TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues
Limited progress in RTA consultations
- Rules Chair
Geneva, 18 Mar (Kanaga Raja) -- The Chair of the WTO Negotiating Group on Rules has informed Members of limited progress in the two rounds of informal consultations that he has held on the issue of Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs).
The Chair, Ambassador Dennis Francis of
According to trade officials, the Chair urged delegations "to engage towards some zone of accommodation that could allow some acceptable way forward to arise".
Trade officials said that on the issue of the
review of the provisional Transparency Mechanism for RTAs (WT/L/671),
the Chair reported that
Ambassador Francis said that while India's proposal was supported by a few members, there was great interest shown in a compromise proposal by Chinese Taipei for dual notifications (notification under GATT Article XXIV and the Enabling Clause) to be considered in a joint session of the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) and the Committee on RTAs (CRTA), added trade officials.
The Chair announced that he would "shortly" be circulating a new revised draft text.
At the plenary meeting, trade officials said,
(According to trade officials,
According to trade officials, the
According to trade officials,
Trade officials said that
Chinese Taipei, said trade officials, cited precedents of WTO bodies holding joint sessions. It added that its proposal was a way forward for the Negotiating Group.
Interest was expressed by
On systemic issues (related to RTAs), according to trade officials, the Chair said that a post-Doha work programme on this could be achieved but whether this should be achieved remained a matter for discussion and consensus.
Ambassador Francis said that several delegations,
At the plenary session, trade officials said that
(The Bolivian proposal -- TN/RL/W/250 -- is aimed at clarifying the developmental aspects of RTAs. The proposal calls for insertion of language in an appropriate place in GATT Article XXIV such that where developing countries are parties to an agreement with developed countries for the formation of a customs union, a free trade area, or an interim arrangement leading to either a customs union or a free trade agreement, special and differential treatment, in particular less than full reciprocity, shall be provided to developing countries. See SUNS #7083 dated 8 February 2011.)
At the plenary meeting,
According to trade officials, the
Trade officials said that countries that also
supported the establishment of a work programme were the EU,
The Chair informed the membership that the next plenary meeting on RTAs would be held on 8 April, with small group sessions to take place on 4 and 13 April.
Meanwhile, the Rules Negotiating Group met earlier in the week on the issue of fisheries subsidies.
At an informal meeting on 14 March, the Chair presented a detailed report on the plurilateral consultations that he had conducted last week, said trade officials.
On 8 March, said trade officials, the plurilateral session focussed on two proposals that had been discussed at the informal plenary (on 7 March) -- one from Malaysia on excluding from prohibition subsidies for improving fishing vessels to meet food safety standards, and the other from the ACP Group on special and differential treatment for those developing countries that do not contribute to over-capacity and over-fishing. (For details on the two proposals, see SUNS #7104 dated 9 March 2011.)
For the rest of the week, according to trade officials, the Chair said that the plurilateral session heard and discussed reports by the "Friends of the Chair" and the various Contact Groups on fisheries subsidies issues, including reciprocal and shared access to EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones), high seas fishing, artisanal fishing, fisheries management, and fuel subsidies.
Ambassador Francis said that he was very pleased with the work of the Friends of the Chair and the Contact Groups so far. He added that all would need to deepen their work, said trade officials.
According to trade officials, Chinese Taipei said that the positive results from the Contact Groups have been encouraging. It urged the Contact Groups to get more inputs from delegations.
The next cluster of meetings on fisheries subsidies is scheduled for the week of 28 March, trade officials added. +