ESTA NOTICIA tiene como finalidad ayudar al público a comprender los nuevos acontecimientos de la OMC. Si bien se ha hecho todo lo posible para asegurar que el contenido de la información sea exacto, ésta se entiende sin perjuicio de las posiciones de los gobiernos Miembros.
“REUNIÓN INFORMAL” es una reunión que se celebra sin actas.
> Noticias: negociaciones sobre la agricultura
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ha ocurrido hasta ahora
2000: Inicio de las negociaciones sobre la agricultura (marzo). Véase la información general
2001: Puesta en marcha del Programa de Doha para el Desarrollo. Se incluye la agricultura (noviembre)
2004: Se acuerda el “Marco” (agosto)
2005: Otros acuerdos en la Conferencia Ministerial de Hong Kong (diciembre)
2006: Proyecto de modalidades (junio)
2007: Negociaciones intensivas con documentos de trabajo (septiembre a enero)
2008: Proyecto revisado de modalidades (febrero, mayo y julio)
2008: Proyecto revisado de modalidades (febrero, mayo, julio y diciembre)
Ambassador Vitalis, reporting on his consultations with members since the last meeting on 8 March, noted “a gradual but discernible shift” in how members see the way forward, at least initially. He said many are considering looking at ways to “cut water” in market access and domestic support, i.e. to narrow the difference between the bound and applied level of tariffs and subsidies rather than make “real cuts” which would require reform in the current practice of agriculture policy.
While members stressed agriculture should form part of any outcome at the 2017 WTO Ministerial Conference, they did not see progress in agriculture in isolation from other areas, Ambassador Vitalis reported. A “holistic” approach would be needed across the wider negotiations. Members also emphasized and reaffirmed the need to avoid as far as possible polarising debates that would risk causing paralysis in the talks, including in the wider negotiating process. The United States submitted a set of questions about today’s most pressing trade distortions and problems in agricultural trade.
The Chair reported that negotiations on market access remain a priority for many members and some had highlighted specific issues of initial interest, including tropical products, tariff escalation (whereby tariffs increase along processing chains), tariff peaks (i.e. relatively high tariffs amidst generally low tariff levels), converting tariffs into ad valorem rates (i.e. tariff rates in proportion to the estimated value of the goods), and special products (i.e. products for which developing countries are to be given extra flexibility in market access). Many members recognized that efforts to cut tariffs and open markets are also taking place in other negotiating fora, such as preferential trade agreements. Prior to the meeting, some countries in the Cairns group, a coalition of agricultural exporting countries keen on reforming agricultural trade, tabled a number of questions about the main market access related policies and problems, and their impact on trade.
The group also submitted a statistical paper on domestic support and a set of questions, including about the way to achieve “substantial progressive reductions in support and protection”, the main domestic support-related policies and problems in global agricultural markets, and the structure of the process going forward.
Although WTO members decided to abolish export subsidies and set out new disciplines on export measures with equivalent effect at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference in December 2015, some members believe that there remains “unfinished business” in this area. To this end, Canada circulated a paper making the case for stronger rules on export finance, which can be used to unfairly support exports.
Ambassador Vitalis stressed the need for timely notifications, including for domestic support. “We cannot negotiate in the dark,” he told members, pointing out that in an organization of 162 members, only 24 are up to date in their notifications on domestic support for example. This is both “embarrassing and troubling”, he said.
Click here to view the text of the Chair’s remarks at the 9 May meeting.
Ambassador Vitalis thanked members for their “constructive engagement” in a discussion on public stockholding for food security purposes on 10 May. It was the first discussion since ministers in Nairobi adopted a decision to “make all concerted efforts to agree and adopt a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes.”
Prior to the meeting, some Cairns group countries tabled a number of questions about how much production procured as part of public stockholding programmes had been exported. They also questioned what safeguards were in place to ensure that stocks procured do not distort trade or adversely affect the food security of other members.
Some members encouraged countries that currently have public stockholding programmes to share more information, while avoiding entering into political and ideological debates.
Special safeguard mechanism
Following the Nairobi decision on the special safeguard mechanism (SSM), WTO members had their first discussion on an SSM for developing countries on 11 May. The SSM would allow developing countries to temporarily increase tariffs on agriculture products in the cases of import surges or price declines.
Some Cairns group countries tabled questions asking members to share their experience on the use of safeguards in the WTO or in other trade agreements. They also invited members to reflect on what had changed in global agricultural markets since the SSM was first proposed.
Some members are concerned about the potential negative effect of the SSM on their exports, in particular on trade between developing countries.
For more background on the negotiations, please consult:
More on WTO negotiation groups
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