In opening the 25 June meeting of the negotiating group on rules, Ambassador Wayne McCook (Jamaica) stressed that he was “fully conscious” of the view held by some members that possible outcomes on rules cannot be identified until outcomes in other areas of the Doha Round are more clearly defined. Nevertheless, some delegations consider rules to be very important, are worried about the pending deadline for concluding the post-Bali work programme, and have submitted concrete proposals on how the issue could be addressed in the work programme.
These delegations seek — and are entitled — to an opportunity to present their ideas to the group, to take questions, and hear reactions, the chairman added.
In presenting its communication on behalf of the FANs sponsors (Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong China, Israel, Japan, Korea, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and Thailand), Japan said the paper (TN/RL/W/257) focused on “unbracketed” elements of the 2011 draft chairman’s text on anti-dumping which relate to transparency and due process. Japan said these elements reflected areas of convergence which could form the “core deliverables” of the anti-dumping part of the post-Bali work programme which members are seeking to finalize by the end of July.
Japan stressed it did not expect members to engage in line-by-line discussion of the proposals but was putting the paper forward in order to present the group’s views on the issue as clearly as possible.
Seventeen delegations spoke after the Japanese intervention. Brazil, India, Argentina, Turkey and the United States said they were not in a position to determine what elements on anti-dumping could be part of the work programme until it becomes clearer what the outcomes on the core Doha Round issues will be.
Several delegations (Canada, US, Argentina, Turkey) said the FANs proposal appeared too ambitious or had not been “recalibrated” to the outcomes now being foreseen in the core Doha Round issues. India said a number of elements in the paper risk imposing onerous requirements on developing and least-developed countries. Australia said the paper appeared to be based on the same proposals in the 2011 chairman’s draft text that failed to secure consensus support from the membership.
Others were more positive in their reactions. Russia said rules was an important part of the Doha agenda and that talks on transparency and due process were a good initial step forward. New Zealand said there was much in the FANs’ paper it could agree with, while Mexico said it saw a “great deal of merit” in the paper. China said transparency was an essential principle and a good starting point — but just a starting point — for discussions, even though it had concerns with some aspects of the FANs’ proposal.
The chair said he would convene the next meeting of the negotiating group on 1 July, where members will be able to comment on a new paper from Argentina, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, and Uruguay on fisheries subsidies (TN/RL/W/258).
Background on the WTO rules negotiations and previous news items on the talks are available here.