29 April 2004

Goods Council agrees on chairpersons of subsidiary bodies

The Council for Trade in Goods, on 27 April 2004, agreed on a slate of chairpersons of its subsidiary bodies for this year.

The new chairpersons are:

  • Committee on Agriculture: Mr. Roald P. Lapperre (Netherlands)

  • Committee on Anti-Dumping: Mr. Ernesto Fernández (Costa Rica)

  • Committee on Customs Valuation: Mr. Robin Twyman (United Kingdom)

  • Committee on Import Licensing: Ms. V. Campeanu (Romania)

  • Committee on Market Access: Dr. Magdi Farahat (Egypt)

  • Committee on Rules of Origin: Ms. V. Thorstensen (Brazil)

  • Committee on Safeguards: Mr. Hervé Drouet (France)

  • Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures: Mr. Gregg Young (United States)

  • Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures: Mr. J. Hirose (Japan)

  • Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade: Mr. Sudhakar Dalela (India)

  • Committee on Trade-Related Investment Measures: Mr. Sivaramen Palayathan (Mauritius)

  • Working Party on State Trading Enterprises: Mr. R. Mosisili (Lesotho)

  • ITA Committee: Mr. Frédéric Seppey (Canada)

The Council also welcomed its new Chairperson, Ambassador Alfredo Vicente Chiaradia of Argentina, and paid tribute to its outgoing Chairperson, Ambassador Milan Hovorka of the Czech Republic.

The Council continued its review of the operation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs). Brazil, India, Pakistan and Colombia reiterated their support for undertaking a study on the impact of the TRIMs Agreement. The United States, the European Communities and Canada maintained that the review had been exhausted and saw no need for further studies. The Council agreed to revert to this item at its next meeting.

Also on TRIMs, the Council Chairman, under “Other Business”, said that he had convened an initial round of informal consultations to consider Pakistan's request for the extension period under the TRIMs Agreement. These consultations would be continued by the new Chairman.

Ecuador expressed concern that the enlargement of the EC would affect previous agreements with the EC regarding banana imports. It asked the EC to clarify its new tariff rate quota regime for bananas following enlargement. The US and Canada said they shared Ecuador's concerns regarding insufficient information from the EC about what market access would be in the expanded EU for hundreds of tariff lines, and whether WTO commitments would be upheld. The EC said that an updated regulation has established a new annual quota which amounts to 300,000 tonnes from May to December 2004. It added that this quota adjustment does not prejudge the compensation negotiations it would conduct with trading partners on the banana trade they lost with the entry of ten new countries into the EC.

The Goods Council approved the following waiver requests and forwarded the relevant draft decisions to the General Council for adoption: Senegal, in the area of customs valuation; and Israel, Malaysia, Panama for the introduction of Harmonized System 1996 changes into their WTO tariff schedules:

The Council agreed to send to the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements for examination the following: The EC-Chile Interim Agreement; the Free Trade Agreement between Chile and El Salvador; the Central European Free Trade Agreement — Accession of the Republic of Croatia; the Free Trade Agreement between Croatia and Albania; the Free Trade Agreement between Albania and Bulgaria; and the Free Trade Agreement between Albania and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo.