TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Jul11/04)
12 July 2011
Third World Network
NAMA Chair discusses work for coming months
Published in SUNS #7182 dated 4 July 2011
Geneva, 1 Jul (Kanaga Raja) -- The Chair of the WTO Negotiating Group
on Market Access for Non-agricultural products (NAMA) held an open-ended
informal meeting on 30 June to discuss with members the organization
of work for the coming months.
According to trade officials, the Chair, Ambassador Luzius Wasescha
of Switzerland, told members that he
wanted to identify areas where there is readiness on the part of the
members to make progress.
The Chair suggested that work should continue on non-tariff barriers
(NTBs) and non-NTBs.
Trade officials said that the Chair also floated the idea of engaging
in "early scheduling", i. e. for members to start elaborating
the lists of tariff commitments and concessions based on the current
elements of the draft modalities on the table.
According to trade officials, the European Union expressed eagerness
to start work on drafting schedules. It said that this is normally work
that could take up to two years to complete.
Since the modalities are not approved, the schedules would be provisional,
the EU said further, adding however that work would be already advanced
in this area in case of an agreement on modalities.
However, trade officials said that other members were opposed to the
idea or said that they were hesitant to begin such an exercise given
the current state of the negotiations.
On the other hand, Australia
said that it was open to the idea, while Japan said that it would like to consider
said that it would be ready if there is real readiness by all members.
According to trade officials, the US said that it wants to focus the
work on NTBs for the December package but voiced the need to be realistic
and focus on areas where work has advanced and there can be consensus.
For the US,
the main problem with "early scheduling" is that the modalities
on which the schedules will have to be drawn are "theoretical".
Trade officials said that the US
also expressed concern over engaging in such an exercise without agreement
on the modalities and moving separately from other market access issues.
According to trade officials, India
said the time was not right for scheduling, because the issue is linked
to market access.
Brazil was also not
keen on starting such an exercise, while the Philippines said that scheduling makes
After a suggestion by Kenya, and noting the widespread hesitance by
members on the issue of scheduling, trade officials said that the Chair
asked members to notify their interest for organizing workshops to train
government officials on the technical work related to scheduling, as
it was already done a couple of years ago.
The Chair also said that the NAMA Group has to provide "the product"
that the Trade Negotiations Committee will "package" for the
upcoming Ministerial meeting in December.
According to trade officials, Ambassador Wasescha however concluded
that he would move forward on "a product" for this package
but only in areas where there is already enough maturity.
The Chair informed members that he will convene a "Room D"
meeting (of a smaller number of delegations) on 11 July. +
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