15 June 2005

Chair reports ‘unsatisfactory’ information on import licensing

WTO members reviewed 33 import licensing notifications when the committee responsible for this agreement met on 15 June 2005, the first of its two meetings of the year. However, the number of notifications remains low, a situation the committee’s chairperson described as “unsatisfactory”.

The 33 notifications were submitted under various provisions of the Import Licensing Procedures Agreement.

During the review, several delegations asked for additional information or clarifications on the licensing procedures already notified, as well as details of new licensing procedures introduced by several members but not yet notified to the committee.

Among the questions raised were: US queries to Brazil (on lithium products), China (scrap and waste material), Indonesia (textiles), Turkey (rice), Venezuela (certain agricultural products).

The US also asked Malaysia, Turkey and Venezuela to update their notifications. Australia asked China about licensing procedures applied to imports of iron ore, while Chinese Taipei reminded China of the questions it had asked about China’s automatic licensing procedures and licensing procedures used for the administration of tariff rate quotas.

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Compliance on notifications

The chairperson said that despite efforts made by the chair and the Secretariat to improve the situation, compliance with the agreement’s notification obligations remains generally low. The US agreed, adding that import licensing acts is a non-tariff restriction on imports in many markets. It highlighted the importance of providing notifications and responding to legitimate requests for information about access to each others’ markets.

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Next meeting

28 September 2005

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Ms Pamela Cooper of Canada
(vice chairperson: Mr Peter Govindasamy of Singapore.)

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Import licensing
Explanation in “Understanding the WTO”
Previous meeting, 30 September 2004
WTO Documents Online (Opens in a new window): Official documents can be downloaded here. Go to “search” and insert the document number, eg “G/LIC/Q/CHN/11”, in the “document symbol” field.