COUNCIL FOR TRADE IN GOODS
The outgoing Council Chair, Ambassador Etienne Oudot de Dainville of France, informed members of his meetings and consultations where members made significant progress on how to move forward on improving the functioning of the CTG. Of the almost 30 suggestions for improvement, the Council agreed to act on 15 and left the remainder for further discussion.
The specific measures include the integration of CTG data into the Trade Concerns Database and the introduction of the eAgenda into the work of the CTG, starting from the next meeting in July. The eAgenda allows members to electronically add agenda items, raise and support specific trade concerns (STCs), and upload statements ahead of Council and Committee meetings.
Members welcomed the progress made and committed to continue engaging on further efforts, including how best to improve the discussion of trade concerns, planning of meetings, agenda-setting, use of digital tools, transparency and notification requirements.
Delegations thanked the WTO Secretariat for compiling in record time a document that presents a compilation of “next steps” that will assist members in consolidating and deepening progress. Ambassador Oudot de Dainville thanked members for engaging in a constructive exercise that will be very positive for the future work of the Council.
The Council heard 41 trade concerns on maintained or newly introduced measures by over 20 WTO members, which included four new issues. A wide range of measures was raised, including non-tariff barriers on agricultural products, quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, tariffs and tariff rate quotas (TRQs), technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, import/export bans and restrictions, subsidies, domestic certification and administrative procedures.
These concerns encompass a wide range of sectors (agriculture, information technology, environment, fisheries, forestry and food products) as well as specific products, such as tyres, air conditioners, energy drinks, pulses, semiconductor chips, apples and pears, cheese, onions and potatoes, steel and aluminum, cosmetics and office equipment.
The full agenda of the meeting is available here.
Members were unable to agree on a proposed list of names of chairs for the CTG subsidiary bodies. Ambassador Oudot de Dainville reported that he and the outgoing Chair of the Council for Trade in Services, Ambassador Kemvichet Long of Cambodia, had met the coordinators of the four regional groups and other members in March, which resulted in a provisional list of names for the subsidiary bodies of both councils.
“I regret to inform you that there is no consensus on this provisional list of names,” Mr Oudot de Dainville said. He called on delegations concerned to keep exploring possible solutions.
New chair and next meeting
The Council elected Ambassador Adamu Mohammed Abdulhamid of Nigeria as Chair for the upcoming year. The next formal meeting of the CTG is scheduled for 6-7 July 2023.