1. Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee
The Director-General noted that work on the Doha Development Agenda had seen some new signs of re-engagement after the summer break. He stressed that all options needed to be explored for some incremental progress on the negotiating agenda. He provided an update on the on-going work in negotiating groups and stressed that it was essential to seriously engage in bridging gaps on those issues where work was advancing. The key word had to be to work on “deliverables”. Several delegations highlighted a renewed sense of engagement. Many referred to trade facilitation as an area where technical work was continuing to advance — several pointed out that it was not a self-balancing issue. A number of delegations stressed that progress in agriculture was essential. Progress in the discussions in the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) in Special Session was also highlighted; a number of delegations also spoke about the centrality of development and of least-developed country (LDC)-related issues in any deliverable package.
2. Work Programme on Small Economies — Report by the Chairman of the Dedicated Session of the Committee on Trade and Development
The Chair of the CTD Dedicated Session, followed by Barbados, said that work on non-tariff measures and their impact on small, vulnerable countries was continuing, and that the future subject of discussion included the impact of WTO rules on small economies, the institutional and administrative constraints they faced and the effects of trade liberalization on them.
3. Situation regarding the rights to the Havana Club Rum Trademark in the United States — Communication from Cuba (WT/GC/147)
This item was on the agenda at the request of the delegation of Cuba, which raised concerns about intellectual property rights of the holder of the Havana Club Cuban rum brand in the US.
4. Improving the Guidelines for Granting Intergovernmental Organizations Permanent Observer Status in the WTO – Statement by the Chair
The Chair said that, at this stage, she could not report any change in the positions previously expressed on this matter and that she would continue her consultations and report back as appropriate.
5. Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration — Reports on meetings of July and September 2012
Following an introduction by the Chairman of the Budget Committee, the General Council adopted the reports contained in WT/BFA/131 and WT/BFA/132, and approved three specific recommendations therein.
6. WTO Pension Plan
The Annual Report for 2011 (WT/L/863) of the WTO Pension Plan was introduced by the Chairman of the Management Board of the WTO Pension Plan. The General Council elected Mr Ken Chang-Keng Chen (Chinese Taipei) to serve as alternate on the Management Board.
7. Appointment of Officers to WTO Bodies — Negotiating Group on Market Access and Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance
The Chair informed the Council that consensus had emerged to appoint Amb. Faizel Ismail (South Africa) as Chair of the Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance. Consultations on the chairmanship of the Negotiating Group on Market Access were on-going. Consultations would also start to appoint a new Chair for the Committee on Trade and Environment in Special Session.
Under “Other Business”
8. Ukraine’s notification under Art. XXVIII
The European Union, echoed by some 20 other delegations, raised concern about a recent request by Ukraine to modify its schedule of tariff concessions.
9. Measures to streamline the production of documents and the conduct of meetings
The Director-General provided an update on various cost-saving measures in the areas of translation, printing and distribution of documents and conduct of meetings which were under way in a number of committees.
10. Appointment of the next Director-General — Statement by the Chair
The Chair outlined the process to appoint a new Director-General as contained in the agreed procedures in WT/L/509. In line with the procedures, the appointment process will begin on 1 December.
11. Administrative measures for members in arrears
The Chair of the Budget Committee informed the Council that there was one member in Category II, two in Category III, and three in Category IV.