Annex A: Agriculture
Report by the Chairman of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture to the TNC.
1. The present report has been prepared on my own responsibility. I have done so in response to the direction of Members as expressed at the informal Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture on 11 November 2005. At that meeting, following the informal Heads of Delegation meeting the preceding day, Members made it crystal clear that they sought from me at this point an objective factual summary of where the negotiations have reached at this time. It was clear from that meeting that Members did not expect or desire anything that purported to be more than that. In particular, it was clear that, following the decision at the Heads of Delegation meeting that full modalities will not be achieved at Hong Kong, Members did not want anything that suggested implicit or explicit agreement where it did not exist.
2. This is not, of course, the kind of paper that I would have chosen or preferred to have prepared at this point. Ideally, my task should have been to work with Members to generate a draft text of modalities. But this text reflects the reality of the present situation. There will be — because there must be if we are to conclude these negotiations — such a draft text in the future. I look at this now as a task postponed, but the precise timing of this is in the hands of Members.
3. As for this paper, it is precisely what it is described to be. No more, no less. It is the Chairman’s report and, as such, it goes from me to the TNC. It is not anything more than my personal report — in particular, it is not in any sense an agreed text of Members. It does not, therefore, in any way prejudge or prejudice the positions of Members on any matter within it or outside of it. And, it certainly does not bind Members in any way. It should go without saying that the agreed basis of our work is, and shall remain, the Doha Mandate itself and the Framework in the Decision adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004.
4. As to the character of the paper, I have endeavoured to reflect what I discerned as the wishes of Members when they directed me to prepare this paper. I have tried to capture as clearly as I can such conditional progress and convergence as has developed in the post-July 2004 period. In doing so, I have not tried to brush under the carpet divergences that remain, and the paper tries to be just as clear on those points. Of course, it is a summary report. As such, it cannot — and does not — recapitulate each and every detail on each and every issue. But I took from Members’ comments that they would prefer a paper which could ‘orient’ further discussion.
5. In that regard, I hope that anyone reading this paper would be able to get a pretty clear idea of what it is that remains to be done. Members made it clear that it was not my task as Chair to prescribe what is to be done next in a programmatic way. My task was to register where we are now, but I confess to having done so with an eye to genuinely clarifying where key convergences exist or key divergences remain, rather than obscuring or overcomplicating matters.
6. My own sense, when I review this myself, is the compelling urgency of seizing the moment and driving the process to a conclusion as rapidly as possible. We have made — particularly since August of this year — genuine and material progress. Indeed, it has come at a relatively rapid pace. It is also clear to me that it has been the product of a genuinely negotiating process. In other words, it has been a case of making proposals and counterproposals. That is why the matters covered in this report have an essentially conditional character. As I see it, the reality is that we have yet to find that last bridge to agreement that we need to secure modalities. But it would be a grave error, in my view, to imagine that we can take much time to find that bridge. As Chair, I am convinced that we must maintain momentum. You don't close divergences by taking time off to have a cup of tea. If you do so, you will find that everyone has moved backwards in the meantime. That, it seems to me, is a profound risk to our process. I would like to believe that this report at least underlines to us that there is indeed something real and important still within our grasp and we ought not to risk losing it. Our over-riding challenge and responsibility is to meet the development objective of the Doha Development Agenda. To meet this challenge and achieve this goal, we must act decisively and with real urgency.
7. The future life of this paper, if any, is a matter entirely in the hands of TNC Members to decide. This, as I see it, is the proper safeguard of the integrity of what has come to be described as a “bottom-up” process.
8. There has been very considerable potential convergence, albeit on a manifestly conditional basis.
- There is a working hypothesis of three bands for overall cuts by developed countries. There is a strongly convergent working hypothesis that the thresholds for the three bands be US$ billion 0-10; 10-60; >60. On this basis, the European Communities would be in the top band, the United States and Japan in the second band, and all other developed countries at least in the third band. For developing countries, there is a view that either developing countries are assigned to the relevant integrated band (the bottom) or that there is a separate band for them1.
