ACCESSIONSback to top General Council approves Viet Nam’s membership
Nam is set to become the WTO’s 150th member following a decision
by the General Council on 7 November to approve the Southeast Asian
country’s membership agreement. “The remarkable efforts that Viet
Nam has put into preparing for membership should be an inspiration
to us all, as several members have observed,” WTO Director-General
Pascal Lamy said.
has submitted its first offer on market access for goods, a proposal
that some members said was almost good enough for them to accept
as far as industrial products are concerned. But in their 30 November
meeting they sought more information on Laos’ trading regime and
looked forward to the offer on services, which Laos has promised
to deliver before the next meeting.
DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDAback to top Lamy: APEC ministers call for rapid restart of the negotiating engines
Director-General Pascal Lamy, in an address to the APEC Business Advisory
Council in Hanoi on 15 November, said that all APEC trade ministers
have “expressed a sense of urgency and joined in calling for a
rapid restart of the negotiating engines in Geneva”. He urged the
APEC business community to lobby governments for a successful conclusion
to the Doha Round.
Mr. Lamy, in a video address to the 12th Session of the ACP-EU Joint
Parliamentary Assembly in Barbados on 23 November, said that moving
to full-fledged ministerial negotiations will require “serious thinking
and compromises”. He asked parliamentarians to support “relaunching
these negotiations in full gear, so that you may reap their full reward”.
The Director-General, in an address in Montevideo, Uruguay to celebrate
the 20th Anniversary of the launching of the Uruguay Round, paid tribute
to all who helped to make the Uruguay Round a success. He also urged
for “renewed political commitment, leadership and goodwill by all WTO
Members to prepare the ground for fully-fledged negotiations to resume”.
In the Malcolm Wiener Lecture at the John F. Kennedy School of Government,
Harvard University at Cambridge, Massachusetts on 1 November, Mr. Lamy
expressed the hope that “all WTO Members consider the contribution
that the WTO can make to ensuring that globalization works to the benefit
of one and all peoples as they reflect on the resumption of the negotiations”.
DISPUTE SETTLEMENTback to top WTO issues compliance panel’s report on Argentina-US anti-dumping
At its meeting on 26 October, the Dispute Settlement Body established
three panels to examine, respectively, China’s measures on auto
parts, US measures on shrimp from Thailand, and US anti-dumping
measures on steel from Mexico. Also at the meeting, the US blocked
the first-time request by India for a panel to examine the US customs
bond directive, and, under Other Business, Brazil expressed concern
at the “terrible precedent” set during the process to compose the
compliance panel in the “cotton” case.
Body issues report on EC customs matters
Appellate Body, on 13 November, issued its report regarding the
complaint of the United States against the European Communities
in the dispute “European Communities — Selected Customs Matters”(WT/DS315/AB/R).
DEVELOPMENT back to top CTD holds first annual review of Hong Kong Decision on LDCs
The Committee on Trade and Development (CTD), on 28 November, held its
first annual review of the implementation of the Hong Kong Decision
on duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs, as mandated in
Annex F of the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration. A number of delegations
confirmed their commitment to the Decision.
Committee formally adopted the Technical Assistance and Training
Plan for 2007, after which the Director of the ITTC outlined the
critical financial situation of the Doha Development Agenda Global
Trust Fund (DDAGTF).
agreed to postpone until the next meeting a decision on whether to
resume their discussion on the developmental aspects of the negotiations
under paragraph 51 of the Doha Declaration.
was agreed that the Chairman should continue to consult informally
with concerned delegations to find an acceptable way to conclude
the Committee's consideration of the notifications made by ASEAN
and China under the Enabling Clause.
lengthy discussion took place on the EC's revised GSP scheme – notified
under the Enabling Clause earlier this year – particularly on the
basis of the EC's written responses to questions that had been posed
by Brazil, China, India and Pakistan. It was agreed that the item
would remain on the CTD's agenda.
Committee considered a new notification under the Enabling Clause
concerning the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African
Customs Union. In view of questions raised by some delegations, the
item will remain on the agenda for the next meeting.
African delegations voiced strong support for the Chairman's proposal
to hold a panel discussion on commodity issues in the early part
of 2007, as part of the CTD's ongoing discussion on the subject,
and wanted the participation of one or more farmers' organizations
from Africa. The Chairman invited Members to contribute their ideas
after the meeting on an appropriately focused theme and on the organizations
Committee adopted its Annual Report for 2006, which will be forwarded
to the General Council for review at its meeting of 14-15 December
2006. Based on a suggestion by the Chairman under "Other Business",
the Committee agreed to consider at its next meeting a recommendation
by the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements on a common format
for the notification of RTAs. The CTD also agreed to consider at
its next meeting whether to once again treat the issue of electronic
discusses WTO work programme for LDCs
The Sub-Committee on Least-Developed Countries, on 15 November, considered
three elements of the WTO Work Programme for LDCs: trade-related
technical assistance and capacity-building initiatives for LDCs;
accession of LDCs; and market access for LDCs.
the first item, the Sub-Committee heard a progress report on the
implementation of the recommendations for an enhanced Integrated
Framework (IF). Canada, which is one of the co-chairs of the Transition
Team on an enhanced IF, made the report. A large number of Members
took part in the discussion, and expressed their support for the
enhancement of the IF.
Secretariat introduced its note, which provides a brief state of
play in the accession working parties of the LDCs. LDCs expressed
the need to review the accession process of LDCs, particularly in
relation to the accession guidelines which were adopted in 2002.
