WTO members in the Negotiating Group on Rules held their first cluster of fisheries subsidies meetings for the year on 14-18 January. Some members indicated they were working on proposing new draft texts covering certain areas of fisheries subsidies disciplines that WTO members had committed to agree by end-2019.
In line with the January to July 2019 work programme for fisheries subsidies negotiations agreed by the Negotiating Group, the week-long cluster of meetings was composed of a mix of bilateral talks, other member-organized discussions, and consultations open to all delegations.
The work in open-ended consultations was organized around four main topics: subsidies to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; subsidies to fishing where stocks are overfished; subsidies contributing to fishing overcapacity and to overfishing; and cross-cutting issues which include special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed members, dispute settlement, institutional issues, and notification and transparency.
Based on suggestions from members, the Chair selected four delegates to act as facilitators for each of these areas and they reported to the Negotiating Group their impressions of where the negotiations stood and what issues emerged during the week.
Some members indicated they were working with other delegations on drafting new language for certain areas of the fisheries subsidies disciplines, for consideration by the Negotiating Group. A number of delegations underlined the importance of receiving such new contributions as soon as possible.
The next cluster of fisheries subsidies meetings will be on 25 February-1 March.
General Council Chair Junichi Ihara of Japan has appointed Amb. David Walker of New Zealand to assist him in working with WTO members to resolve differences on the urgent matter of the functioning of the organization’s Appellate Body.
At the 12 December General Council, WTO members agreed with Chair Ihara's proposal to launch an informal process to overcome the impasse on the selection of Appellate Body members. Normally, there are seven members of the Appellate Body but the deadlock has prevented the appointment of new members to fill vacancies created when a member's term expires. As a result, there are currently only three sitting AB members, the minimum required for any appeal.
Following the General Council, Chair Ihara met with 25 delegations to hear their views on how he should proceed. He told an informal Heads of Delegation meeting on 17 January that these consultations revealed most delegations believed the issue of the Appellate Body needed to be addressed "very urgently", that the immediate outcome of the informal process should be the unblocking of the selection process and that discussions between members should be solution-oriented, focused and issue specific.
Chair Ihara said in looking for a facilitator he sought an ambassador with "thorough knowledge and practical experience" in WTO dispute settlement, someone who had chaired a WTO body and someone familiar with WTO informal processes. Amb. Walker accepted the chair's invitation and spoke to members at the 17 January meeting where he led the discussions.
During the meeting, WTO members debated three proposals on reforming the Appellate Body. While significant differences between members remain, there was a high level of engagement between ambassadors and all delegations showed willingness to intensify their efforts to finding a solution.
"I believe we had a good kick off to this process," said Amb. Walker. "I will reach out to members and discuss with them how to take the process forward, always in a solution-oriented spirit."
At the WTO’s cotton days, the major milestones achieved in the past ten years in monitoring cotton development assistance were welcomed by members and the Cotton 4 — Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. Members also took stock of progress over ten rounds of dedicated discussions on cotton trade. Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff underscored the dynamic and project-focused approach that underpins WTO work on cotton development assistance. Ambassador Ford of Guyana recalled trade achievements which “demonstrate members’ determination and ability to deliver results on cotton”.
Cote d'Ivoire attended the cotton days for the first time as a Cotton 4 (C4) observer country following its application for observer status at the C4 ministerial meeting in N'Djamena, Chad.
At the two-day meeting, known as the WTO “cotton days”, WTO members discussed both the latest developments in cotton trade and the assistance provided to developing countries. At the end of the two days, WTO members endorsed the joint initiative of the WTO, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to enhance the economic potential of cotton by-products.
According to the latest version of the Director-General's Evolving Table on Cotton Development Assistance (WT/CFMC/6/Rev.25, 15 November 2018) prepared by the WTO Secretariat to keep record of all cotton-related development assistance projects, 29 active cotton-specific projects have been recorded, benefiting 32 countries. This reflects an increase in development assistance in this area. Three new projects were recorded from GIZ-Germany and Switzerland. This is the 10th year that the evolving table exists in its current form (see flyer).