- Based on post-July 2005 proposals, there has been an undeniably significant convergence on the range of cuts. Of course, this has been conditional. But subject to that feature, a great deal of progress has been made since the bare bones of the July 2004 Framework. The following matrix provides a snapshot:
Thresholds (US$ billion)
- On product-specific de minimis and non-product-specific de minimis, there is a zone of engagement for cuts between 50% and 80% for developed countries.
- As regards developing countries, there are still divergences to be bridged. In addition to the exemption specifically provided for in the Framework, there is a view that, for all developing countries, there should be no cut in de minimis at all. Alternatively, at least for those with no AMS, there should be no cut and, in any case, any cut for those with an AMS should be less than 2/3 of the cut for developed countries.
9. There is important and significant convergence on moving beyond (i.e. further constraining) Blue Box programme payments envisaged in the July 2004 Framework. However, the technique for achieving this remains to be determined. One proposal is to shrink the current 5% ceiling to 2.5%2. Another proposal rejects this in favour of additional criteria disciplining the so-called “new” Blue Box only. Others favour a combination of both, including additional disciplines on the “old” Blue Box.
- There is a working hypothesis of three bands for
- There is close (but not full) convergence on the thresholds for those bands. There appears to be convergence that the top tier should be US$25 billion and above. There is some remaining divergence over the ceiling for the bottom band: between US$12 billion and 15 billion.
- There has been an undeniably significant convergence on the range of cuts. Of course, this has been conditional. But, that understood, a great deal of progress has been made since the bare bones of the July 2004 Framework. The following matrix3 provides a snapshot:
Thresholds (US$ billion)
- There is therefore working hypothesis agreement that the European Communities should be in the top tier, and the United States in the second tier. However, while the basis for Japan’s placement as between these two tiers has been narrowed, it remains to be finally resolved.
- For developed countries in the bottom band, with a relatively high level of AMS relative to total value of agriculture production, there is emerging consensus that their band-related reduction should be complemented with an additional effort.
- What is needed now is a further step to bridge the remaining gap in positions — particularly as regards the United States and the European Communities, it being understood that this is not a matter to be resolved in isolation from the other elements in this pillar and beyond.
- On the base period for product-specific caps, certain proposals (such as for 1995-2000 and 1999-2001) are on the table. This needs to be resolved appropriately, including the manner in which special and differential treatment should be applied.
10. The review and clarification commitment has not resulted in any discernible convergence on operational outcomes. There is, on the one side, a firm rejection of anything that is seen as departing from the existing disciplines while there is, on the other, an enduring sense that more could be done to review the Green Box without undermining ongoing reform. Beyond that there is, however, some tangible openness to finding appropriate ways to ensure that the Green Box is more “development friendly” i.e. better tailored to meet the realities of developing country agriculture but in a way that respects the fundamental requirement of at most minimal trade distortion.
11. While concrete proposals4 have been made on the issue of an end date for elimination of all forms of export subsidies, there is at this stage no convergence. There are suggestions for the principle of front-loading or accelerated elimination for specific products, including particularly cotton.
12. Convergence has been achieved on a number of elements of disciplines with respect to export credits, export credit guarantee or insurance programmes with repayment periods of 180 days and below. However, a number of critical issues remain5.
Exporting State Trading Enterprises
13. There has been material convergence on rules to address trade-distorting practices identified in the July 2004 Framework text, although there are still major differences regarding the scope of practices to be covered by the new disciplines. Fundamentally opposing positions remain, however, on the issue of the future use of monopoly powers. There have been concrete drafting proposals on such matters as definition of entities and practices to be addressed as well as transparency. But there has been no genuine convergence in such areas.
14. There is consensus among Members that the WTO shall not stand in the way of the provision of genuine food aid. There is also consensus that what is to be eliminated is commercial displacement. There have been detailed and intensive discussions, some of which have even been text-based, but not to a point where a consolidated draft text could be developed. This has been precluded by Members clinging to fundamentally disparate conceptual premises. There are proposals that in the disciplines a distinction should be made between at least two types of food aid: emergency food aid and food aid to address other situations. However, there is not yet a common understanding where emergency food aid ends and other food aid begins, reflecting concerns that this distinction should not become a means to create a loophole in disciplines. A fundamental sticking point is whether, except in exceptional, genuine emergency situations, Members should (albeit gradually) move towards untied, in-cash food aid only, as some Members propose but other Members strongly oppose6.
