Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr15/01)
6 April 2015
Third World Network
Talks to be held on services pillar of post-Bali work programme
Published in SUNS #7992 dated 30 March 2015
Geneva, 27 Mar (Kanaga Raja) -- An open discussion on defining the
services component of the WTO post-Bali work programme is expected
to be held in the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services
on 20 April.
This emerged at an informal meeting of the Special Session on Thursday
According to trade officials, the discussion that is to take place
on 20 April will cover all areas of the services negotiations.
Trade officials said that the delegations that spoke at the informal
meeting voiced support for holding this open discussion in order to
hear members' views on what they want to see in the services component
of the post-Bali work programme.
The end result of the discussion would be a report by the Chair of
the Special Session, Ambassador Gabriel Duque of Colombia.
Several developing countries such as Brazil, South Africa and Uruguay,
however, made clear they were not ready to define the scope of the
services talks, until there was clarity in agriculture and non-agricultural
market access (NAMA).
In his concluding remarks at the informal meeting, the Chair said
that members requested that the report be "legally non-binding,
factual, neutral, without attribution and without prejudging on next
steps, [and] avoiding conclusions."
According to trade officials, the United States said that it would
support the Chair's summary, as long as there are no conclusions.
Not having conclusions by the Chair would allow members to draw their
own, it added.
The Friends of Emergency Safeguard Measures (ESM) - which includes
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,
Thailand and Viet Nam - said that they expect a development-oriented
outcome covering both domestic regulation and ESM.
According to trade officials, Brazil, South Africa and Uruguay said
that while they support the exercise, they are not ready to define
the scope of the services negotiations until they have clarity on
where negotiations are going in agriculture and NAMA.
South Africa said that it would not be responding to any aspirations,
requests or discussions on market access in services.
According to trade officials, the European Union called for the discussion
to be open, in that it should not constrain anyone from raising issues.
Several members including India, China and Egypt indicated the potential
presence of capital-based officials at this meeting.
According to trade officials, India said that the Chair's report should
be neutral, factual and non-attributable.
The Chair urged members to "come prepared to signal what they
believe should be the outcome of the post-Bali Work Programme discussion".