Members examined the Cotton 4’s "Cotton Roadmap Project" (WT/CFMC/W/73 and presentation by Amb. Laourou), including two country-specific projects from Mali and one from Benin. The Cotton 4 selected Mali to carry out two new pilot projects to address high soil acidity and improve yields. If successful, the model will be replicated in other countries. Benin proposed a project looking at the possibility of improving organic matter in soils by introducing more diversified crops. The estimated cost will be evaluated on a country-by-country basis.
The Brazilian Cooperation Agency presented its activities on cotton. Since 2015, Brazil has started a new trend of working with international organizations, such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization to assist African countries in the development of the cotton sector. Thirty-six projects have been implemented, mostly in Africa and Latin America, and various new technical missions will start in December 2018.
Business sheds lights on how to tap into the cotton markets
Since the Cotton Day meeting of June 2018, the Consultative Mechanism has taken a pragmatic approach by bringing the private sector into the discussion. This time Mr Ryota Karube, President of the Japanese trading company Toyoshima Inc., introduced its business model and its role in linking African cotton producers to the international market. Toyoshima called for African farmers to build relations with trading companies and stressed the importance of developing strategies to exploit the increasing consumer-driven opportunities offered by cotton such as the Better Cotton Initiative and Cotton made in Africa.
Emphasizing the ministerial mandate on cotton development assistance, DDG Wolff, Chair of the Consultative Mechanism on behalf of Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, underlined the importance of "effective assistance" and invited beneficiaries to "continue identifying their needs linked to cotton or related sectors, including on a regional basis".
Discussions on cotton policies and negotiation prospects
WTO members noted that the WTO cotton initiative, launched in 2003, has seen many historic moments over the past ten years, including:
• the 2013 Bali Ministerial Decision on Cotton, which introduced “dedicated discussions” twice a year for WTO members to address the trade-related developments that underpin cotton negotiations
• the 2015 Nairobi Ministerial Decision on Cotton, which committed members to abolish agricultural export subsidies for cotton as of 1 January 2017, with developed members and developing members with the capacity to do so agreeing to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for exports of cotton and cotton-related products from least-developed countries
• the launch of a joint WTO/ITC cotton portal at the 2017 Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference, with the aim of helping cotton producers, traders and policymakers better harness market opportunities in the cotton sector.
SIXTH MEETING OF THE COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON THE FACILITATION OF TRADE PROCEDURES
On 21st December 2018, the sixth meeting of the Coordinating Committee on Facilitation of Trade Procedures was heldin the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade with the participation of representatives of ministries and agencies, private sector and development partners.
Head of the Committee – Minister of Economic Development and Trade, distinguished NematulloHikmatullozoda noted that by discussing and dealing with the issues that are described during the meeting directly support implementation of the strategic documents and further development of the economy of the country.
Moreover, during the meeting, a presentation on results and actions of the permanent working group of experts on improvement of tariff and non-tariff tools for support of domestic producers and export development was presented by the First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade distinguished Zavqizoda Z. A.
In addition, during the meeting other issues including the National Trade Facilitation Portal, reports of the relevant ministries and agencies on complying the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement were reviewed.
At the end of the meeting, aprotocol with relevant instructions was sent to the Committee Members to address the discussed issues.
Protocol of the fourth and fifth meetings of the Coordinating Committee on Facilitation of Trade Procedures
Dushanbe ¹4 and ¹5 « 29 » October 2018
Head of the Committee: Minister of economic development and trade - N. Hikmatullozoda
From 24 Members of the Committee, that was established by the Decree of the Government of Tajikistan (24 December 2016, ¹529) only 10 members participated, however other members without any excuse did not participate in the meeting (First Deputy Head of Customs Service, Ministries of finance; industry and new technologies, agriculture, health and social protection of population, State committee on investment and state property management, tax committee).
At the same time, from 12 representatives of the trade organizations and associations (Committee members) only 7 of them were present in the meeting, 5 members of the Committee (AIATT, Association of banks of Tajikistan, Association of financing organizations, Association of logistics of Tajikistan, Public organization of veterinaries of Tajikistan) did not participate in the meeting.
