WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

General Council — Special Session, 15 December 2000

Report on consultations on request for extensions of the TRIMs transition periods

Statement by Mr. William Ehlers on behalf of Ambassador Pérez del Castillo

1. In accordance with the General Council Decision of 8 May 2000 on TRIMs Transition Period Issues, I have held intensive bilateral and plurilateral consultations with interested Members to facilitate the process of finding a solution that is acceptable to all on the question of requests for extensions of the TRIMs transition periods. In keeping with the mandate I received from the General Council, I have taken particular account of the need to preserve and reinforce the multilateral nature of the process.

2. At its meetings held in July, October and November 2000, I informed the Council for Trade in Goods of the progress made in these consultations. At those meetings, Members made comments of a general and more specific nature on the various requests that have been submitted under Article 5.3 of the TRIMs Agreement. I should also like to note here that there has been a useful exchange of written questions and answers between Members concerned.

3. Based on the intensive and numerous consultations held in October and November, I presented to the Council at its meeting held on 15 November the elements of an approach that I believe can take into account the various positions conveyed to me and can serve as the basis for an appropriate solution.

4. The comments made on this proposed approach at the meeting of 15 November were encouraging, but it was also clear that there remained a question as to whether it would be possible to reach agreement to apply this approach to all nine requests for an extension of the transition period.

5. In sum, the consultations that I have conducted since the adoption of the 8 May Decision have been fruitful in that a possible approach has emerged that has attracted a considerable degree of support. While further work is necessary, I would hope to be able in the near future to circulate draft decisions for consideration by the Council for Trade in Goods.

6. Members will recall that, in addition to consultations on requests made under Article 5.3, the General Council Decision of 8 May also instructed me to hold consultations on the means to address the cases of those Members who had not notified TRIMs or who had not yet requested an extension. While I have given priority to the consultations on the requests made under Article 5.3, this was based on the belief that a solution to these requests might make it easier to find a way to address those cases. I would like to stress, in this respect, that I have consulted with these delegations and have kept them fully informed of the consultations which I have conducted under Article 5.3.