"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. [...] The outcome of the Ministerial potentially has significant implications for Congress. Any agreement resulting from the round must be approved by Congress, and there is pressure to come to an agreement well before the expiration of U.S. trade promotion authority on July 1, 2007. In addition, any agreement on agriculture may affect the drafting or necessitate the revision of the next farm bill that may be considered by Congress in 2007. Congress has also expressed an interest in shielding U.S. trade remedy laws from negotiations. This report will be updated to reflect the outcome of the Ministerial."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33176
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