AGRICULTURE: WORKSHOP, GENEVA, 22-24 SEPTEMBER 2009

Workshop on Agriculture Notifications

The Workshop on Agriculture Notifications is being organized in Geneva, Switzerland, from 22 to 24 September 2009, back-to-back with the 56th Regular Session of the Committee on Agriculture (CoA), so as to facilitate the participation of capital-based officials. The Workshop is intended to be a technical assistance activity, a training opportunity and a forum for exchange of information, and not an instance where participants or speakers would be expected to provide explanations on behalf of their governments.

Programme

Objectives

The objective of the Workshop is to enable Members to fulfil their notification obligations in a timely manner and in line with the transparency requirements contained in the Agreement on Agriculture. The Workshop is aimed at studying the existing notification requirements and formats (G/AG/2 and Add.1) and providing a platform to discuss specific technical issues Members may face when preparing agriculture notifications and analyzing notifications submitted by their trading partners. Some workshop participants will also share their experiences and identify or suggest best practices as regards institutional capacity to prepare and analyze notifications and participate in the Review Process under the CoA.

By the end of the Workshop, participants will have:

  • become familiar with the specific notification requirements and formats in the areas of market access, domestic support, export subsidies, export prohibitions and restrictions, and the follow-up to the Marrakesh NFIDC Decision;
      
  • improved their knowledge of existing tools that might be useful in preparing and analyzing notifications;
     
  • gained a better understanding of the purpose and procedures of the Review Process under the CoA;
     
  • learnt from other Members' experiences about the institutional capacity building necessary to prepare and analyze notifications and to actively participate in the Review Process;
     
  • identified specific actions they could take (i.e. develop an Action Plan) to ensure that relevant notification obligations are fulfilled in a timely manner.

 

Preparatory work

In preparing for the Workshop, participants are requested to:

  • get acquainted with the status of compliance with the notification obligations assumed by their respective governments under the CoA;
      
  • identify any challenges in the preparation/submission/analysis of notifications; and
      
  • where relevant, come prepared with technical questions.

To assist in these preparations and to encourage active involvement in the Workshop, participants are also requested to consider the following queries (1), as may be appropriate:

  • What are the notification obligations relevant to your delegation?
      
  • What is the status of compliance with your obligations? (The latest status of compliance can be downloaded from the Members' password-protected web site.)
     
  • Which domestic stakeholders (i.e. departments/ministries/agencies) would be involved in the data collection, preparation/approval/submission of your notifications, analysis of notifications of your trading partners, preparation of questions/answers for the Review Process?
      
  • What domestic system/communication channels are in place through which notification requirements and deadlines can be circulated to all stakeholders?
      
  • Have you encountered any problems in preparing/submitting/analyzing notifications and/or in participating in the Review Process and if so, please identify those problems?
      
  • Have you been able to overcome those problems and if so, what solutions have been implemented?
      
  • Is there a need for any technical/institutional capacity building, technical assistance and training and if so, what would be needed to develop/preserve/transfer the necessary knowhow in the area of agriculture notifications?
      
  • Are you familiar with/have you ever used the currently available tools? (Please see a listing of such tools in the Annex to document G/AG/GEN/83.)
     
  • What specific actions would it take to ensure that your notification obligations are fulfilled in a timely manner?

 

Action plans

The Action Plan is aimed at tackling any problems that each participant faces in preparing/submitting/analyzing notifications, and at identifying ways to enhance the technical/institutional capacity and know-how related to notifications and the participation in the Review Process. It is hoped that the preparatory work described above will be useful in helping participants identify possible subject(s) to be covered by the Action Plan.

It is also envisaged that the Action Plans could become useful means and starting points for the relevant stakeholders to consider any mentoring or technical assistance, either from the Secretariat or from other Members with knowledge and experience in the identified areas. To this end, and subject to participants' demands, the Secretariat could, for example, facilitate the establishment of a forum for mentoring and technical assistance in light of the suggestions contained in paras. 90-91 of the survey report (G/AG/GEN/85).

Moreover, as part of the follow-up, the Agriculture and Commodities Division staff remain at the disposal of delegations for consultations and technical assistance, as appropriate. Any queries related to the preparation of notifications can also be sent using the e-mail form which is under development on the WTO public web site.

