Summary of General Council meeting of 30 November 2017
At the start of the meeting, H.E. Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali, addressed the General Council.
1. Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee and Report by the Director-General
The Chairman referred to the Director-General's report at the 28 November Formal TNC and Informal HODs meetings. At that meeting, the Chairs of negotiating bodies provided reports on work in their respective areas as well and 47 delegations intervened. Under this item, the Chairman said that he would present those reports and the reports of the regular bodies to Ministers at the Opening Session of MC11. Seven delegations spoke.
2. Implementation of the Bali and Nairobi Outcomes – Statement by the Chairman
The Chairman reported on the work taking place in WTO regular bodies to fulfil the Bali and Nairobi Ministerial mandates. His full statement can be found in JOB/GC/164.
3. Work Programme on Small Economies – Report by the Chairman of the Dedicated Session of the Committee on Trade and Development
DDG Agah, on behalf of the CTD Chair, reported that the CTD in Dedicated Session had agreed to forward the draft decision contained in document WT/COMTD/SE/W/36/Rev.1 to the General Council for transmission to the Ministerial Conference. The draft decision was also reflected in the Committee's report to the General Council in WT/COMTD/SE/10. The General Council agreed to forward the draft decision in WT/COMTD/SE/W/36/Rev.1 to MC11 and took note of the report in WT/COMTD/SE/10. Guatemala (SVEs) and Tonga (also on behalf of the Pacific Group) spoke.
4. Development Assistance Aspects of Cotton – Periodic Report by the Director-General
The Director-General introduced the Eighth Periodic Report in WT/GC/187 – WT/CFMC/DG/8 – WT/MIN(17)/5. He reported that progress had continued on that important aspect of WTO work. He thanked Members of the development community, those who significantly contributed to the South-South Cooperation for Cotton Development Assistance and several multilateral institutions. Brazil, European Union, Pakistan and India spoke.
5. WTO Accessions: 2017 Annual Report by the Director-General – Statement by Director-General
DDG Wolff, on behalf of the Director-General, introduced the 2017 Annual Report on WTO Accessions in WT/ACC/31 – WT/GC/189 – WT/MIN(17)/6. DDG Wolff noted the increase on the number of Working Party meetings this year and provided a general update on the progress of the various accessions processes. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, Yemen, Egypt, Oman, Cambodia (LDCs) and Republic of Moldova spoke.
6. Eleventh Session of the Ministerial Conference
The Chairman made a statement on organizational matters including the MC11 programme and the MC11 items on the date and venue of MC12 and the election of officers; and on the MC11 item on Overview of WTO Activities. He also reported on his consultations on e-commerce and on the process that had taken place in relation to a possible MC11 outcome document. The General Council also agreed to grant the Republic of South Sudan Observer Status at MC11 on an ad hoc basis. The representatives of Afghanistan, Grenada (OECS), European Union, Japan, Barbados (CARICOM), Guyana (ACP) and Dominican Republic spoke.
7. Review of the Exemption provided under Paragraph 3 of GATT 1994
The General Council considered the exemption under paragraph 3 of GATT 1994 for review. The next review will be held in 2019. United States; Norway; Japan; Canada; Hong Kong, China; China; Panama; Republic of Korea; Australia; European Union and Brazil spoke.
8. TRIPS Council Matters
The General Council took note of the reports of the TRIPS Council in IP/C/79 and adopted the draft decision in document IP/C/78 extending the time-period for acceptance by Members of the Protocol amending the TRIPS Agreement to 31 December 2019.
9. Derestriction of Additional Negotiating Materials – Draft Decision
The General Council adopted the draft Decision in G/MA/W/131.
10. Waivers under Article IX of the WTO Agreement
The General Council adopted 4 waivers involving the Introduction of Harmonized System 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017 changes into WTO Schedules of Tariff Concessions. The Council also conducted the review of seven waivers pursuant to Article IX:4 of the WTO Agreement. Honduras, Dominican Republic, Vanuatu, United States and Montenegro spoke.
11. Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration – Report on meetings of September, October and November 2017
The General Council approved the Budget Committee's specific recommendations in paragraph 1.12 of WT/BFA/168 and paragraphs 1.2, 2.11, and 3.1 and tables 1 to 5 of WT/BFA/169 and adopted the reports in WT/BFA/166 to 169.
12. International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO – Report of the Joint Advisory Group on its 51st Session (ITC/AG(LI)/268)
Following a statement by DDG Agah, on behalf of the Chairman of the CTD, on that body's consideration of the report at its meeting on 15 November, the General Council adopted the JAG's report. Canada, Pakistan and Montenegro spoke.
13. Review of WTO Activities
The General Council conducted its annual review of WTO activities, in line with the Decision concerning procedures for an annual overview of WTO activities and for reporting under the WTO (WT/L/105).
14. Appointment of Officers to WTO Bodies – Announcement by the Chairman pursuant to Paragraph 7.1(a) of the Guidelines
In line with the Guidelines for the Appointment of Officers to WTO bodies (WT/L/510), the Chair announced that he would be starting the selection process assisted by the serving Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body and former Chair of the General Council.
Under "Other Business", Nigeria made a statement on the Trade and Investment Facilitation Partnership Forum for Development in Abuja. Pakistan spoke. The Kyrgyz Republic made a statement on the trade restrictive measures on the borders imposed by Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan spoke. Iceland (also on behalf of Sierra Leone) made a statement on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment. Canada spoke. Turkey made a statement on two matters: MIKTA and Syria. The Chairman made a statement on the appointment of Ambassador Atanas Atanassov Paparizov (Bulgaria) as the new Chairman of the Working Party on the Accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on Members and Observers in arrears.