ACCESSIONSback to top Lamy welcomes conclusion of Saudi Arabia's WTO negotiations
Director-General Pascal Lamy, on 28 October, welcomed the conclusion
of the Working Party negotiations on the accession of Saudi Arabia to
the WTO. “This is a very important step in Saudi Arabia's accession to
the WTO. I am glad to see that the tremendous amount of work done by
Saudi Arabia has now brought it closer to WTO entry. We look forward
to confirmation by the General Council in the days to come,” he said.
Working Party head underlines Bhutan’s LDC status
Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, at the second meeting of the Working
Party on the accession of Bhutan on 6 October, said members must keep
in mind Bhutan's special status as a land-locked, least-developed
country in the negotiations.
Serbia's membership negotiations now underway
Serbia's Foreign Economic Relations Minister Milan Parivodic, at the
first meeting of the country's accession working party on 7 October,
declared that WTO membership is a “sine qua non” for Serbia's
competitiveness and integration into the world economy.
Montenegro membership talks launched
Montenegro's International Economic Relations Minister Gordana
Djurovic said the first meeting of the country's accession Working
Party held on 4 October marked “an important step in Montenegro's
transition to a fully free-market and free-trade oriented economy”.
Yemen underlines commitment to WTO entry
Yemen's Industry and Trade Minister Khaled Rajeh Sheikh, at the second
meeting of the country's working party on 3 October, said that WTO
membership is “a necessary step and an important component in our
efforts to integrate into the world economy”.
Uzbekistan Working Party holds third meeting:
The Working Party on the Accession of the Uzbekistan held its third
meeting on 14 October. It continued its examination of country's
foreign trade regime on the basis of additional replies to questions,
the revised legislative action plan, and revised checklists or
information provided on agriculture, SPS, TBT and TRIPS. A
plurilateral meeting was also held the same day to discuss domestic
support and export subsidies in agriculture.
WTO Deputy Directors-General Alejandro Jara of Chile, Valentine
Rugwabiza of Rwanda, Harsha V. Singh of India and Rufus Yerxa of the
United States began their terms of office on 1 October 2005.
Director-General Pascal Lamy informed the General Council about his
choice of Deputy Directors-General last July.
DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDAback to top Lamy calls for a draft ministerial text by mid-November
At the General Council meeting on 19 October, Mr. Lamy as chair of the
Trade Negotiations Committee stressed the need for urgent action by
all with a view to producing, by mid-November, a draft Ministerial
text based on convergence among negotiators.
The Director-General , in a
speech during an interactive video conference from Paris to the
Annual Conference of the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank in
Helsinki on 22 October said “while we have seen some progress in the
agriculture dossier last week, positions are still too far apart on
agricultural market access to allow the negotiations to progress”. The
previous day, he delivered the Master of Public Affairs inaugural
lecture at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.
In his report to
the General Council on 19 October, the Director-General said he will
stress to Ministers meeting informally in Geneva that “we are under
severe pressure of time” in the negotiations. He said the Ministers
must build on last week’s momentum “to allow us to advance on all
issues across the board”.
Mr. Lamy, in a
statement at the meeting of the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee
on 13 October, said that the trade talks have gained “a new momentum”
with the agriculture proposal by the United States. He added that “it
is essential that the development aspect of agriculture negotiations
be kept at the centre stage, as it is for the Round as a whole”
The Director-General Hong Kong, China's Secretary for Commerce,
Industry and Technology John Tsang, who is also chairman of the 6th
WTO Ministerial Conference, were keynote speakers of a
on 16 October at the Hong Kong University. NGO representatives
participated in an open-floor discussion. The host government's
website broadcast the event. Mr Lamy also spoke to journalists at the
Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club.
In a speech to the
International Trade Centre Executive Forum on National Export Strategy
in Montreux on 5 October, Mr. Lamy stressed that “services are a core
element of the Doha Development Agenda”. He added that “there is clear
link between development and benefits brought about by the opening of
African cotton proponents hail ‘landmark’ progress on development
The African proponents of the cotton initiative have welcomed progress
on the developmental side of the initiative, saying this aspect of the
1 August 2004 framework is finally taking shape, the Cotton
Sub-Committee learnt in its seventh meeting on 28 October.
TRADE POLICY REVIEWS back to top Republic of Guinea: Improved trade regime but good governance and
trade diversification remain major challenges
Guinea has generally improved its trade regime since the last review
took place in 1999, in particular by unifying the tariff in 2005 upon
implementing the reform agreed with other members of the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS), according to a WTO
Secretariat Report on the Trade Policies and Practices of the Republic
of Guinea. Guinea’s trade policy is now aimed at increasing the
contribution that trade makes to economic growth by diversifying and
boosting exports, especially those of the agricultural, fisheries and
non-mining sectors The report notes that good governance,
diversification of exports from dependence on minerals and fiscal reform
are among the main challenges for the Republic of Guinea to emerge from
its economic crisis and successfully reduce poverty.
