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Dr Supachai explained that his purpose for convening this consultation
was to seek Members’ views on the very specific request from Minister
Cuttaree for an emergency meeting of the CTG as the best or the most
practical approach for addressing the concerns raised by Mauritius. Dr
Supachai also informed Members that he had received separate letters
from the Ministers of Bangladesh and Nepal raising concerns similar to
those of Mauritius.
“There had been mixed reactions to the request for an emergency
session,” said Dr. Supachai at the conclusion of the consultations. He
suggested that the forthcoming regular session of the CTG, scheduled for
1 October, provided an opportunity where Members could raise concerns on
implementation, including those related to adjustment cost issues
resulting from quota abolition at the end of the year. At that meeting
there will be a final major review of the ATC integration process,
assisted by a report from the Textiles Monitoring Body (TMB).
Since the Textiles Agreement came into effect in 1995, the Goods Council
has conducted a major review of implementation of the agreement before
the end of each stage of the integration process. For the third and
final major review due to be conducted by the Goods Council on 1
October, the TMB’s report covers the period 2002-2004 and deals with all
implementation issues, including the integration process, the
transitional safeguard mechanism, and quantitative restrictions. The
report also contains elements for an overall assessment of the
implementation of the ATC.
Separately, Dr. Supachai noted that the WTO Secretariat, on its own
initiative, had organized three Regional Workshops during 2004 to
address textile and clothing sectoral implementation, integration and
expiry issues, including the challenge of short-term adjustment costs.
The first of these Regional Workshops was held in Montevideo, Uruguay,
for ALADI (Latin American Integration Association) countries (2-4 June).
The second took place in Wuxi, China, for the Asia/Pacific countries, in
partnership with the World Bank, the IMF, the International Trade Centre
(ITC) and importers/retailers (9-11 June). The third is due to take
place in Maseru, Lesotho, (21-23 September) for African countries, also
in partnership with the World Bank, the IMF and the ITC.
Dr Supachai highlighted the IMF’s Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM) as a
further significant example of co-operation and coherence in global
economic policymaking. The TIM can help reassure low income developing
countries that they will receive assistance from the international
community to help them deal with adjustment difficulties they encounter
next year as a result of the expiry of the ATC and the restoration of
more liberal trade in textiles and clothing. Dr Supachai also noted that
in the WTO’s continuing dialogue with World Bank and IMF officials, the
two Bretton Woods institutions had constantly indicated their
pre-disposition to assist with adjustment and related issues, if they
were reflected as priorities in country programmes, including in country
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.
While expressing understanding for adjustment challenges, Dr. Supachai
said that “overall ATC implementation would bring considerable welfare
and efficiency gains for the global economy as well as benefits for the
Dr Supachai confirmed that he would be paying personal attention to the
phase-out process between now and the end of the year.