TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Mar11/04)
9 March 2011
Third World Network

Divergent views on sunset reviews at Rules talks
Published in  SUNS #7099 dated 2 March 2011

Geneva, 1 Mar (Kanaga Raja) -- The Chair of the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules, at an informal meeting on 28 February, reported to the membership on his recent small-group consultations last week on the Chair's texts relating to the Anti-dumping and Subsidies Agreements.

The Chair, Ambassador Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago, amongst others also informed the members that contact groups have been established on the two anti-dumping issues of sunset reviews and on the controversial practice of "zeroing".

According to trade officials, on the issue of anti-dumping, the Chair reported that there was a sharp divergence of views on sunset reviews, namely, on whether there should be a definite duration for anti-dumping measures.

Trade officials said that the issue of anti-dumping action on behalf of a third country was also discussed.

They said that it was recognized that the current provision in the agreement (to seek first approval of the Goods Council) is not operational -- since approval is not possible if the exporting country objects in the Goods Council. But there were differences on how to operationalise this provision, said trade officials.

Apart from these two bracketed text issues, trade officials said that the small group also discussed un-bracketed text issues such as limited examination (Article 5.10); assistance of interested parties in filling up questionnaires, and application of provisional anti-dumping measures (Article 7); price undertakings (Article 8); duty assessment (refund of over-collection); and new shipper reviews and changed circumstances (Article 11).

On the issue of subsidies, the Chair reported that the following issues were discussed in small group consultations: benefit pass-through (Article 14.2) and guidelines on attribution of subsidy benefits to a particular time period.

There was also some discussion concerning the phase-out of exemption of developing countries with less than $1,000 per capita GDP (Article 27.2), he added.

The Chair further said that contact groups have been established with respect to the anti-dumping issues of sunset reviews and "zeroing".

He underscored that the "Friends of the Chair" and the various contact groups are essential to the work of the Negotiating Group.

Ambassador Francis said that their aim should be to produce possible compromise texts or technical options on various issues.

He further said that the "Friends of the Chair" and the contact groups will hold consultations with delegations in the week of 14 March, and would report to the Negotiating Group in the week of 21 March. +