the key beneficiaries to this initiative would be small and medium-sized
companies that must source goods for production from global supply chains.
Beyond lower cost through the elimination of tariffs, these companies would
also see a reduction in the costs of customs paperwork through eliminating
the need to comply with certain preferential rules of origin requirements.
In its communication (G/MA/W/101) to the Committee, Canada said that on 28 January 2009, 214 tariff lines, with a simple average tariff rate of 5.2% and accounting for over C$2 billion in annual dutiable imports, were reduced to zero. The government announced a second set of tariff liberalization measures that eliminates the most-favoured-nation applied rates of customs duty on an additional 1,541 tariff items. The majority of these items became duty-free effective as of 5 March 2010, with the remainder scheduled to be gradually eliminated by no later than 1 January 2015.
The Committee forwarded to the Council for Trade in Goods for approval a draft decision on Argentina's waiver request related to the introduction of Harmonized System 1996 changes into its schedules of concessions.
The Committee also agreed to continue with the suspension of the transposition work of members' schedules of concessions to the Harmonized System 2007.
On the WTO Integrated Data Base (on tariffs), the Secretariat said that its efforts in implementing the decision on “Framework to enhance IDB notifications compliance” had resulted in a significant increase of notifications. For example, 166 tariff submissions and 219 import submissions were received in 2009 compared to 114 and 126 received in 2008.
The Secretariat reported that some 3,000 users have registered to Tariff Analysis Online since it became operational in February. The largest number of users are students, followed by the private sector, although there were also many government users. The new WTO online facility draws on two WTO databases: the IDB and the Consolidated Tariff Schedules, which contains WTO members’ commitments on tariffs and agricultural subsidies.
A representative of the World Customs Organization (WCO) made a presentation on changes in the Harmonized Sytem of Customs Nomenclature that will enter into force on 1 January 2012. He said most of the changes were recommendations by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to facilitate the use of the HS for monitoring the food security situation, as well as other changes related to environmental and social issues relating to the Rotterdam convention and the Montreal Protocol. Among the new tariff subheadings were on biodiesels, fish heads, grade seeds, plantains, and non-centrifugal sugar. HS 2012 had also been streamlined with the deletion of subheadings on goods with declining trade such as typewriters.
The Committee elected Mr. Daniel Owoko (Kenya) as its new chair.