Moreover, representatives of International organizations and development partners participated in the meeting including ITC, UNDP, SECO, USAID, EU Delegation in Tajikistan and OSCE.
The list of participants is attached.
According to the agenda of the meeting 3 main topics were discussed:
1. Increasing the effectiveness of the Committee’s work
1.1. Presentation on the Committee’s completed tasks and establishment of the Permanent Secretariat of the Committee
1.2. Presentation on the Project of the Roadmap of the Committee
2. Results of analysis on improvement of implementation of the Republic of Tajikistan’s obligations under the WTO.
2.11Presentation on prioritization and sequencing of the A, B and C Categories measures of the TFA
3. Transit and international transport development
3.1 Presentation on the completed tasks of the Working Group on preparation of researches for international conventions and agreements in the transport and transit sectors and proposition of the Program on transport services development
3.2. Presentation on the transporters’ position for the terms of passage through the border checkpoints
3.3. Presentation on the working terms of the border checkpoints with the Republic of Uzbekistan
3.4. Presentation on implementation of the project “transport route: Uzbekistan – Tajikistan – China” in order to detect opportunities and transit benefits for the Republic of Tajikistan
Minister of economic development and trade – Head of the Committee, N. Hikmatullozoda has started the meeting by expressing gratitude to the Committee members and other participants.
It was noted that Committee’s work is under constant control of the President and the Government of the country in order to promote appropriate terms for the domestic and foreign trade. The Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Emomali Rahmon has underlined development of export of the country during his annual speech to the Parliament of the Country on 22 December 2017 and instructed the related ministries and agencies to take measures in order to increase exports, diversify exports, develop processing of agricultural goods, including cotton, fruits, vegetables, metals and precious stones.
Till this period on the basis of the protocol instructions of the Committee, number of tasks were completed and in order to further facilitate the work the Permanent Secretariat was established.
Head of the Committee noted, that establishment of the Committee will catalyze the implementation of strategic documents of the country including National Strategy on development of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period until 2030, Midterm Program on development of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period of 2016-2020, State Program on support of export and import substitution of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period of 2016-2020 and instructions of the Founder of Peace and National Unity - Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon.
After that the First Deputy Minister of the Economic Development and Trade Zavqizoda Zavqi Amin made a presentation on the first item of the agenda – completed tasks of the Committee and establishment of the Permanent Secretariat of the Comiittee.
He has noted that in collaboration with the members of the Committee, relevant ministries and agencies, development partners and the private sector 10 draft decrees of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan were developed, 5 were adopted, 1 is being reviewed by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and 4 are under revision of the ministries and agencies.
To adhere the decisions of the Committee, 6 Working Groups on different issues were established.
The Action Plan for reduction of time and expenses of enterprises for export, import and transit of goods was developed and approved by the relevant Decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan (31 May 2018, ¹286).
The Customs Service was appointed as a coordinating body for the transit actions (Decree of the Government of Tajikistan from 25 December 2017, #580).
Meanwhile, in order to timely publish normative legal acts on customs activities and to appoint responsible economic manager, amendments to the Customs Code have been prepared and circulated among ministries and agencies.
In order to support export and increase competitiveness of domestic products, the draft Law of the Republic of Tajikistan "On the Support of Export and Increasing Competitiveness" was developed and currently is under revision of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Furthermore, First Deputy Minister noted that with the aim to support Committee’s activities and it’s Working Groups, with the support of ITC and UNECE the permanent secretariat was established with a relevant order of the Ministry of economic development and trade. 3 people have qualified through the interview and now they are working in the mentioned secretariat.
Firs deputy minister made another presentation on the project of the Roadmap of the Committee and noted that this roadmap will assist in further work of the Committee.
During preparation of this project the obligations of the country within the WTO’s TFA and other strategic aims were taken into account. The project consists of 5 parts and 35 measures, that foresee reforms for the following aspects: improvement of trade procedures facilitation normative legal acts base; decrease of customs procedures; improvement of international transportation system; increase of domestic production; supply chain integration.
