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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Feb11/15)
28 February 2011
Third World Network

WTO General Council approves new slate of chairpersons
Published in SUNS #7094 dated 23 February 2011

Geneva, 22 Feb (Kanaga Raja) -- The General Council of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 22 February noted the consensus on a slate of chairpersons for various WTO bodies, with Ambassador Yonov Frederick Agah of Nigeria to chair the General Council this year.

Ambassador Agah replaces Ambassador John Gero of Canada. Ambassador Agah was chair of the Dispute Settlement Body last year, and in accordance with past WTO practice, automatically takes over the chairmanship of the General Council this year.

The Dispute Settlement Body is now chaired by Ambassador Elin Ostebo Johansen of Norway, while the Trade Policy Review Body is chaired by Ambassador Mario Matus of Chile, who incidentally was the General Council Chair in 2009.

The Council for Trade in Goods is chaired by Ambassador Juri Seilenthal of Estonia. The Council for Trade in Services is chaired by Ambassador Erwidodo of Indonesia.

The Council for TRIPS is chaired by Ambassador Federico A Gonzalez of Paraguay.

The Committee on Trade and Development is chaired by Ambassador Anthony Maruping of Lesotho.

The Chairs of the other WTO bodies reporting to the General Council are as follows: Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions - Ambassador Hisham Badr of Egypt; Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration - Ambassador Pasi-Heikki Vaaranmaa of Finland; Committee on Trade and Environment - Ambassador Hiswani Harun of Malaysia; Committee on Regional Trade Agreements - Ambassador Francois Riegert of France; Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance - Mr Martin Glass of Hong Kong-China; Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology - Ambassador Marion Vernese Williams of Barbados.

The chairs of the various negotiating bodies established under the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), which overseas the Doha Round of trade negotiations, remain unchanged.

The TNC is chaired by WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy.

The Chair of the Negotiating Group on Market Access (NAMA) continues to be Ambassador Luzius Wasescha of Switzerland.

Ambassador Eduardo Ernesto Sperisen-Yurt of Guatemala continues to chair the Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation.

The Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services continues to be chaired by Ambassador Fernando de Mateo of Mexico, while the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture continues to be chaired by Ambassador David Walker of New Zealand.

Ambassador Walker also chairs the Sub-Committee on Cotton.

Also unchanged are the chairs of the Special Session of the Dispute Settlement Body (Ambassador Ronald Soto of Costa Rica), the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment (Ambassador Manuel Teehankee of the Philippines) and the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Development
(Ambassador Thawatchai Sophastienpong of Thailand).

The Negotiating Group on Rules is chaired by Ambassador Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago.

The General Council also heard a report by Lamy, in his capacity as chair of the TNC.

Lamy said that the current process, at each and every level, remains too slow.

Recalling that members have agreed on a modus operandi for the current process, namely, to produce elements of progress that Chairs of the negotiating groups can capture in (revised) texts, and to do so urgently, Lamy issued a "serious warning" that a major acceleration at all levels - multilaterally, plurilaterally and bilaterally - is needed in order to make this possible.

Furthermore, he said, the output of all these processes needs to urgently move up a level, to real progress on key issues of substance. The window of opportunity is still there, but it is narrowing every day, he further warned.

(An article on the report by the TNC chair and subsequent interventions by delegations will appear in the next issue of the SUNS.) +

 


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