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WTO NEWS: 2001 NEWS ITEMS

19 March 2001
Goods Council agrees on chairpersons for subsidiary bodies

The Council for Trade in Goods, on 14 March 2001, agreed on a slate of chairpersons of its subsidiary bodies for 2001.

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The new chairpersons are:
  • Committee on Agriculture: Amb. Apiradi Tantraporn (Thailand); Vice: Mr. Yoichi Suzuki (Japan)
  • Committee on Anti-Dumping: Mrs. Sahar Hosni Abdelaziz (Egypt)
  • Committee on Customs Valuation: Mr. K. Weerasinghe (Sri Lanka)
  • Committee on Import Licensing: Ms. Simone Rudder (Barbados)
  • Committee on Market Access: Mr. Yair Shiran (Israel)
  • Committee on Rules of Origin: Mr. Ho Young Ahn (Korea)
  • Committee on Safeguards: Mr. Martin Pospisil (Czech Rep.)
  • Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures: Mr. Wiliam Ehlers (Uruguay)
  • Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures: Mr. Remo Moretta (Australia)
  • Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade: Mr. Joshua Phoho (Lesotho)
  • Committee on Trade-Related Investment Measures: Mr. Paul Bennett (Ireland)
  • Working Party on State Trading Enterprises: Ms. Maija Manika (Latvia)

The Goods Council continued discussions on the following subjects, and agreed that the new chairman would hold consultations on them:

  • On the requests by nine developing countries for extension of the transition periods for their trade-related investment measures (TRIMs), the Chairman said that a solution based on his proposal last November seemed close at hand. He said the resolution of this issue would be important for the ongoing confidence-building process and for the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Qatar. Egypt became the tenth developing country to request a TRIMs extension. The Council also continued discussions on Pakistan's proposal for the WTO and UNCTAD to carry out a joint study that would assist developing countries in the review of the TRIMs Agreement.
  • On the request for a waiver on the new ACP-EC Partnership agreement, the European Communities circulated its Council Regulation on a new banana import regime. It argued that with this notification, members should now start the examination of the waiver request. However, Central and Latin American banana producers said that in the absence of the EC implementing legislation, the examination could not go forward as information on the waiver request was still insufficient. Several ACP countries underlined the economic importance to them of this Agreement and urged that the waiver examination proceed as soon as possible.

India, Pakistan and Hong Kong, China said that the Goods Council, as part of its oversight function on the functioning of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC), should call for transparency on new bilaterally agreed restraints on textiles. They urged that bilateral restraints that were found to be inconsistent with the ATC be rescinded. The United States and Turkey defended their agreement on Turkey's export of cotton and man-made fibre underwear to the US as conforming with the ATC, and suggested that this issue be discussed instead later this year when the Council conducts a major review on the implementation of the ATC. The Council agreed to revert to this subject at its next meeting.

The Council agreed that market access measures notified to it by developing countries under the 1999 waiver on preferential tariff treatment for least-developed countries (LDCs) would be referred for advice to the CTD Sub-Committee on LDCs. This would bring the notification procedure into line with actions taken by developed countries under their GSP schemes in favour of LDCs which are sent to the CTD under the provisions of the Enabling Clause. This will allow for a unified consideration in one forum of measures taken in favour of LDCs.

The Council adopted the terms of reference under which the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements should examine 12 Free Trade Agreements as well as the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement between the EC and South Africa.

At the end of the meeting, members elected by acclamation Amb. Istvan Major of Hungary as the new chairman, succeeding Amb. Carlos Perez del Castillo of Uruguay. Delegations commended Amb. Perez del Castillo's leadership during the past year, when, they said, the Council faced many important issues.