With a view of importance of this project, it was agreed to get comments and proposals of the Committee members in the period of 20 days. The project will be amended with the comments and proposals of the committee members, reviewed and approved during the next Committee meeting.
First deputy minister presented another presentation on Tajikistan’s obligations under the WTO’s TFA according to the categories A, B and C.
It was informed that, with the support of the ITC and SECO a National Seminar on “Prioritization, sequencing and strategizing the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement” with participation of the Members of the Committee, representatives of the Private sector and development partners was held from 14 – 16 August 2016 in which the project of the Categories A, B and C measures and their implementation periods were prepared.
In the end, it was agreed to get comments and proposals of the Committee members on the project of the A, B and C Categories measures in the period of 10 days.
After that the third item of agenda on transit and transportation development was reviewed. It was noted that the Working Group on preparation of analysis on implementation of international conventions and agreements on transport and transit sectors is one of the most active Working Groups, which has already completed a number of tasks.
A presentation on completed tasks of the Working Group and proposition of the Program on development of transport services was presented by the first deputy minister of transport – Mirzoev Suhrob.
It was noted that implementation of the action plan of the project will lead to develop the transport services and support transformation of Tajikistan into transit country.
After the presentation of the project, discussions took place and the representative of the Ministry of foreign affairs proposed to include the air transport services in the action plan as well.
Head of the Committee has specially noted that, the National Development Strategy’s one of the main goals is to break in the communication deadlock and transformation into transit country. In this regard taking measures to achieve these goals is highly prioritized.
On the position of transporters on the terms of border checkpoint passage a presentation was shown by the representative of the private sector – Head of the Professional consultants union of Tajikistan, Kislyakova L. P.
This presentation contained the problems faced by the transporters, for example corruption elements at the border authorities.
On this matter the Head of Committee has given special instructions to related authorities and also obliged the Head of the Working Group on improvement of tariff and non-tariff tools to fully review the mentioned problem in the next meeting of the working group.
Moreover, the representative of the Customs services has given a presentation on the working terms of the border checkpoints with the Republic of Uzbekistan and noted that with the contribution of the Government the necessary measures are being taken in order to increase the services in the border checkpoints.
Head of the Committee proposed the customs service to work in the framework of the acting legislation of the country and deal with the current border checkpoints’ problems.
After that according to the agenda representative of the Ministry of transport has shown a presentation on “Transport route: Uzbekistan – Tajikistan - China” During the meeting discussions took place and members of the committee including Head of the committee, private sector representatives and the development partners shared their views on the agenda items.
At the end of the meeting Head of the Committee noted that the protocol of the meeting should be prepared and shared with the participants of the meeting.
The following decisions were made and included to the protocol of the meeting:
1. Protocol instructions should be under control of the Secretariat of the Committee;
2. Secretariat should send the projects of the Roadmap and the A, B and C Categories measures to the committee members and participants of the meeting;
3. Committee members and the participants of the meeting should send their comments and proposals on the project of the Roadmap both in electronic form and by official letter to the Committee’s secretariat in the period of 20 days;
4. Secretariat should change the project of the Roadmap by including the comments of the Committee members in order to review and approve it in the next meeting of the committee;
5. Committee members and the participants of the meeting should send their comments and proposals on the project of the A, B and C Categories measures both in electronic form and by official letter to the Committee’s secretariat in the period of 10 days;
6. Committee members and the participants of the meeting should send their reports on the implementation of the Action plan on getting the legislation of the country in line with the WTO’s TFA requirements, which was approved by the decision of the Committee in its second meeting (5 April 2017) to the Committee’s secretariat in the period of 10 days;
7. Customs service should send their reports on the implementation of the Action plan on getting the customs legislation of the country in line with the provisions of International convention on facilitationa and harmonization of the customs procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention), which was approved by the decision of the Committee in its second meeting (5 April 2017) to the Committee’s secretariat in the period of 10 days;
8. Ministry of transport by the end of 2018 with the support of the Committee members should send the Program on transport development for revision to the Government of the country after it has been reviewed by the relevant ministries and agencies;
9. Working Groups of the Committee should send reports on completed tasks to the secretariat of the Committee;
10. Head of the Working Group on improvement of tariff and non-tariff tools during the next meeting of the Working Group with participation of the representatives of the border control authorities should fully review the problems mentioned by the private sector and make a report in the next meeting of the committee;
11. Heads of the ministries and agencies, that are the members of the committee (Decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, 24 December 2016, ¹529) should be warned that if they won’t participate in the next meetings of the Committee, relevant reports are going to be sent to the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan.
