WTO: 2013 NEWS ITEMS

NINTH WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE

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DG Azevêdo is due to report to the final General Council meeting before Bali — on 21 November — on progress in his consultations.

WTO ambassadors resumed consultations on Section II of a draft agreement on trade facilitation. This section provides the basis for special and differential treatment and for technical assistance and capacity building needed for the implementation of the agreement.

In agriculture, members are focusing on proposals about reducing export subsidies and related policies known collectively as “export competition”, reducing the chances that the methods used to share out a particular type of quota among traders become trade barriers in their own right, on how to deal with developing countries’ food stockholding for food security when the purchases could distort trade, on adding a number of environmental and development services to the list of programmes considered not to distort trade and therefore allowed without limit, and on cotton produced by least-developed countries (LDCs).

On development, members have agreed proposals by LDCs on preferential rules of origin and on operationalization of the services waiver for them. Work continues on duty-free, quota free treatment for LDCs. Members are also consulting on a monitoring mechanism for special and differential treatment for developing countries under WTO agreements.

DG Azevêdo has stressed that the negotiations for a Bali package must be concluded in Geneva before the Ministerial Conference. He told the Trade Negotiations Committee on 12 November that “one of the clearest messages from my consultations with members is that Bali must not be a negotiating conference”.

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