 

Programme

Tuesday 22 September

8:00-8:30

Registration

8:30–9:00

Opening session

  • Ms. Valeria Csukasi, Chairperson, Committee on Agriculture (regular session)
  • Mr. Clem Boonekamp, Director, Agriculture and Commodities Division (AGCD)

9:00–9:30

Overview of notification requirements

The notification requirements and formats adopted by the Committee in 1995 will be introduced in each substantive area, based on documents G/AG/2 and G/AG/2/Add.1.

  • Ms. Majda Petschen, Counsellor, AGCD; Secretary, Committee on Agriculture (regular session)
    Presentation

9:30-10:30

Presentation of existing tools:  Schedules, Docs online, etc.

Participants will be introduced to those currently available tools (such as Schedules of commitments, Supporting Tables, Notifications Handbook, etc.) that they may wish to  consult when preparing and analyzing agriculture notifications.

Participants will also learn how to identify and retrieve agriculture notifications using the Central Registry of Notifications (CRN) search interface of Documents Online, which is the WTO web archive of official documents.  Documents Online is currently under re-development and the new application is scheduled for release in the second half of 2010. Hence, the  features of the new application will also be briefly described.

  • Ms. Tatyana Petrova, Economic Affairs Officer, AGCD
    Presentation
  • Mr. John Dickson, Chief of Section, Official Documents and Records — Languages, Documentation and Information and Management Division
    Presentation

Coffee break

10:45-11:30

Specific requirements and formats:  Tariff and other quotas (Tables MA:1 and MA:2)

Who is required to notify the administration of, and imports under, tariff and other quotas?  When?  For which products?  In what format?  What are the data needs? 

  • Ms. Majda Petschen, Counsellor, AGCD; Secretary, Committee on Agriculture (regular session)
    Presentation

11:30-12:30

Specific requirements and formats:  Special safeguard (Tables MA:3 to MA:5)

Who is required to notify the recourse to Article 5 of the Agreement on Agriculture? When?  For which products?  In what format?  What are the data needs? 

  • Mr. Diwakar Dixit, Economic Affairs Officer, AGCD
    Presentation

Lunch break

14:00-14:45

Practical exercise:  Special safeguard (SSG)

This session will provide hands-on experience in calculating the trigger level for the volume-based SSG to be notified in Table MA:3;  and will concentrate on data needs for both volume-  and price-based (Table MA:4) safeguards.

14:45-15:45

Presentation of existing tools:  The Integrated Data Base (IDB) and the Consolidated Tariff Schedule (CTS)

The contents of these two databases, i.e. the IDB and the CTS, will be briefly introduced with a special focus on the availability of agriculture-related data and query tools allowing users to identify and extract and download the relevant information.

  • Ms. Antonia Diakantoni, Senior Statistical Officer, IDB, Economic Research and Statistics Division
  • Ms. Alya Belkhodja, Senior Statistical Officer, IDB, Economic Research and Statistics Division
    Presentation

Coffee break

16:00-16:30

Presentation of existing tools:  Agriculture website

The recently-revamped public website will be presented.  Participants will be shown how to retrieve agriculture notifications and other information related to the work of the Committee on Agriculture through the scripts on http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/agric_e/agric_e.htm.

  • Mr. Steve Cooper, Internet Coordinator, Web Team, Information and External Relations Division
    Presentation

16:30-17:30

Building technical capacity to prepare/analyze notifications in the Market Access area:  Members' experiences and best practices

Workshop participants will share experiences and best practices by describing the challenges they have faced in preparing, submitting and analyzing notifications in the market access area and how they have overcome those challenges.

  • Ms. Emalene Marcus-Burnett, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Barbados, Geneva
  • Ms. Ruth Montes de Oca S., Director of the Office of Agricultural Trade Agreements, Ministry of Agriculture, Dominican Republic
    Presentation
  • Mr. Vincent Lin,  Agricultural Affairs, Permanent Mission of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu to the WTO
    Presentation
  • Mr. Kazuhiro Takahashi, Director for WTO Negotiations, International Affairs Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan
    Presentation

 

Wednesday 23 September

8:30–10:00

Specific requirements and formats: 

  • Export subsidy commitments (Tables ES:1 to ES:3)
    Presentation
  • Export prohibitions and restrictions (Table ER:1)
    Presentation
  • Monitoring of the Follow-up to the NFIDC Decision (Table NF:1)
    Presentation

Who is required to notify?  When?  For which products?  In what format?  What are the data needs? 