Special and Differential Treatment
15. Framework provisions for special and differential treatment, including with respect to the monopoly status of state trading enterprises in developing countries and an extended lifetime for Article 9.4, have been uncontroversial, but details remain to be established.
16. Work on the criteria and consultation procedures to govern any ad hoc temporary financing arrangements relating to exports to developing countries in exceptional circumstances is not much developed.
- We have progressed on ad valorem equivalents7. This
has successfully created a basis for allocating items into bands for the
- We have a working hypothesis of four bands for
structuring tariff cuts.
- There has been very considerable convergence on adopting a linear-based approach for cuts within those bands. Members have, of course, by no means formally abandoned positions that are even more divergent8.
We need now to narrow the extent of divergence that remains. This will include whether or not to include any “pivot” in any band.
- Members have made strong efforts to promote convergence on the size of actual cuts to be undertaken within those bands. But, even though genuine efforts have been made to move from formal positions (which of course remain), major gaps are yet to be bridged. Somewhat greater convergence has been achieved as regards the thresholds for the bands. Substantial movement is clearly essential to progress9.
- Some Members continue to reject completely the concept of a tariff cap. Others have proposed10 a cap between 75-100%.
- Members have been prepared to make concrete — albeit conditional — proposals on the number of sensitive products. But, in a situation where proposals extend from as little as 1% to as much as 15% of tariff lines, further bridging this difference is essential to progress.
- The fundamental divergence over the basic approach to treatment of sensitive products needs to be resolved11. Beyond that, there needs to be convergence on the consequential extent of liberalisation for such products.
Special and Differential Treatment
- Just as for developed countries, there is a working hypothesis of four bands for developing countries. There is no disagreement on lesser cuts within the bands. A certain body of opinion is open to considering cuts of two-thirds of the amount of the cuts for developed countries as a plausible zone in which to search more intensively for convergence12.
But significant disagreement on that remains, and divergence is, if anything, somewhat more marked on the connected issue of higher thresholds for developing countries13.
- Some Members continue to reject completely the concept of a tariff cap for developing countries. Others have proposed14 a cap
- For sensitive products, there is no disagreement that there should be greater flexibility for developing countries, but the extent of this needs to be further defined15.
- Regarding designation of special products, there has been a clear divergence between those Members which consider that, prior to establishment of schedules, a list of non-exhaustive and illustrative criteria-based indicators should be established and those Members which are looking for a list which would act as a filter or screen for the selection of such products. Latterly, it has been proposed (but not yet discussed with Members as a whole) that a developing country Member should have the right to designate at least 20 per cent of its agricultural tariff lines as Special Products, and be further entitled to designate an SP where, for that product, an AMS has been notified and exports have taken place. This issue needs to be resolved as part of modalities so that there is assurance of the basis upon which Members may designate special products.
- Some moves toward convergence on treatment of Special Products have been made recently. Some Members had considered that special products should be fully exempt from any new market access commitments whatsoever and have automatic access to the SSM. Others had argued there should be some degree of market opening for these products, albeit reflecting more flexible treatment than for other products. In the presence of this fundamental divergence, it had clearly been impossible to undertake any definition of what such flexibility would be. Genuine convergence is obviously urgently needed. There is now a new proposal for a tripartite categorization of Special Products involving limited tariff cuts for at least a proportion of such products which remains to be fully discussed. It remains to be seen whether this discussion can help move us forward.
Special Safeguard Mechanism
- There is agreement that there would be a special safeguard mechanism and that it should be tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of developing countries. There is no material disagreement with the view that it should have a quantity trigger. Nor is there disagreement with the view that it should at least be capable of addressing effectively what might be described as import “surges”. Divergence remains over whether, or if so how, situations that are lesser than “surge” are to be dealt with. There is, however, agreement that any remedy should be of a temporary nature. There remains strong divergence however on whether, or if so how, a special safeguard should be “price-based” to deal specifically with price effects.
