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September 2000: chairperson’s report to General Council

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3 October 2000

Committee on Agriculture
Special Session

Third Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture

Report by the Chairman, Ambassador Jorge Voto-Bernales, to the General Council

1.  The Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture, which was established by the General Council to conduct the negotiations for continuing the reform process under Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture (WT/GC/M/53, paragraph 39 refers), held its third meeting on 28-29 September 2000.

2.  The agenda as set out in WTO/AIR/1382 was adopted.

3.  Under the programme for the first phase of the negotiations as it relates to negotiating proposals for continuing the reform process (paragraph 6(b) of G/AG/NG/1 refers), initial examination was completed in respect of the following proposals presented at the previous Special Session: the proposal by the United States on “Comprehensive Long-Term Agricultural Trade Reform” and the related note on “Domestic Support Reform” (NG/W/15 and 16); and the proposals by the European Communities on “The Blue Box and Other Support Measures to Agriculture”, on “Food Quality — Improvement of Market Access Opportunities” and on “Animal Welfare and Trade in Agriculture” (NG/W/17 to 19 respectively).

4.  The following additional proposals for continuing the reform process were presented and examined at the meeting: by the European Communities on “Export Competition” (NG/W/34); by the Cairns Group on “Domestic Support” (NG/W/35); and a proposal on “Market Access” by Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Kenya, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zimbabwe (NG/W/37).

5.  Under the programme for the first phase of the negotiations as it relates to work within the framework of paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Article 20, the following submissions were before the Special Session: a note on “Non-Trade Concerns” submitted by Barbados, Burundi, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominica, Estonia, the European Communities, Fiji, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saint Lucia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago (NG/W/36); and a discussion paper by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (Mercosur), Bolivia, Chile, and Costa Rica on “Export Subsidies — Food Security or Food Dependence?” (NG/W/38). Presentation and consideration of these submissions was deferred to the next Special Session.

6.  As requested by the participants concerned, the following statements made at the meeting are being circulated: Argentina (NG/W/39); Australia (NG/W/40 and NG/W/41); Canada (NG/W/42); Colombia (NG/W/43); Czech Republic (NG/W/44); the European Communities (NG/W/45); Japan (NG/W/46); Paraguay (NG/W/47); the Philippines (NG/W/48); and the United States (NG/W/49). (Statements made at the second Special Session but circulated after the appearance of the Chairman’s report on that meeting are: India (NG/W/33) and Mauritius (NG/W/28/Add.1).)

7.  The Secretariat was requested to prepare additional background papers, or to follow-up as appropriate, on the following subjects:

(a) a compilation of issues relating to the operation of the Green Box based on relevant AIE papers and pre-Seattle submissions by Members;

(b) a factual paper listing international agreements and declarations which Members consider relevant to the negotiations on agriculture; and

(c) trade shares and export subsidy reductions.

8.  The Committee took note of the following schedule of provisional dates for Special Session meetings to be held back-to-back with regular meetings of the Committee on Agriculture in 2001:

28–30 March 2001
27–29 June 2001
26–28 September 2001
14–16 November 2001

9.  Finally, it was agreed by the Committee, following an exchange of views on a suggestion that regular reports should be made to the Special Sessions on the work of the Trips Council on geographical indications (G/AG/NG/R/2, paragraph 27, refers), that this matter be referred to the General Council.

10. The next Special Session is to be held on 15–17 November 2000, following on from the twenty-fifth regular meeting of the Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday 14 November.