- Agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru: Colombia said it viewed this agreement as an economic necessity that would enable it to maintain trade preferences for its products in the EU. Peru said that this agreement is part of its long-term strategy of expanding its exports to more markets. It said the agreement would enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of Peruvian producers. The United States expressed concern that the agreement provided disproportionate protection to agriculture as compared to industrial goods. It also called on the parties to notify regional trade agreements that they have not yet notified.
- Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership: Chinese Taipei said that this was its first free trade agreement with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It said that bilateral trade has been increasing since the implementation of the agreement. Singapore said the agreement covered most of their bilateral trade. The US asked why Chinese Taipei had not notified its agreement with China, and Singapore with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members. Chinese Taipei said its agreement with China is only a framework one, and that it would notify all agreements once they have been concluded. Singapore said it would notify its agreement with the GCC members very soon.
- Agreement between the United States and the Kingdom of Bahrain: Bahrain said that its trade with the US had trebled to $2 billion since the agreement went into effect in 2005. The US said that its imports from Bahrain had increased by 100% and its exports by 200% since 2005. It said the agreement has substantial coverage of services, including banking, insurance, telecoms, express delivery, health care, construction, architecture and engineering. The EU noted that the agreement was implemented in 2005, and urged all members to help the Secretariat complete factual reports by submitting information in a timely fashion. Australia asked if Bahrain could provide information on which tariff peaks were reduced as a result of the agreement. Bahrain said it would provide the response in writing as soon as possible.
The Chair, Ambassador Francisco Pirez (Uruguay), noted that some 61 non-notified regional trade agreements had been identified in the WTO Secretariat’s factual presentations on RTAs and some WTO members urged the members concerned to notify their agreements as soon as possible. The Chair also said that he had continued to consult with delegations involved in RTAs whose factual reports by the Secretariat had been delayed due to lack of comments or incomplete and missing information from the parties concerned.
The Chair also noted that the General Council had agreed that he continue as chair of the Committee.