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STALEMATE ON EC-ACP WAIVER REQUEST

by Chakravarthi Raghavan

Geneva, 6 July 2000 -- Action by the World Trade Organization on the joint request of the European Union and the ACP countries for a WTO waiver for the EU-ACP Partnership Agreement is now at an impasse, trade officials said Wednesday.

An informal meeting of the Council for Trade in Goods (CTG) which discussed the waiver request on 5 July, trade officials said, found themselves at an impasse, and they have tacitly agreed to put the waiver request on a back-burner.

The Chairman of the Goods Council, Amb. Perez del Castillo of Uruguay, is to make an oral report, on his own responsibility, to the General Council at its meeting next week, under ‘any other business’.

The report by the CTG chair, under 'any other business', would say essentially that the consideration of the EC request was at an “impasse” and that he would continue with the consultations.

The Latin American banana producers have blocked the start of the Goods Council review of the waiver, arguing that the most important part of the waiver request, namely the new EC banana regime under the EC-ACP Partnership Agreement, was still missing in the details of the agreement supplied to the WTO, along with the waiver request.

Until these details are notified and are before the WTO, these producers said, the waiver request could not be taken up for consideration. Costa Rica said the request should be “deep freezed” until the EC banana regime details were also notified and made available.  The EC’s Amb. Rodrick Abbot suggested that delegations should resume discussion of the waiver request in mid-September.

Jamaica’s Amb. Ransford Smith, speaking for the ACP members, supported this request.-SUNS4703

The above article first appeared in the South-North Development Monitor (SUNS) of which Chakravarthi Raghavan is the Chief Editor.

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