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November 2000: chairperson’s report to General Council

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23 November 2000

Committee on Agriculture
Special Session

Fourth 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 fourth meeting on 15-17 November 2000.

2.  The agenda as set out in WTO/AIR/1428 was adopted.

3.  The following submissions were presented and considered 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: (i) 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, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Saint Lucia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago (NG/W/36/Rev.1); and (ii) 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).

4.  The following new or additional proposals for continuing the reform process were presented and examined at the meeting: (i) a Cairns Group proposal on “Market Access” (NG/W/54); (ii) a proposal on “Domestic Support” by Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, the Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Slovak Republic and Slovenia (NG/W/56); (iii) a proposal on “Market Access” by Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, the Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia (NG/W/57); (iv) a proposal by ASEAN on “Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries in World Agricultural Trade” (NG/W/55); and (v) a proposal by the United States on “Tariff Rate Quota Reform” (NG/W/58).

5.  As requested by the participants concerned, the following statements made at the meeting are being circulated: Australia (NG/W/59 and NG/W/60); Bolivia (NG/W/61); Brazil (NG/W/62); Canada (NG/W/63); Colombia (NG/W/64); Czech Republic (NG/W/65); the European Communities (NG/W/66); Grenada (NG/W/67); Guatemala (NG/W/68); Hungary (NG/W/69); India (NG/W/70); Indonesia (NG/W/71); Jamaica (NG/W/72); Japan (NG/W/73); Korea (NG/W/74); Mauritius (NG/W/75); Namibia (NG/W/76); Norway (NG/W/77); Peru (NG/W/78); the Philippines (NG/W/79 and NG/W/80); Poland (NG/W/81); South Africa (NG/W/82); Sri Lanka (NG/W/83); and Swaziland (NG/W/84). (Statements made at the third Special Session but circulated after the appearance of the Chairman's report on that meeting are: Norway (NG/W/50); Hungary (NG/W/51); Mauritius (NG/W/52); and Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia (NG/W/53).

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

(a)  GSP treatment of agricultural products;

(b)  non-trade concerns identified by developing countries and relevant provisions of the Agreement on Agriculture;

(c)  revision of G/AG/NG/S/6 in line with the definition of agricultural products under the Agreement on Agriculture.

7.  It was agreed that, as envisaged under the programme and arrangements for the first phase of the negotiations (G/AG/NG/1, paragraph 6(d), refers), an additional Special Session meeting would be held in advance of the March 2001 stock-taking meeting. The meeting would take place from 5 to 7 February 2001.

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