WTO NEWS: 2004 NEWS ITEMS
4 November 2004
SUBSIDIES AND COUNTERVAILING MEASURES
Transition period extended for export subsidies of developing countries
The WTO Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, on 4 November 2004, extended by another year (until end 2005) the transition period for the elimination of export subsidy programmes of 19 developing countries under the implementation decision adopted at the Doha Ministerial Conference.
These countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Jordan, Mauritius, Panama, Papua New Guinea, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uruguay.
The Subsidies Agreement provides for an eight-year transition period (until end 2002) for most developing countries to eliminate export subsidies. Under the “fast-track” procedures agreed at Doha, the Subsidies Committee may grant annual extension to these countries until end 2007, subject to annual review of transparency and standstill obligations.
The Committee also reviewed status reports of Barbados, Colombia, El Salvador, Panama and Thailand regarding their subsidy programmes whose transition periods were extended last year under the regular procedures.
The Committee discussed new legislative notifications from the following members: Argentina, Canada, the European Communities, Japan and Jordan. It reviewed subsidy notifications from Armenia, Mongolia and Singapore.
Under the transition review mechanism provided for in China's Protocol of Accession, the EC, Japan and the United States urged the country to notify its subsidies as required by the Subsidies Agreement. China said it was doing its best to comply, and called for understanding. It cited difficulties due to the size of the country and the need to educate officials. China said it would transmit concerns raised at the meeting to the relevant offices in Beijing. The United States and the EC expressed disappointment with the review but said they would work bilaterally with China to make progress in this area.
At the start of the meeting, the Committee elected Mr. Mehmet Tan of Turkey as its new Vice Chairman. The next regular meeting of the Committee is scheduled for 14-15 April 2005.