- There is some discernible openness, albeit at varying levels, to at least consider coverage of products that are likely to undergo significant liberalisation effects, and/or are already bound at low levels and/or are special products. Beyond that, however, there remains a fundamental divergence between those considering all products should be eligible for such a mechanism and those opposing such a blanket approach.
17. There has been no further material convergence on the matters covered by paragraphs 35 and 37 of the July 2004 Framework text. The same may be said for paragraph 36 on tariff escalation, albeit that there is full agreement on the need for this to be done, and a genuine recognition of the particular importance of this for commodities exporters. Certain concrete proposals have been made on paragraph 38 (SSG) and met with opposition from some Members.
18. Concrete proposals have been made and discussed on how to implement paragraph 43 of the July 2004 Framework on tropical and diversification products. But there remains divergence over the precise interpretation of this section of the July Framework16 and no common approach has been established.
19. The importance of long-standing preferences pursuant to paragraph 44 of the July 2004 Framework is fully recognised and concrete proposals regarding preference erosion have been made and discussed17. There seems not to be inherent difficulty with a role for capacity building. However, while there is some degree of support for e.g. longer implementation periods for at least certain products in order to facilitate adjustment, there is far from convergence on even this. Some argue it is not sufficient or certainly not in all cases, while others that it is not warranted at all.
20. There is no questioning of the terms of paragraph 45 of the July Framework agreement, which exempts least-developed countries from any reduction requirement. The stipulation that “developed Members, and developing country Members in a position to do so, should provide duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from least-developed countries” is not at this point concretely operational for all Members. At this stage, several Members have made undertakings. Proposals for this to be bound remain on the table18.
21. While there is genuine recognition of the problem to be addressed and concrete proposals have been made, Members remain at this point short of concrete and specific achievement that would be needed to meet the July Framework direction to address this matter ambitiously, expeditiously and specifically. There is no disagreement with the view that all forms of export subsidies are to be eliminated for cotton although the timing and speed remains to be specified. Proposals to eliminate them immediately or from day one of the implementation period are not at this point shared by all Members. In the case of trade distorting support, proponents seek full elimination with “front-loaded” implementation19. There is a view that the extent to which this can occur, and its timing, can only be determined in the context of an overall agreement. Another view is that there could be at least substantial and front-loaded reduction on cotton specifically from day one of implementation, with the major implementation achieved within twelve months, and the remainder to be completed within a period shorter than the overall implementation period for agriculture20.
22. Concrete proposals have been made and discussed, but no specific flexibility provisions have commanded consensus.
MONITORING AND SURVEILLANCE
23. A proposal has been made but there is no material advance at this point.
24. On paragraph 49 (sectoral initiatives, differential export taxes, GIs) certain positions and proposals have been tabled and/or referred to. They are issues that remain of interest but not agreed.
25. At this point, proposals on paragraph 50 have not advanced materially.
26. In the case of small and vulnerable economies, a concrete proposal has been made recently. It has not yet been subject to consultation.
27. There is openness to the particular concerns of commodity-dependent developing and least-developed countries facing long-term decline and/or sharp fluctuations in prices. There is, at this point (where, overall, precise modalities are still pending), support for the view that such modalities should eventually be capable of addressing effectively key areas for them21.
