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Director-General Roberto Azevêdo reported to the General Council on 25 July that there had been “a very good level of engagement” in recent consultations on Doha Round issues. He told WTO members that “how we move forward now is in your hands”. Earlier in the week, DG Azevêdo launched a new WTO facility to help developing countries reap the benefits of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement as it is implemented. Next week, the Government Procurement Committee meets to assess New Zealand and Montenegro's progress in joining the Government Procurement Agreement.

The week ahead: 28 July to 1 August 2014

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The Government Procurement committee will meet informally to take note of the final accession offers from Montenegro and New Zealand and to agree on relevant final steps.  Montenegro and New Zealand are among ten WTO members that have applied to join the Government Procurement Agreement; a further five members have provisions regarding accession to the GPA in their respective WTO accession protocols.

The General Council meeting, which was suspended on Friday 25 July, may reconvene to further discuss the agenda item on the Trade Facilitation Agreement on or before 31 July.

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  The week in review: 21-25 July 2014

24.07.2014
General Council

 

The General Council — the top WTO decision-making body outside Ministerial Conferences — met on 24 and 25 July. Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, in his report to members as chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee, said that there had been “a very good level of engagement” in recent consultations conducted by him and the chairs of the negotiating groups on the key areas of agriculture, industrial goods and services. “How we move forward now is in your hands”, he said. The Council also discussed recent work on adding the Trade Facilitation Agreement to the WTO legal framework. The meeting was suspended without a decision on this topic.

DG Azevêdo told the General Council on 24 July that he has been actively engaged in ensuring that trade is given a central role in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which is being discussed at the United Nations. He said that the draft goals include a significant increase in exports of developing countries, including doubling by 2020 the share of global exports of least-developed countries. He added that the WTO Public Forum in October will be dedicating a full day to analyzing trade in Africa.
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The WTO launched the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility to deliver support to LDCs and developing countries. The initiative, unveiled on 22 July, will help developing countries and least-developed countries reap the benefits of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which was agreed at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013.
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The Dispute Settlement Body, which oversees disputes among WTO members, established two panels on 22 July: on the Russian Federation’s complaint against anti-dumping measures by the European Union on imports from Russia, and on EU’s complaint against Russia’s measures on the importation of live pigs, pork and other pig products from the EU.
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The review of Panama’s trade policies and practices took place on 23 and 25 July 2014. Panama was highly commended for its economic performance; WTO members encouraged the government to pursue further reforms to consolidate recent achievements. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Panama. Meliton Arrocha, Panama’s Minister of Commerce, led his country’s delegation, and met with DG Azevêdo on 23 July.
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DG Azevêdo met with Marc Youmbono, Guinea’s Minister of Commerce, on 22 July.