Summary of General Council meeting of 26 July 2018
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 24 July Informal TNC and HODs meeting. His report was subsequently circulated in JOB/GC/195. At that meeting, the Negotiating Group Chairs also reported and 45 delegations intervened. Under this item, Uganda, Haiti (CARICOM) and Malawi (ACP) spoke.
2. Implementation of the Bali, Nairobi and Buenos Aires Outcomes — Statement by the Chairman
The Chairman reported on the work taking place in WTO regular bodies to fulfil the Bali, Nairobi and Buenos Aires Ministerial mandates. His full statement can be found in JOB/GC/196. Chad (LDCs), Sierra Leone and Tanzania spoke.
3. Work Programme on Small Economies — Report by the Chairman of the Dedicated Session of the Committee on Trade and Development
The CTD Chair reported that the Dedicated Session had met in June to continue its mandated work. The discussion — which included presentations from the Secretariat, Panama and Sri Lanka — focused on the specific challenges derived from trade costs that SVEs faced and the most important sources of merchandise and services trade costs reported by them. Guatemala (SVEs) spoke.
4. Work Programme on Electronic Commerce
The Chairs of the CTS, CTG, TRIPS Council and CTD reported on developments under the work programme on e-commerce since the last periodic review in July 2017. China informed Members about the two-week e-commerce workshop held in China. India and South Africa subsequently presented their communication in WT/GC/W/747. 28 delegations took the floor in the discussion that ensued.
5. Measures to allow Graduated LDCs, with GNP below US$1000, benefits pursuant to Annex VII(b) of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures — Communication from the Central African Republic on behalf of the LDC Group
Chad (LDCs) presented their communication in WT/GC/W/742. A discussion followed with 11 delegations taking the floor.
6. Views on China's Trade-Disruptive Economic Model and Implications for the WTO — Submissions from the United States
The United States made a statement on "Views on China's Trade-Disruptive Economic Model and Implications for the WTO" and presented its submissions in WT/GC/W/745 and WT/GC/W/746. China intervened and also referred to its communication in WT/GC/W/749. 11 other delegations spoke. Thereafter, the United States and China again took the floor.
7. Twelfth Session of the Ministerial Conference — Date and Venue
The General Council agreed that the Twelfth Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference would take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, in early June 2020. The agreement was reached on the understanding that the 2019 deadline in the Buenos Aires Decision on Fisheries Subsidies is upheld and that the 2019 dates relating to the two moratoria on Electronic Commerce and on TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints are also maintained.
8. Waivers under Article IX of the WTO Agreement
The General Council adopted the waiver extension on the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme for Rough Diamonds. The Council also conducted the review of four waivers pursuant to Article IX:4 of the WTO Agreement. Haiti (CARICOM), Jamaica, the United States and Canada spoke.
9. Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration – Report on the Meeting of April 2018
At the beginning of the meeting, the General Council agreed to amend the proposed agenda in relation to the item "Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration – Report on Meetings of April and June 2018". Only paragraphs 1.1 to 1.12 of WT/BFA/172 and attachment WT/BFA/W/448 were taken up under this item. The consideration of the full documents referred to in this item (WT/BFA/172 and WT/BFA/173) was deferred to a subsequent meeting."
10. WTO Pension Plan
The General Council took note of the WTOPP reports in WT/L/1035 and WT/L/1037.
Under "Other Business", the United States made an intervention on "Statements of Groups of Members in Official WTO Meetings". Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba took the floor. Costa Rica informed delegations of the creation of a new informal group of Members to discuss trade and environment issues. The Chairman announced that he would begin consultations for the vacancies on the Chairmanships of the CTE and CTE SS and that consensus was reached in appointing Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger (Austria) to serve as the Chair of the Working Party on the Accession of Bhutan to the WTO and Ambassador Paik Ji-ah (Korea) to serve as the Chair of the Working Party on the Accession of Uzbekistan to the WTO. Bhutan (Observer) took the floor. The Chairman also made an announcement regarding Members and Observers in arrears.