WTO encourages Tunisia to continue its reforms
The second Trade Policy Review of Tunisia ended successfully after a
detailed analysis of its reforms since the first review in 1994. The
Tunisian delegation at the meeting was headed by H.E. Minister Mondher
Zenaidi. Members congratulated Tunisia on its sustained economic growth
and its progress in improving the standard of living, achieved largely
thanks to its macroeconomic reforms of the past decade. Some members
also congratulated Tunisia for its efforts in the area of trade
falicitation and the dismantling of quantitative import restrictions. In
view of its high tariffs, Members encouraged Tunisia to step up its
trade reforms in order to adhere more closely to the principles of the
WTO, to overcome the dualism within its economy, and to exploit its
comparative advantages more effectively.
The WTO issued the following panel reports in October 2005:
On 31 October, on European Communities’ complaint against “United
States — Laws, regulations and methodology for calculating dumping
margins (“zeroing”)” (DS294);
On 28 October, regarding the case “Korea — Anti-dumping duties on
imports of certain paper from Indonesia” (DS312); and
On 7 October, on the United States' complaint against “Mexico — Tax
measures on soft drinks and other beverages” (DS/308).
The WTO issued the following arbitrator's awards:
On 28 October, regarding the reasonable period of time for the EC to
implement the recommendations and rulings of the Dispute Settlement
Body in the case “European Communities — Export subsidies on sugar”
(DS265, DS266, DS283); and
On 27 October, the second award regarding the European Communities'
implementation of the waiver granted by the Doha Ministerial
Conference in relation to its banana regime (“European Communities —
The ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, Decision of 14 November 2001,”
back to top
Trade is “fundamental tool” in fight against poverty
Director-General Lamy, in a
speech to the UN Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva on 6
October, said that “the bottom line will have to be that trade must act,
and deliver, as an engine of GDP growth and development”. He added that
“the economic interests and development needs of developing countries
lie at the heart of the Doha Agenda”.
In his opening address to
the WTO Symposium on Trade and Sustainable Development on 10 October,
the Director-General said that the WTO must ensure its rules help
correct environmental problems and support the implementation of
multilateral environmental protection accords. He also urged trade
liberalization in goods and services that can help protect the
Transition period extended for export subsidies of
The WTO Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM
Committee), on 27 October, extended by another year (until end 2006) the
transition period for the elimination of export subsidy programmes of 19
developing countries. These countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados,
Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Fiji,
Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Jordan, Mauritius, Panama, Papua New
Guinea, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
Eighth Introduction Course on WTO for LDCs concludes in
The eighth Introduction Course on the WTO for the least-developed
countries (LDCs), organized by the Institute for Training and Technical
Co-operation of the WTO, concluded on 21 October in Geneva.
PUBLICATIONS AND REPORTSback to top Trade growth in 2005 to slow from record 2004 pace
Lower economic output, brought on in part by the sharp rise in oil
prices, will slow world trade growth in 2005, according to WTO annual
publication International Trade Statistics released on 27 October.
World merchandise exports are expected to grow by 6.5 per cent in
2005, markedly less than the 9 per cent growth recorded in 2004.
“While growth in trade will remain satisfactory in 2005 the
decelerating trend is cause for some concern,” said WTO
Director-General Pascal Lamy. “To set us on the right course we need
to create more opportunities for trade, particularly in developing
countries, and we need to adjust global trade rules to better meet the
needs of entrepreneurs in the 21st century. The way to achieve this is
through the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda round
of global trade negotiations.”
Book celebrates 10th anniversary of the WTO dispute settlement system
The WTO, on 6 October, released “Key Issues in WTO Dispute Settlement:
The First Ten Years”. Edited by Deputy Director-General Rufus Yerxa
and Legal Affairs Division Director Bruce Wilson, the book contains
contributions by WTO Secretariat professionals and outside experts.
WTO Secretariat reports continuing declines in both new anti-dumping
investigations and new final anti-dumping measures
The WTO Secretariat, on 24 October, reported that in the period 1
January-30 June 2005, the number of initiations of new anti-dumping
investigations and the number of new measures applied continued their
previously-reported declining trends. During January-June 2005, 15
Members reported initiating a total of 96 new investigations, down
from 106 initiations in the corresponding period of 2004. A total of
12 Members applied 53 new final anti-dumping measures during the
January-June 2005 period, compared with 58 new measures applied during
January-June 2004. Twenty-one of the 96 new initiations were opened by
developed Members, and 24 of the 53 new final measures were applied by
developed Members, during the first half of 2005. This compares with
40 new initiations opened and 23 new measures applied by developed
Members during the first half of 2004.