TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Aug10/03)
6 August 2010
Third World Network

WTO to hold symposium on stimulus measures in response to crisis
Published in SUNS #6978 dated 2 August 2010

Geneva, 30 Jul (Kanaga Raja) -- The Members of the World Trade Organization have agreed to hold a symposium, at a yet-to-be-determined date, to discuss the possible trade effects of various stimulus measures undertaken by Members in response to the financial and economic crisis.

According to trade officials, the symposium will take place at a special session of the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB).

This emerged at a meeting of the General Council Thursday, under the agenda item of the financial and economic crisis and the role of the WTO.

Argentina, Ecuador and India had co-sponsored a proposal (WT/GC/W/617) in which they said that they had highlighted the need for the WTO Secretariat to conduct a systematic and comprehensive analysis on the effects of stimulus programmes in response to the crisis. Such analysis would represent an improvement on transparency and a contribution to a better understanding on possible impacts of those programmes on trade flows.

In a statement under that agenda item, General Council Chair Ambassador John Gero of Canada, who has been holding consultations on this issue, said that the scope of the symposium will be broad, covering the possible trade effects of the measures taken by Members in response to the financial crisis.

In addition to other topics to be suggested and agreed by Members, the scope, he said, can include: detailing as far as possible of the various measures with potential trade implications, taken by Members in response to the financial crisis, their linkage with other macroeconomic indicators, analysis of their possible trade effects including impact on conditions of competition, capital flows and availability of trade finance to developing county markets, possible systemic implications in terms of the various WTO Agreements etc.

According to the Chair, the purpose of the symposium is to give opportunity to Members to be more informed about research conducted by other international organizations on this issue and also allow Members to exchange information and discuss their experiences.

The discussion should therefore include both, presentations by representatives from international organizations, as well as presentations and statements by Members.

The Chair further said that the symposium could be divided into two segments.

The first segment would involve presentations by experts from international organizations which have undertaken work in this area, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and WTO, followed by a question-and-answer session.

The second segment would be devoted to an exchange of information and experiences among Members including statements from the floor but also presentations by Members wishing to do so.

The Chair said that the discussion will be factual and aimed at an improvement of understanding rather than be a "finger pointing exercise".

This proposed event is intended as a continuation of the work done at the Trade Policy Review Body and should be conducted as a special session of that body.

It would cover measures affecting both trade in goods and services while avoiding overlap with the work done in the Committee on Trade in Financial Services.

He concluded that the proponents believe that holding of this symposium will help significantly in taking the discussion forward and also add value in terms of transparency and enhancing Member's understanding of the measures taken in response to the financial crisis and their trade effects. +