GENERAL COUNCIL:

Summary of General Council meeting of 28 February 2019

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This document has been prepared under the Secretariat’s own responsibility and is without prejudice to the positions of Members or to their rights or obligations under the WTO.

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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 27 February Informal TNC and HODs meetings. At that meeting, 51 delegations spoke. Under this item, Barbados 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/214. The Central African Republic (LDCs) 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 noted that following relevant discussions as mandated by Ministers at MC11, the SVEs were preparing an outcome document to be taken up at the next dedicated session in March. The agenda would include presentations on vulnerability of small economies to natural disasters and its impact on trade and the common fund for commodities. Guatemala (SVEs), Trinidad and Tobago and Sri Lanka spoke.

4. Informal Process on Appellate Body Matters – Statement by the Chairman

The General Council Chairman made a statement on this matter. Ambassador Walker (New Zealand), the Facilitator of the Informal Process, then reported on the developments in this regard. His report can be found in JOB/GC/215. Brazil; European Union; Benin (African Group); Canada; Barbados; Ghana; India; China; Uganda; Australia; Uruguay; Switzerland; Japan; Ecuador; Mexico; Singapore; Norway; Egypt; Pakistan; Turkey; Republic of Moldova; Thailand; Morocco; Argentina; Colombia and Guyana spoke. At the end of the discussion, the Chairman proposed that the Informal Process led by Ambassador Walker as Facilitator continue under the auspices of the General Council and that another stock-taking take place at the next GC meeting.

5. Fostering a Discussion on the Functioning of the Appellate Body – Communications from Honduras

Honduras presented its submissions on this matter circulated in documents WT/GC/W/758, WT/GC/W/759, WT/GC/W/760 and WT/GC/W/761. The Republic of Korea; Panama; the Philippines; El Salvador; Indonesia; Hong Kong, China and Guatemala spoke.

6. Procedures to Strengthen the Negotiating Function of the WTO – Communications from the United States

The United States presented its communications on this matter in documents WT/GC/W/757/Rev.1 and WT/GC/W/764. The Central African Republic (also LDCs); Brazil; Mexico; Oman (GCC); China; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Arab Group); Turkey; Benin (African Group); Tanzania; India; Uganda; Norway; Kazakhstan; New Zealand; Jamaica; Trinidad and Tobago; Canada; Switzerland; Egypt; Republic of Korea; Cuba; Colombia; Australia; El Salvador; Pakistan; Israel; Plurinational State of Bolivia; Indonesia; Sri Lanka; Barbados; Cameroon; Bangladesh; Chile (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay); Malawi (ACP); Peru; European Union; Mali; Uruguay and Zimbabwe spoke.  Several delegations referred to both items 6 and 7.

7. The Continued Relevance of Special and Differential Treatment in favour of Developing Members to Promote Development and Ensure Inclusiveness – Communication from China, India, South Africa and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

China; India; Kenya; Pakistan and South Africa presented their communication in WT/GC/W/765/Rev.1. Thailand (also ASEAN); Japan; Ghana; Myanmar; Singapore; Hong Kong, China; Philippines; Cambodia; Nigeria; Afghanistan; United States; China; India; Brazil and Argentina spoke. Several delegations referred to both items 6 and 7.

8. Review of the Exemption provided under Paragraph 3 of the GATT 1994

In line with the procedure agreed by the Council in 2002, statements made at GC meetings in 2019, questions posed to the United States and related replies would form the basis of this year's review, together with the annual report provided by the US (WT/L/1055). The General Council will take up the matter again at its December meeting. The European Union; Norway; Canada; Republic of Korea; Panama; Hong Kong, China; Japan and Australia spoke. The United States stood ready to answer Members' questions on the matter.

9. Appointment of Officers to WTO Bodies

In line with the Guidelines for Appointment of Officers (WT/L/510), the General Council took note of the consensus on the slate of names for chairpersons to WTO bodies, as per Annex I. The Chair also announced that the CTG and CTS Chairs would conduct consultations to select Chairs for the bodies established under their respective Councils.

10. Election of Chairperson

The General Council elected by acclamation Ambassador Sunanta Kangvalkulkij (Thailand) as Chairperson for 2019.

Under "Other Business", the Director-General announced that there would be a WTO Open Day on 16 June (Sunday) and invited everyone to participate in the day's activities. The Chairman also made an announcement regarding Members and Observers in arrears.

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