These chairs will take office when they have been formally elected by the committee or working party concerned:
Market Access Committee: Miss Krizia Denisse MATTHEWS (Panama)
Agriculture Committee: Mr Michael WAMAI (Uganda)
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Committee: Mr Felipe HEES (Brazil)
Technical Barriers to Trade Committee: Miss Alana Maria LANZA SUAZO (Honduras)
Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) Committee: Mr Zaher AL-QATARNEH (Jordan)
Antidumping Practices Committee: Mr Hamed Mahmoud EL ETREBY (Egypt)
Customs Valuation Committee: Mr Ping LIU (China)
Rules of Origin Committee: Mr Christian WEGENER (Denmark)
Import Licensing Committee: Miss Carrie I-Jen WU (Chinese Taipei)
Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Committee: Mr Mitsuhiro FUKUYAMA (Japan)
Committee on Safeguards Committee: Mr Víctor ECHEVARRÍA UGARTE (Spain)
Working Group on State Trading Enterprises: Mr Andrew JORY (Australia)
Information Technology Agreement (ITA): Mr Andrew STAINES (UK)
Japan expressed concern about Ecuador’s restrictions on imports of automobiles and parts, which it said had reduced substantially that country’s imports of completely assembled units and knocked-down automobiles. It questioned Ecuador’s justification of protecting the environment. Japan also expressed concern about Ecuador’s surcharge on imports, and urged it to notify this measure to the WTO Committee on Balance-of-Payments (BOP) Restrictions. Colombia, the United States, the European Union, Guatemala, Panama, Peru and Mexico shared these concerns.
Ecuador said that an excessive number of automobiles has contributed to serious problems with greenhouse gases faced by its cities. It said that automobile restrictions apply to all imported and nationally produced products. On the import surcharge, it said that the proper forum to discuss this is the BOP Committee.
The following complaints, which had been raised in previous meetings, were again discussed:
- Iceland and Norway reiterated their concern about Nigeria’s alleged restrictions on imports of sea products. They said that lack of transparency and predictability regarding Nigeria’s policy has led to a substantial reduction in the country’s fish imports. The EU, Uruguay and the US shared these concerns. Nigeria reiterated that it does not impose a ban on imports of sea products.
- The EU and the US reiterated their concerns about Nigeria’s alleged local content measures in the oil and gas sector. The Nigerian representative said she would provide her country’s replies to the questions as soon as possible.
- The EU and Japan reiterated their concerns about Russia’s alleged trade-restricting measures. The EU complained about unduly strict examination by Russian customs of Lithuanian transport trucks and transport restrictions on EU agricultural goods transiting to Central Asia. Japan reiterated its concern about Russia’s local content requirements in the automotive sector. Some other delegations shared these concerns. Russia said that the measures raised by the EU are in full compliance with the WTO. On Japan’s concern, it said it had already clarified the matter in the TRIMs Committee. It urged the delegations concerned to use the bilateral track instead of repeating statements in the Council.
- The EU, Japan and the US reiterated their concerns about Indonesia’s alleged import and export restricting policies and practices. Some other delegations shared these concerns. Indonesia said that it maintains relatively low tariffs, and that it had instituted customs reforms such as the single window, which is now operational.
The Goods Council approved and forwarded to the General Council the US request to extend the waiver to its Caribbean Basin Economic and Recovery Act (CBERA) until 31 December 2019. CBERA provides duty-free entry to eligible products from Central America and Caribbean countries. Jamaica, Dominica (on behalf of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) and Trinidad and Tobago supported the US request, citing the positive effects of the US programme on their export growth and development. India said it could support the US request but noted that the programme attaches the condition that the beneficiary countries use US materials in the production of apparel for export to the US. It urged the US to make its trade preferences unconditional.
The Council agreed to revert to a request by Canada to extend its own preferential trade scheme for Caribbean countries (CARIBCAN) at the next meeting following an EU statement that it might have some questions about this programme.
Jordan reiterated its request for an extension to the phase-out period of its export subsidy programme until 31 December 2022. It said that the unprecedented geopolitical situation, which had particularly affected small and medium-sized industries, is behind this request. It noted that it is hosting 1.4 million Syrian refugees, and that its economy is still being affected by the financial crisis and the Euro-zone situation. It said it needs a grace period, and that it is ready to continue consulting with members on this matter. Supporting Jordan’s request were Qatar (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Arab Group), Kuwait, Egypt, Sri Lanka, India, Guatemala, Bahrain, Canada, Oman, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Uganda, Korea and Nepal.
The EU noted the overwhelming support for Jordan’s request and said it could join a consensus on this matter on the condition that this would be the very last request for extension and that it would not constitute a precedent. The US representative said she would continue to consult with Washington to find a positive solution to this matter. Australia said it was not in a position to support the request but that it was ready to continue consultations with Jordan. Japan and New Zealand urged Jordan to find alternative solutions that would be consistent with the WTO. The Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Guatemala, whose phase-out periods on their export subsidy programmes are also set to expire like Jordan’s this year, said they might also request an extension if Jordan’s request is approved.
The EU requested the extension until 1 January 2016 of the period of compensation negotiations with members in the context of its 2013 enlargement (the addition of Croatia). Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay expressed concern about the slow pace of negotiations and urged the EU to speed up the process. Australia said it looked forward to discussing with the EU its market access request. The Council approved the EU request.
Armenia announced that it is ready to consult with interested members until January 2016 compensation arising from its adoption of a common external tariff when it acceded to the Eurasian Economic Union. Canada, Ukraine, Switzerland, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, China, reserved their rights to put forward compensation claims to Armenia.
Regional trade agreements
The Goods Council noted the notification of the following regional trade agreements, which would be reviewed in the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements:
Free Trade Agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states and the Central American States (Costa Rica and Panama)
Eurasian Economic Union between the Russian Federation, Belarus and Kazakhastan
- Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of Korea and Australia
- Free Trade Agreement between the EFTA states and Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and Australia
- Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea
- Accession of Armenia to the Eurasian Economic Union
- Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Honduras.
Next meeting: 13 July 2015