The order of the items on the Agenda was inverted, and the General Council took up items 5-13, and Other Business, on 24 July. Items 1 to 4 were taken up at the meeting reconvened on 25 July.
1. Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee
The Director-General reported that Members remained committed to advancing the Doha negotiations on all fronts. He stressed the need to focus on the three key areas of Agriculture, NAMA and Services while remaining mindful of how to move other negotiating issues forward. He noted that Members needed to go further into the substance of those issues and urged them to engage directly with each other to discuss what they could put on the table that would make trade-offs possible. The full statement can be found in JOB/GC/69. Forty-seven delegations intervened in the discussion that followed.
2. Preparatory Committee on Trade Facilitation — Report by the Chairman
The Chairman of the Preparatory Committee reported that Members were able to complete the legal review of the Trade Facilitation text agreed upon in Bali, circulated as WT/L/931. He noted that the receipt of 22 Category A notifications were duly received by the Preparatory Committee and were circulated as WT/PCTF/N documents. He also informed the Council that Members had not yet been able to agree on a Protocol. Five delegations intervened.
3. WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility — Statement by the Director-General
The Director-General noted that he had launched the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility on 22 July. The Facility aimed to address concerns on how LDCs and developing Members could access the necessary support under Section 2 of the TFA. It was also meant to complement and enhance existing assistance programs. He had been working closely on this with partner organizations — particularly the World Bank. Five delegations intervened.
4. Implementation of the Bali Outcomes — Statement by the Chairman
The Chairman circulated the text of his report on the implementation of the Bali Outcomes and his regular dialogue with the Chairpersons on their work in the respective WTO regular bodies. The full report can be found in JOB/GC/70. Uganda intervened.
5. Work Programme on Small Economies — Report by the Chairman of the Dedicated Session of the Committee on Trade and Development
The CTD Chairman reported that the proponents of Small Economies had been discussing their priorities for 2014 and their follow-up activities to the Bali Ministerial Decision on the Small Economies Work Programme. Two delegations intervened.
6. Work Programme on Electronic Commerce — Review of Progress
The Chairman provided an overview of the work on e-commerce taking place in the relevant bodies including the reports of the CTS and CTG Chairs in documents S/C/41 and G/C/53. He announced that Ambassador Suescum (Panama) would be carrying this work forward and would be chairing the Dedicated Discussion on his behalf. Three delegations intervened.
7. Trade and the post-2015 Development Agenda — Statement by the Director-General
The Director-General noted that he had been actively engaged to ensure that trade was given a prominent role in the post-2015 Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, for which work was entering its final phase. Five delegations intervened.
8. Tenth Session of the Ministerial Conference — Date and Venue
The Chairman reported that there was broad agreement among delegations that MC10 would take place during the first two weeks of December 2015. He drew Members’ attention to Turkey’s offer to host MC10 circulated in document WT/GC/160 and also noted that Kenya had expressed an interest in principle to host the Conference. Turkey and Kenya intervened.
9. Improving the Guidelines for Granting Intergovernmental Organizations Permanent Observer Status in the WTO — Communication from the Arab Group
Jordan, on behalf of the Arab Group, reintroduced its proposal on improving the Guidelines for Granting IGOs Permanent Observer Status in the WTO in document WT/GC/159. Bolivia intervened.
10. Waivers under Article IX of the WTO Agreement
The General Council adopted the draft Decision on Special Treatment for Rice of the Philippines contained in document G/C/W/665/Rev.4. Philippines intervened. The review of the six waivers before the Council was reverted to its meeting in December.
11. Derestriction of Historical Bilateral Negotiating Documentation of the Kennedy Round — Draft Decision
The Council adopted the draft Decision in G/MA/W/113, which had been forwarded to it by the Committee on Market Access through the Council for Trade in Goods.
12. Committee on Budget, Finance, and Administration — Report on Meeting of July 2014
The General Council adopted the Report of the Budget Committee in WT/BFA/143 and approved the specific recommendations in paragraph 1.2 of the report.
13. WTO Pension Plan
The General Council considered the report of the Management Board of the WTO Pension Plan (WT/L/924) and the Letter of Final Comments on the Financial Statements (WT/L/925/Rev.1). The Council agreed on extending the Agreement on the Transfer of Pension Rights of participants in the WTO Pension Plan and the Coordinated Agencies plans to EUMETSAT, ISS, and Satcen. The Council also elected Mr Robert Prochazka (Austria) as a new Member of the Management Board of the WTO Pension Plan until the remainder of the departing Member’s term, as per Chairman’s proposal (WT/GC/W/683).
Under “Other Business”, the Chairman announced that Mr Mehmet Haluk Ilicak (Turkey) and Ambassador Thomas Hajnoczi (Austria) would serve as the new Chairmen of the Working Parties on the Accession of Belarus and Bhutan respectively. He notified Members that he would be holding consultations to appoint a new Chair for the Council for Trade in Goods. He also made an announcement regarding Members and Observers in arrears.
Barbados provided an update on the UN Designated International Year of the SIDS. New Zealand intervened. El Salvador made an announcement on its Withdrawal of Invocation of Article XIII with respect to China contained in document WT/L/926. Russia made a statement on Certain Trade Restrictive Measures of the United States and Some Other Members against Russian Companies. The United States, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, European Union, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, and Canada intervened.