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26–27 March 2001: chairperson’s report to General Council

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27 March 2001

Committee on Agriculture
Special Session

Seventh 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 seventh meeting on 26-27 March 2001.

2.  The agenda as set out in WTO/AIR/1504 was adopted.

3.  In the course of the stock-taking exercise undertaken at this meeting in accordance with paragraph 6(b) of G/AG/NG/1, a number of general statements were made in which participants outlined, inter alia, their respective views regarding the 47 negotiating proposals and other submissions which had been presented and examined in the course of the first phase of the negotiations, as well as with respect to the organisation of the further work of the negotiations. It was generally agreed that the first phase of the negotiations for continuing the reform process had been satisfactorily completed. The statements made in the context of the stock-taking exercise and the related discussion will be fully reflected as appropriate in the detailed summary report of the meeting to be prepared by the Secretariat.

4.  The Committee adopted the following work programme for the second phase of the negotiations for continuing the reform process under Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture:

  • Nature and scope of Work Programme: work in depth on all issues and options for policy reform set out in Members’ proposals, with further elaboration as appropriate.

  • Basis of work: Article 20, negotiating proposals submitted by Members and their additional elaborated proposals.

  • Special and differential treatment is an integral part of all elements of the negotiations.

  • Organisation of Work Programme: work to be conducted in informal and formal meetings of the Special Sessions; Chair to prepare reports on the informal meetings and prepare annotated agendas ahead of the meetings.

  • Sequencing of Work Programme and Timetable: three Special Session meetings to be held back-to-back with the regular meetings of the Committee on Agriculture in September and December 2001 and in March 2002 (each of these Special Sessions would convene informally and conclude with short formal meetings), plus three informal Special Session meetings in May and July 2001 and in February 2002. Any additional meetings would be scheduled by the Chair after consultations with Members.

  • Review of progress of the negotiations shall take place in the formal March 2002 meeting.

Without prejudice to Article 20, which details the objective of the negotiations and the factors to be taken into account, the Chair recommends the following list of trade and non-trade issues drawn from Members’ proposals for the first two/three meetings:

Tariff quota administration


Amber Box

Export subsidies

Export credits

State trading enterprises

Export restrictions

Food security

Food safety

Rural development

The foregoing work programme is adopted without prejudice to the decisions that may be taken at the fourth Ministerial Conference.

5.  In adopting this work programme it was noted, with regard to the list of trade and non-trade issues for the first two or three meetings, that this listing was not exhaustive and that other issues will be taken up in the subsequent meetings, so that all issues will be covered as appropriate under the work programme for the second phase of the negotiations.

6.  A number of the statements made at this meeting are to be circulated in the series G/AG/NG/W/- at the request of the delegations concerned. These statements will be listed in an addendum to this report in due course.

7.  Subject to confirmation the planned dates for the informal meeting in May would be 21-23 May; and for the informal meeting in July, 23-27 July.

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Note: “NG/W/-” refers to documents in the series: “G/AG/NG/W/-”.