  • Ms. Majda Petschen, Counsellor, AGCD; Secretary, Committee on Agriculture (regular session), and Ms. Tatyana Petrova, Economic Affairs Officer, AGCD

10:00-10:45

Building technical capacity to prepare/analyze notifications in the Export Subsidies area:  Members' experiences and best practices

Workshop participants will share experiences and best practices by describing the challenges they have faced in preparing, submitting and analyzing notifications in the export subsidy area and how they have overcome those challenges.

  • Mr. Ken Gordon, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Australia to the WTO
    Presentation
  • Mr. Jose Alberto Cuellar, Specialist on Agriculture and Trade Policy Evaluation, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, Mexico
    Presentation
  • Mr. Henk Kok, Administrative Assistant — Negotiator, European Commission, Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development — WTO Unit
    Presentation

Coffee break

11:00-12:30

Specific requirements and formats:  Domestic Support

  • Current Total AMS (Table DS:1 and Supporting Tables DS:1 to DS:9)
  • New or modified exempt measures (Table DS:2)

Who is required to notify?  When?  Which domestic support policies?  In what format?  What are the data needs? 

Lunch break

14:00-15:30

Practical exercise:  Domestic Support

Participants will gain hands-on experience in calculating the Current Total AMS and examples of classification of agricultural policies in the exempt and non-exempt categories of domestic support will be provided.

Coffee break

15:45-16:45

Building technical capacity to prepare/analyze notifications in the Domestic Support area:  Members' experiences and best practices

Workshop participants will share experiences and best practices by describing the challenges they have faced in preparing, submitting and analyzing notifications in the domestic support area and how they have overcome those challenges.

  • Mr. Miguel Donatelli, Multilateral Affairs Coordinator (WTO), National Market Directorate, Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food, Argentina
    Presentation
  • Mr. Lars Brink, Expert Advisor, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada
    Presentation
  • Mrs. Aisha Humera Moriani, Economic Counsellor, Pakistan's Permanent Mission to the WTO
    Presentation
  • Ms. Anne Effland, Social Science Analyst, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture
    Presentation

16:45-17:30

Discussion of participants' Action Plans

Participants will be invited to identify specific actions to tackle any problems faced in preparing, submitting or analyzing notifications.  For example, ways to enhance the technical and institutional capacity and know-how related to notifications could be identified by means of an Action Plan with a view to ensuring that the relevant notification obligations are fulfilled in a timely manner.

It is also envisaged that the Action Plans could become useful means and starting points for the relevant stakeholders to consider any mentoring or further technical assistance, either from the Secretariat or from other Members having knowledge and experience in the identified areas. 

  • Ms. Valeria Csukasi, Chairperson, Committee on Agriculture (regular session)

 

Thursday 24 September

10:00 

Committee on Agriculture (56th Regular Session)

15:30-16:45

Roundtable discussion concerning the Review Process — Ms. Valeria Csukasi

  • Purpose and procedures of the Review Process
  • Institutional capacity to participate in the Review Process:  Members' experiences and best practices

The participants will share experiences and best practices with respect to their participation in the Review Process under the Committee on Agriculture by describing any problems they encountered, the domestic system/institutional framework implemented to address these problems as well as the institutional capacity building necessary to preserve and transfer know-how related to notifications and/or participation in the Review Process. 

  • Ms. Gerda van Dijk,  Minister (Agriculture), South African Mission, Geneva
    Presentation
  • Mrs. Alma Sonia Nuila, Chief of International Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Economy, El Salvador
    Presentation
  • Mr. Md. Motaher Hussain, Economic Minister, Permanent Mission of Bangladesh, Geneva
  • Mr. Jonas Skei, Counsellor (Agriculture), Permanent Mission of Norway to the WTO
    Presentation
  • Mr. Luís Cláudio Carmona, Advisor of the Department of Multilateral Commercial Negotiations, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, Brazil
    Presentation

16:45-17:00

Closing session      

  • Ms. Valeria Csukasi, Chairperson, Committee on Agriculture (regular session)
  • Ms. Majda Petschen, Counsellor, AGCD; Secretary, Committee on Agriculture (regular session)

 

1. Some questions are similar to those used in the questionnaire-based survey conducted earlier this year. In this regard, Members that have not yet sent their responses to the questionnaire circulated in document G/AG/GEN/83 dated 2 April 2009 are encouraged to do so as soon as possible by e-mail to: majda.petschen@wto.org. back to text

Download: 

programme in pdf format

background note in pdf format

list of speakers in pdf format

list of participants in pdf format