The World Trade Organization: The Hong Kong Ministerial

The World Trade Organization (WTO) held its 6th Ministerial summit in Hong Kong from December 13-18, 2005. WTO Ministerials are held every two years to bring together trade ministers from member states, often to make political decisions for the body. Although an original goal of the Ministerial was to agree on a package of modalities (methods by which the round is negotiated) for the ongoing Doha Development Agenda (DDA) round of trade negotiations, this aim was dropped in order to avoid a high-profile failure similar to previous Ministerials at Cancun and Seattle. Rather, members agreed to some modest advancements in agriculture, industrial tariffs, and duty and quota-free access for least developed countries. The final outcome of these negotiations could provide a substantial boost to the world economy, but if the round itself is not completed, there may be repercussions for the WTO as an institution and for the architecture of the world trading system.