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DOHA WTO MINISTERIAL 2001: THE ACP-EC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

WT/MIN(01)/15
14 November 2001

European Communities — the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement

Decision of 14 November 2001

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Past WTO Ministerials:
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Geneva, 1998
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Singapore, 1996

 


The Ministerial Conference,

Having regard to paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article IX of the Marrakech Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organisation (the “WTO Agreement”), the Guiding Principles to be followed in considering applications for waivers adopted on 1 November 1956 (BISD 5S/25), the Understanding in Respect to Waivers of Obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, paragraph 3 of Article IX of the WTO Agreement, and Decision-Making Procedures under Articles IX and XII of the WTO Agreement agreed by the General Council (WT/L/93);

Taking note of the request of the European Communities (EC) and of the Governments of the ACP States which are also WTO members (hereinafter also the “Parties to the Agreement”) for a waiver from the obligations of the European Communities under paragraph 1 of Article I of the General Agreement with respect to the granting of preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement (hereinafter also referred to as “the Agreement”)(1);

Considering that, in the field of trade, the provisions of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement requires preferential tariff treatment by the EC of exports of products originating in the ACP States;

Considering that the Agreement is aimed at improving the standard of living and economic development of the ACP States, including the least developed among them;

Considering also that the preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the Agreement is designed to promote the expansion of trade and economic development of beneficiaries in a manner consistent with the objectives of the WTO and with the trade, financial and development needs of the beneficiaries and not to raise undue barriers or to create undue difficulties for the trade of other members;

Considering that the Agreement establishes a preparatory period extending until 31 December 2007, by the end of which new trading arrangements shall be concluded between the Parties to the Agreement;

Considering that the trade provisions of the Agreement have been applied since 1 March 2000 on the basis of transitional measures adopted by the ACP-EC joint institutions;

Noting the assurances given by the Parties to the Agreement that they will, upon request, promptly enter into consultations with any interested member with respect to any difficulty or matter that may arise as a result of the implementation of the preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the Agreement;

Noting that the tariff applied to bananas imported in the “A” and “B” quotas shall not exceed 75 €/tonne until the entry into force of the new EC tariff-only regime.

Noting that the implementation of the preferential tariff treatment for bananas may be affected as a result of GATT Article XXVIII negotiations;

Noting the assurances from the Parties to the Agreement that any re-binding of the EC tariff on bananas under the relevant GATT Article XXVIII procedures should result in at least maintaining total market access for MFN banana suppliers and their willingness to accept a multilateral control on the implementation of this commitment.

Considering that, in light of the foregoing, the exceptional circumstances justifying a waiver from paragraph 1 of Article I of the General Agreement exist;

Decides as follows:

1. Subject to the terms and conditions set out hereunder, Article I, paragraph 1 of the General Agreement shall be waived, until 31 December 2007, to the extent necessary to permit the European Communities to provide preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement(2), without being required to extend the same preferential treatment to like products of any other member.

2. The Parties to the Agreement shall promptly notify the General Council of any changes in the preferential tariff treatment to products originating in ACP States as required by the relevant provisions of the Agreement covered by this waiver.

3. The Parties to the Agreement will, upon request, promptly enter into consultations with any interested member with respect to any difficulty or matter that may arise as a result of the implementation of the preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the Agreement; where a member considers that any benefit accruing to it under the General Agreement may be or is being impaired unduly as a result of such implementation, such consultations shall examine the possibility of action for a satisfactory adjustment of the matter.

3bis With respect to bananas, the additional provisions in the Annex shall apply.

4. Any member which considers that the preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the Agreement is being applied inconsistently with this waiver or that any benefit accruing to it under the General Agreement may be or is being impaired unduly as a result of the implementation of the preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the Agreement and that consultations have proved unsatisfactory, may bring the matter before the General Council, which will examine it promptly and will formulate any recommendations that they judge appropriate.

5. The Parties to the Agreement will submit to the General Council an annual report on the implementation of the preferential tariff treatment for products originating in ACP States as required by Article 36.3, Annex V and its Protocols of the Agreement.

6. This waiver shall not preclude the right of affected members to have recourse to Articles XXII and XXIII of the General Agreement.

  
  
Annex back to top

The waiver would apply for ACP products under the Cotonou Agreement until 31 December 2007. In the case of bananas, the waiver will also apply until 31 December 2007, subject to the following, which is without prejudice to rights and obligations under Article XXVIII.

- The parties to the Cotonou Agreement will initiate consultations with members exporting to the EU on a MFN basis (interested parties) early enough to finalize the process of consultations under the procedures hereby established at least three months before the entry into force of the new EC tariff only regime.

- No later than 10 days after the conclusion of Article XXVIII negotiations, interested parties will be informed of the EC intentions concerning the rebinding of the EC tariff on bananas. In the course of such consultations, the EC will provide information on the methodology used for such rebinding. In this regard, all EC WTO market-access commitments relating to bananas should be taken into account.

- Within 60 days of such an announcement, any such interested party may request arbitration.

- The arbitrator shall be appointed within 10 days, following the request subject to agreement between the two parties, failing which the arbitrator shall be appointed by the Director-General of the WTO, following consultations with the parties, within 30 days of the arbitration request. The mandate of the arbitrator shall be to determine, within 90 days of his appointment, whether the envisaged rebinding of the EC tariff on bananas would result in at least maintaining total market access for MFN banana suppliers, taking into account the above-mentioned EC commitments.

- If the arbitrator determines that the rebinding would not result in at least maintaining total market access for MFN suppliers, the EC shall rectify the matter. Within 10 days of the notification of the arbitration award to the General Council, the EC will enter into consultations with those interested parties that requested the arbitration. In the absence of a mutually satisfactory solution, the same arbitrator will be asked to determine, within 30 days of the new arbitration request, whether the EC has rectified the matter. The second arbitration award will be notified to the General Council. If the EC has failed to rectify the matter, this waiver shall cease to apply to bananas upon entry into force of the new EC tariff regime. The Article XXVIII negotiations and the arbitration procedures shall be concluded before the entry into force of the new EC tariff only regime on 1 January 2006.

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Notes:
1.
As contained in documents G/C/W/187, G/C/W/204, G/C/W/254 and G/C/W/269). back to text
2. Any reference to the Partnership Agreement in this Decision shall also include the period during which the trade provisions of this Agreement are applied on the basis of transitional measures adopted by the ACP-EC joint institutions. back to text