The General Council, on 8 February, noted the consensus on the
slate of names of
chairpersons for WTO bodies and elected Amb. Eirik Glenne of
Norway as its new Chairman.
Director-General Pascal Lamy, in his
to the General Council as chair of the Trade Negotiations Committee,
underlined that the “only way to make progress across the board in
these negotiations is focus on the two main elements we must now
develop — numbers and words, texts”
Also as TNC Chair, Mr. Lamy announced at the meeting of the General
Council the composition of the Aid for Trade Task Force that he was
asked to set up by the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference. The Task
Force will be composed of these 13 members in alphabetical order:
Barbados, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the European Union, Japan,
India, Thailand, the United States and the coordinators of the ACP,
the African Group and the LDC Group. The Permanent Representative of
Sweden, ambassador Mia Horn Af Rantzien, will chair this Task Force ad
personam. The establishment of this Task Force follows a mandate given
to the Director General by Ministers at the Hong Kong Conference. The
Task Force will provide recommendations to the General Council by July
2006 on how to operationalize Aid for Trade and how Aid for Trade
might contribute most effectively to the development dimensions of the
Doha Development Agenda.
> Summary of the
DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDAback to top Plurilateral negotiations in services start
As mandated by the Hong Kong Declaration, groups of members are to start
presenting their requests on various services sectors to other members
on 28 February 2006. Plurilateral meetings to discuss these requests are
expected to be held during the next services cluster of meetings
scheduled from 27 March to 7 April 2006.
Chairperson’s questions for post-Hong Kong talks
In early February, Ambassador Crawford Falconer, chairperson of the
agriculture negotiations, circulated a set of questions for the work
leading up to the 30 April deadline for “modalities”. He said these
should be an aid for the discussions as the talks start evolving texts.
“In considering these questions, it might also be useful if delegations
could bear in mind the distinction between those issues which ministers
will have to decide and the preparatory and technical work we must do to
prepare the ground for such ministerial decisions,” he said in a
page-long cover note.
Lamy urges members to “step up” negotiations
Director-General Pascal Lamy, in his
to the Trade Negotiations Committee on 7 February, noted the “very
detailed timelines” in the Hong Kong Declaration and urged negotiators
“to intensify contacts with other delegations and with your capitals, to
move us towards the elements we will need to conclude this Round at the
end of the year”.
During the month, the Director-General made speeches encouraging further
progress in the Doha Round:
In a speech at the
International Institute of Economics in Washington on 17 February, he
said that “as in the other Rounds, US leadership is indispensable” for
the Doha Round to conclude successfully by the end of the year. He
added that “at the end of the day all countries stand to gain from a
strengthened multilateral trading system — both developed and
developing countries since trade is not a zero-sum game”.
In a speech before the
South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg on 10
February, he said that in Geneva “every country knows it will have to
move” to successfully conclude the Round, and pointed to the
leadership role of South Africa “in ensuring that the major players
make significant movement”.
Mr. Lamy has also underlined the development dimension of the trade
In a speech in
Santiago, Chile on 30 January, he said “we need to remember that trade
is only a tool to elevate the human condition: the ultimate impact of
our rules on human beings should always be at the centre of our
consideration”. He urged more assistance to help developing countries
deal with the imbalances created between winners and losers from trade
In a speech in Lima,
Peru on 31 January, said that the current negotiations must integrate
the issues and concerns of developing countries “in every stage”.
Developing countries also have the “opportunity to adopt and lock in
reforms which underpin economic growth and development,” he added as
he praised Peru and its regional partners for being “constructive
actors” in the WTO.
The Director-General responded to questions from all over the world on
the Doha Round and about many subjects ranging from sustainable
development to generic medicines his first live
held on 21 February, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Geneva time.
back to top DSB establishes panel in reference to aircraft subsidy dispute
The Dispute Settlement Body, on 17 February, established a panel to
help to resolve a number of procedural matters that have risen in the
dispute US measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft brought by
the EC (DS317).