THE FOURTH AND FIFTH MEETINGS OF THE COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON FACILITATION OF TRADE PROCEDURES
On October 29, 2018, the fourthand fifth meetings of the Coordinating Committee on Facilitation of Trade Procedures was held in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade with the participation of representatives of ministries and agencies, private sector and development partners.
At this meeting, different issues on increasing the efficiency of the Committee’s work, improvementof implementation of the Republic of Tajikistan’s obligations underthe World Trade Organization (WTO)and development of transit and international transport were discussed.
Minister of economic development and trade, distinguished Nematullo Hikmatullozoda noted that establishment of the Committee will lead to realization of strategic documents including National Strategy on development of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period until 2030, Midterm Program on development of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period of 2016-2020, State Program on support of export and import substitution of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period of 2016-2020 and instructions of the Founder of Peace and National Unity - Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon.
Moreover, the First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade, distinguished Zavqizoda Zavqi Amin, made presentations on the work of the Committee, the creation of a permanent secretariat of this Committee, the implementation of measures of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the draft Roadmap of the Committee.
At the same time, the meeting provided a free dialogue between public and private sector representatives, during which proposals from the private sector were submitted to public sector for revision.
At the end of the meeting, appropriate protocol with relevant instructions was sent to the Committee Members to address the discussed issues.
It should be noted that the Committee on Facilitation of Trade Procedures was established by the relevant decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan on December 24, 2016, ¹529 with the aim of harmonizing the public and private sectors, identifying and solving problems of this sector, as well as increasing and diversifying exports of domestic products.
World Trade Report 2017
On 18 August 2017, Ukraine notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 10 August 2017 a safeguard investigation on sulfuric acid and oleum.
WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation
WTO Members are implementing the Agreement WTO
Video message by DG Azevêdo. This is what he said:
Good morning everyone.
Welcome to the WTO and to this event celebrating the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.
From vision to reality: event celebrates success of the Trade Facilitation Agreement
Participants who played a key role in negotiating the new Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) joined WTO members and others on 2 June to celebrate the Agreement’s entry into force and to discuss the challenges in securing its implementation in the coming years.
Azevêdo: Food security is of paramount importance to all members
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, on 31 May, opened a Workshop on “Delivering Development in the 11th Ministerial Conference” aimed at looking at the roles of public stockholding and the Special Safeguard Mechanism in achieving food security.
Trade Facilitation Agreement
Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries
The New WTO Trade Facilitation AgreementIn December 2013 WTO Members concluded negotiations on a new Trade Facilitation Agreement (WT/MIN (13)/36) aimed at expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, and at improving customs cooperation.
Dushanbe # 2 April 5 2017
Chairman: Minister of Economic development and trade N. Hikmatullozoda
DG Azevêdo and Argentina’s minister Malcorra meet with negotiating group chairs
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo welcomed Susana Malcorra
Minutes First session of the Coordinating Committee on Trade Facilitation (CCTF)
20 members of the Committee (out of 24) participated in the session. These members are approved by the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan,
MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE OF THE REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN
The second meeting of National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC)
DG Azevêdo: Portugal is a nation driven by openness
At a meeting of the Portuguese Council of State in Lisbon on 31 March 2017,
A new book on trade policy analysis was launched today (15 November) by the WTO and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “An Advanced Guide to Trade Policy Analysis: The Structural Gravity Model” outlines one of the most successful tools for the analysis of trade policy and provides practical guidance on how to apply this tool to trade policy making.
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