural market access, services or anything else. A true development round gives developing countries unconditional access to developed countries’ markets for the widest range of products.”


Notes for Editors:

1. The debate will take place on Thursday 12October at 2.30 pm in Westminster Hall, is open to the public and will also be Webcast live ( 

2.  The Committee Report that will be the subject of the debate was published in April 2006. Full details can be found online at

The Government’s response to this Report, published in July 2006, is available online at

3. The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Barrett MP (Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Quentin Davies MP (Con), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Marsha Singh (Lab).

4.   For further information contact Jessica Bridges-Palmer, Media Officer 020 7219 0724.  Detailed enquiries to Dr Anna Dickson, Committee Specialist, on 020 7219 2738 or