WTO: 2010 NEWS ITEMS

COMMITTEE ON SUBSIDIES AND COUNTERVAILING MEASURES

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The beneficiary countries are the following: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Jordan, Mauritius, Panama, Papua New Guinea, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uruguay.

Three export subsidy programmes — one each from Belize, Fiji and Mauritius — have already been phased out.

The Committee approved the extension requests after reviewing reports by these countries on the status of their subsidy programmes. These programmes are mainly related to free trade zones or to tax incentives for exporters.

The beneficiary countries presented action plans for phasing out the subsidy programmes, and answered questions from the United States, Colombia and Australia.

In 2007, the General Council adopted a decision on procedures for the extension of the transition period for the elimination of export subsidy programmes of these developing countries. The decision enables the Subsidies Committee to continue to grant extensions of the transition period until the end of 2013, with a final phase out period of two years, which shall end no later than 31 December 2015.

The United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan commended the “smooth way” in which the General Council decision was being implemented in the Committee. In addition, Japan cited the need for more technical assistance for the beneficiary countries.

El Salvador underlined the importance of the subsidy programmes for its economy.

Regarding notifications of countervailing-duty (CVD) actions taken during the first half of 2010, the United States expressed concerns with CVD measures by China on electrical steel, chicken products and autos from the US. China, on the other hand, complained about the United States’ action on oil country tubular goods from China.

On the subject of notifications, China and Mexico reported they are working hard to submit their subsidy notifications to the Committee.

The United States expressed concern over lack of or incomplete subsidy notifications from members, and in particular about what it said were gaps in the notifications of Malaysia, India and China. Japan, Australia, the European Union, Canada and New Zealand shared the United States’ concerns. India and Malaysia said they are working to improve their notifications.

The US said that according to the Secretariat’s calculations it had requested, India had gained export competitiveness (3.25% or more of world trade) in textiles and apparel and therefore must phase out its export subsidies in the sector over an eight-year period as required by the Subsidies Agreement. It expressed concern about India’s recent extension of three subsidy programmes for textiles. India said that it was carefully going through the Secretariat’s calculations, adding that the Committee needed to have a common understanding on the product coverage of the Agreement’s provision concerned. It also maintained that the three programmes cited by the US were not export subsidies.

Under “Other Business,” Japan reported that it had asked for dispute settlement consultations with Canada on the Province of Ontario’s renewable energy programme, and that the US and the EU have joined in these consultations. Canada confirmed that the consultations were underway.

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