Sub-Committee resumed consideration of two Secretariat notes: "Market
Access Issues Related to Products of Export Interest to LDCs"; and
"Non-tariff Measures on Products of Export Interest to the LDCs".
In view of a request from the LDCs, the Sub-Committee agreed that
the Secretariat would look into the possibilities of undertaking
a study on the market access situation of LDCs in the area of trade
reviews WTO technical cooperation
The Committee on Trade and Development, on 3 November, focused on issues
relating to technical cooperation and training. The Committee considered
the Final Report of the Strategic Review of WTO-Provided Trade-Related
Technical Assistance, the Management Response to the Strategic
Review, the Technical Assistance and Training Plan 2007 and the
Semi-Annual Review of the Implementation of Activities — 1 January
to 30 June 2006.
Final Report of the Strategic Review was well received by Members.
A distinction was made between the practical,
do-able recommendations coming from the Report and those
that were more of a policy nature and would require further in-depth
Members also welcomed the Management Response to the Strategic
Review and the analysis contained therein. It was generally
agreed that there was a need for further opportunities to discuss
recommendations and conclusions of the Report.
support was given to the Technical Assistance and Training Plan
2007, with several Members commending the improvements and
refinements over previous Plans and the way the main practical
and recommendations of the Strategic Review had been
incorporated. The Plan was adopted on a provisional basis, since
were still awaiting feed-back from capitals. The Secretariat
however, asked to proceed in seeking donors' contributions
to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund in order
to be in a position
to start with the implementation of the Plan early next
year. In this regard, the Director of the Institute for Training
Cooperation expressed his concern about the poor financial
situation and stressed the need to ensure secure and predictable
in line with the financial rules adopted by Members.
The formal adoption of the Plan is expected at the 61st Session
CTD on 28 November 2006.
Committee took note of the Semi-Annual Review of the Implementation
of Activities – 1 January
to 30 June 2006.
helps officials use health patent flexibilities
Twenty-eight developing-country officials have taken part in a 27–29
November workshop designed to help their countries make use of
the pharmaceutical patents flexibilities in the WTO intellectual
Introduction Course on WTO for LDCs concludes in Geneva
The tenth 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 24 November in Geneva.
donates an extra CHF 1.5 million for poor countries to fully benefit
from the multilateral trading system
has announced a further contribution of approximately CHF1,5 million
(EUR 1 million) to the Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund,
which brings Germany’s contribution up to CHF 2.6 million (approximately
EUR1.7 million) for the year 2006. >
15th Introduction Day was held at the WTO on Thursday 23 November.
This day was intended for delegates newly arrived in Geneva, non-governmental
organizations, interns currently working in the Secretariat as
well as new members of staff. Over 65 participants registered for
this event, 80% from outside the Organization.
Council considers new EC enlargement, extends Kimberley waiver
Council for Trade in Goods, on 20 November, agreed to forward
the European Communities enlargement to include Bulgaria and
Romania to the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements for examination,
and approved the extension of the WTO waiver for the Kimberley
Process Certification Scheme for conflict diamonds.
two years of preparatory work, the WTO Committee on Technical
Barriers to Trade adopted, on 9 November, its Fourth Triennial
Review Report. The Report provides an overview of the Committee’s
work after eleven years of implementation and sets out an agenda
for the future.
says new postal strategy could help trade expansion
Pascal Lamy, in a video address to the Universal Postal Union
Strategy Conference on 8 November 2006 said “the new UPU strategy
of integrating the physical, electronic and financial networks
could dramatically facilitate expanding global trade”.
POLICY REVIEWback to top Colombia: Clear progress in modernization and liberalization
but further reforms needed
Trade Policy Review Body, on 22 and 24 November, conducted the
third review of the trade policies and practices of Colombia. Amb.
Eirik Glenne (Norway) chaired and Amb. Peter Allgeier (United States)
acted as discussant for this review. Colombia has achieved steady
economic growth in recent years, and has made definite progress
in the modernization and liberalization of its trade regime since
its previous review in 1996. Non-tariff barriers to trade have
been significantly reduced and the country has embarked on an ambitious
programme of reforms of many economic sectors particularly services,
according to a WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and
practices of Colombia.
The report notes that to consolidate and broaden these gains it would be
important to address, among others, certain practices related to
customs, import licensing, local content requirements, internal
taxes and the regulation of certain services. It would be also
useful to reassess export promotion and incentive schemes.
in fuel prices during 2005 lifts shares of oil-exporters in world
trade while US trade deficit reaches record level
saw a deceleration of world trade caused by a lower economic activity.
At a time of uncertainty, a strong, rules-based multilateral trading
system is the best insurance policy for the world economy,” said
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy on 9 November on the publication
of the WTO annual report ’International Trade Statistics 2006’.
“The lingering indecisiveness of the Doha Round further saps the
confidence in the multilateral trading system as an engine of economic
growth and development. It’s time for political action to bring
the Round to a successful conclusion” added Mr. Lamy.
Secretariat announces latest statistics on safeguards actions
WTO Secretariat, on 29 November, published the latest statistics
on safeguards actions notified by WTO Members pursuant to the Agreement
Secretariat reports new anti-dumping investigations continue to
decline, while new final measures show increase
WTO Secretariat reported on 27 November, based on the latest
available figures, that in the period 1 January-30 June 2006,
the number of initiations of new anti-dumping investigations
continued its recently-reported declining trend, while the number
of new final measures increased relative to the corresponding
period of 2005.
Transport and the GATS
WTO Secretariat published, on 12 November, a compilation of the
documentation produced in 2000-2001 for the first review of the
GATS Annex on Air Transport Services. The 200-page volume is available
from the Online Bookshop.