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> Supachai Panitchpakdi’s speeches
on trade facilitation
The Chairman, Ambassador Muhamad Noor Yacob of Malaysia, said that
the Work Plan he submitted to the Negotiating Group was based on intensive
consultations with delegations.
The Plan provides for work to proceed on the basis of Members' contributions
and other input that the Negotiating Group may request.
The approved agenda of the Negotiating Group is as follows:
Clarification and improvement of relevant
aspects of Articles V, VIII and X of the GATT 1994; enhancement of
technical assistance and support for capacity building; effective
cooperation between customs or any other appropriate authorities on trade
facilitation and customs compliance issues;
Special and differential treatment for
developing and least-developed countries;
Least-developed country members;
Identification of trade facilitation needs
and priorities; concerns related to cost implications of proposed
Technical assistance and support for
Working with and work of relevant
The Group agreed to hold its next meeting on 22-23
November 2004, and to invite the IMF, OECD, UNCTAD, World Customs
Organization and the World Bank to attend on an ad hoc basis.
At the meeting, many delegations underlined the importance of the agenda
items related to the needs of developing countries and LDCs. Landlocked
countries expressed the hope that negotiations would be of practical benefit
to them, pointing out that they faced higher transport costs compared to
On another matter, smaller delegations urged that their resource constraints
be considered in the scheduling of future meetings.
The 1996 Singapore Ministerial Conference launched the study of trade
facilitation in the WTO. From 1997 to 2003, this work has been carried out
in the Council for Trade in Goods.
The General Council, on 1 August 2004, decided by explicit consensus to
commence negotiations on trade facilitation on the basis of the modalities
set out in
Annex D of the July Package.
Annex D states
in part that: “Negotiations shall aim to clarify and improve relevant
aspects of Articles V, VIII and X of the GATT 1994 with a view to further
expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in
transit. Negotiations shall also aim at enhancing technical assistance and
support for capacity building in this area. The negotiations shall further
aim at provisions for effective cooperation between customs or any other
appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance
The Trade Negotiations Committee, on 12 October 2004, established the
Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation and appointed Ambssador Noor as its