The EU said that since May, there have been long delays in the granting of certificates that would enable the release of EU imports from Argentina's ports, and that there has also been a trade-chilling effect in the form of cancellation of long-standing orders to the EU.

The EU said it has serious questions about the consistency of these measures with WTO rules, adding that they also go against Argentina's commitments in the G20 against protectionism. Canada, Colombia, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Norway and the United States shared the EU's concerns.

Argentina said that it would let the facts speak for themselves: during the first five months of this year, its imports from the EU, including food products, have increased substantially. It pointed to increases in its imports of EU juices, pasta, rice, chocolate, canned products and other food products. Argentina said the internal note in question was intended for surveillance purposes only, and that isolated cases involving certain containers from the EU have all been dealt with. It said that members that have expressed concerns should also look at their own practices with respect to food imports.

The EU expressed concern about recent changes in Ecuador's tariff system on certain goods (including clothing, linen and footwear) from an ad valorem system to a mixed system (using both ad valorem and specific duties), and urged the country to notify them to the WTO. The United States, Japan and Canada, shared the EU's concern; China urged Ecuador to notify the changes. Ecuador said it continued to respect its tariff bindings, adding that detailed information on the tariff changes are available on the government's website. It expressed surprise that the EU would bring the matter up when it said the EU continues to maintain a complex system of tariffs in agriculture.

Japan said it continues to have concerns about the domestic-content requirements of a renewable energy project in Ontario, Canada, despite its receipt of written answers from Canada to its questions. Canada said it is working with the Ontario provincial government to meet the concerns of trade partners.

Regional trade agreements

The Chair, Ambassador Anthony Mothae Maruping (Lesotho), informed the Council of the notification of the two regional trade agreements to the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements: Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Serbia on goods, and Free Trade Agreement between Korea and India on goods and services.

The Council also approved a recommendation by the Working Party on State Trading Enterprises to extend until 30 June 2012 the practice of notifying state trading enterprises every two years.

Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the Goods Council is scheduled for 25 November 2010.

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