The EC asked for a special meeting of the DSB to be convened 2
February to request the establishment of a panel in reference to the
case “US — measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft”.
The following reports were issued during the month:
On 20 February, the award of the arbitrator 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 —
Customs Classification of Frozen Boneless Chicken Cuts” (WT/DS269,
On 13 February, the Appellate Body report regarding the second
compliance panel report on the European Communities’ complaint against
“United States: Tax treatment for ‘Foreign Sales Corporations’”
On 1 February, the report of the panel established to examine Korea's
complaint against “Japan — Import quotas on dried laver and seasoned
laver” (DS323). The panel reported that a mutually agreed solution had
been reached in the case.
TRADE POLICY REVIEW back to top Angola: Diversification of production and trade is essential for
Since the end of the 30-year old civil war, Angola has made significant
progress in fostering growth and stabilizing its economy, and has
redoubled efforts for a better integration in the multilateral trading
system both in regional end global terms, according to a WTO Secretariat
report on the trade policies and practices of Angola. The authorities
are committed to trade liberalization as a means to secure the
foundations for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction,
although effective production in various sectors still remains mainly
through tariff escalation. Oil and diamonds dominate the export sector.
The report suggests that to consolidate recent improvements in
macroeconomic performance, Angola needs to redevelop sectors other than
the traditional oil and diamonds, and intensify the diversification of
production and trade as well as rehabilitate the domestic
infrastructure. Continued help in efforts for landmine clearance in
conflict areas and providing urgent technical assistance would also help
in the stabilization and development efforts.
Israel: Shift to high-tech contributed to increases in exports and
The recovery of Israel’s economy from the early 2000’s recession has
been mostly led by exports, in particular by innovation and a shift to
high-technology goods and services, according to a WTO Secretariat
report on the trade policies and practices of Israel. The report notes
the high level of protection still in place for agriculture. It stresses
that continued structural and trade reforms, including further
privatizations, MFN tariff reductions (on agricultural goods in
particular) and reduction in the gap between bound and applied tariff
rates, would enhance predictability and transparency of the trade
regime; further reforms of import duties would enhance adherence by
Israel to its WTO commitments.The report also highlights Israel’s
unilateral lifting of its general prohibition on imports from WTO
Members that have no diplomatic relations with it or prohibit imports
from Israel, a move that the authorities hope will be appreciated and
DEVELOPMENTback to top US gives $100,000 aid on food, animal and plant health standards
The United Sates has committed to donate US$ 100,000 (approximately
127,800 Swiss francs) to help developing countries analyse and
implement international standards on food safety and animal and plant
health — so-called sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards.
OTHER WTO ACTIVITIES
back to top
SPS Committee grapples with ‘regionalization’
The SPS Committee, which deals with food safety and animal and plant
health, continued, in its February 2006 meeting, to grapple with
differing views on how to recognize regions (and not whole countries) as
being free from disease or pests — an obligation in the WTO agreement.
REPORTS back to top Overview of developments in the international trading environment
The Director-General, in his
annual report to the Trade Policy Review Body on 28 February, said
that “the improvement in growth prospects in many of the world's
poorest countries has been an especially welcome development over the
past few years”. Beyond the robust expansions in China and
India — which account for over half of the world's poor — GDP growth
in Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) has also risen despite
adverse effects of the global slowdown and falling commodity prices.
A ‘probabilistic’ approach to the use of econometric models in sunset
Economists have increasingly become involved in trade remedy and
litigation matters that call for economic interpretation or
quantification. The literature on the use of econometric methods in
response to legal requirements of trade policy is rather limited. This
new WTO staff working paper
contributes to filling this gap by demonstrating the efficacy of using
a simple ‘probabilistic’ model in analyzing the ‘likelihood’ of injury
to the local industry concerned, following a finding of continuation
or recurrence of dumping (or countervailable subsidies).