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TWN Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Nov14/14)
28 November 2014
Third World Network
 

GC adopts decisions on TF, Food Security and post-Bali work program
Published in SUNS #7926 dated 28 November 2014
 
Geneva, 27 Nov (Kanaga Raja) -- The WTO General Council meeting in a special session adopted Thursday three draft decisions covering public stockholding programmes in developing countries for food security purposes, the protocol of amendment to insert the Trade Facilitation (TF) Agreement into Annex 1A of the Marrakesh Treaty and a post-Bali work programme on a priority basis for legally binding outcomes on other Bali ministerial decisions.
 
As a result of the decisions, the Bali decision on food security will remain in place until a permanent solution is agreed and adopted. Until such a permanent solution (whose detailed outcome or legal instrument is not prejudged) is adopted, and provided the conditions set out in Bali are met, Members shall not challenge through the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism, compliance of a developing Member with its obligations under Articles 6.3 and 7.2 (b) of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) in relation to support provided for traditional staple food crops in pursuance of public stockholding programmes for food security purposes. The decision does not cover challenges under the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement.
 
The decision on TF protocol sets a new deadline of July 2015 for Members to convey their acceptance, and when two-thirds of 167 members accept, it will enter into force among them. The TFA protocol, to be governed by the Amendment procedures and provisions of Article X, para 1 of the Marrakesh Treaty, also specifies that para. 3 of that article will apply. This enables at a future point to ask those not accepting to withdraw from WTO.
 
The decision on post-Bali work programme on a priority basis is for transforming nine Bali best endeavour decisions into legally binding instruments. These are four decisions in agriculture and five in the development dossier.
 
The agriculture decisions cover tariff-rate quota administration, export competition and phasing out of cotton subsidies.
 
Issues in the development dossier comprise preferential access for services suppliers in least-developed countries, duty-free and quota-free market access for least developed countries. The work on other parts of the Doha Development Agenda is included in a preamble, which has less weight than actual decision wording.
 
A detailed report will appear in the next issue of SUNS. +

 


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