1. On the proposed basis that cut remains to be determined for those developing countries with an AMS. In any case, there is a view (not shared by all) that cuts for developing countries should be less than 2/3 of the cut for developed countries. back to text
2. The exact extent of the flexibility to be provided pursuant to paragraph 15 of the July 2004 Framework remains to be agreed. back to text
3. Of course, this needs to be viewed as illustrative rather than overly literally, if for no other reason than that these are conditional figures. For instance, while the European Communities has indicated it could be prepared to go as far as 70% in the top tier, they make it clear that this is acceptable only if the United States will go to 60% in the second tier. The United States for its part, however, has only indicated preparedness to go to that 60% if the European Communities is prepared to go as high as 83% — which it has not indicated it is prepared to do. back to text
4. One Member has proposed the year 2010 for “export subsidies”, with accelerated elimination for “specific” products. Another group of Members have proposed a period “no longer than five years” for all forms of export subsidies, with “direct” export subsidies subject to front-loading within that period. back to text
5. This includes, but is not limited to: exemptions, if any, to the 180 day rule; whether the disciplines should allow for pure cover only or also permit direct financing; the appropriate period for programmes to fully recover their costs and losses through the premia levied from the exporters (principle of self-financing —- there needs to be convergence between position which range from one year to fifteen years); the disciplines regarding special circumstances; and the question of special and differential treatment, including whether, as some Members argue, developing countries should be allowed longer repayment terms for export credits extended by them to other developing countries and the specifics of differential treatment in favour of least-developed and net food-importing developing countries. back to text
6. This fundamental divergence has effectively precluded convergence on such matters as what disciplines, if any, should be established with respect to monetization of food aid or the question of the provision of food aid in fully grant form only. The importance of operationally effective transparency requirements is generally acknowledged, but details have still to be developed, particularly those relating to the role of the WTO in this context. Further work is required to clarify the role of recipient countries and relevant international organizations or other entities in triggering or providing food aid. back to text
7. The method for calculating the AVEs for the sugar lines is still to be established. back to text
8. At one end of the spectrum, as it were, a “harmonisation” formula within the bands; at the other end “flexibility” within the formula. back to text
9. The matrix below is an illustrative table that portrays the extent of divergences that remain, even on the basis of post-August 2005 proposals. This does not entirely cover all the subtleties of those proposals to utilize a “pivot” (although most are in fact within the ranges tabulated), but is intended to convey a snapshot of the status of average cuts proposed post-August. back to text
Range of cuts (%)
0% - 20/30%
20/30% - 40/60%
40/60% - 60/90%
10. As an element in certain conditional proposals on overall market access, tabled post-July 2005. back to text
11. Some see this as being tariff quota based and expressed as a percentage of domestic consumption, with proposals of up to 10%. Others propose pro rata expansion on an existing trade basis, including taking account of current imports. Some also propose no new TRQs, with sensitivity in such cases to be provided through other means, e.g. differential phasing. There is also a proposal for a “sliding scale” approach. back to text
12. In this pillar, as well as in the other two, there is general convergence on the point that developing countries will have entitlement to longer implementation periods, albeit that concrete precision remains to be determined. back to text
13. The matrix below is an illustrative table that portrays the extent of divergences that remain, just on the basis of post-August 2005 proposals. back to text
Range of cuts (%)
0% - 20/50%
20/50% - 40/100%
40/100% - 60/150%
There is also a proposal that cuts for developing countries should be “slightly lesser” than the upper tariff cuts for developed countries shown in the preceding table (i.e.: “slightly lesser” than 65, 75, 85 and 90%).
14. As an element in certain conditional proposals on overall market access, tabled post-July 2005. back to text
15. While the eventual zone of convergence for developed countries undoubtedly has a bearing in this area, it has been proposed by a group of Members that the principles of sensitive products generally and for TRQs specifically should be different for developing countries. Another group of Members has proposed, in the post-August period, an entitlement for developing countries of at least 50% more than the maximum number of lines used by any developed Member. This would (based on developed country proposals) amount to a potential variation between 1.5% and 22.5% of tariff lines. This latter group has also proposed that products relating to long-standing preferences shall be designated as sensitive and that any TRQ expansion should not be “at the detriment of existing ACP quotas”. This particular view has been, however, strongly opposed by other Members which take the firm position that tropical and diversification products should not at all be designated as sensitive products. back to text
16. It is argued by some Members that this is to be interpreted as meaning full duty- and tariff quota-free access, but by others as less than that. back to text
17. Note 15 above refers. back to text
18. It is also proposed that this should be accompanied by simple and transparent rules of origin and other measures to address non-tariff barriers. back to text
19. Concrete proposals have been made, with a three-step approach: 80% on day one, an additional 10% after 12 months and the last 10% a year later. back to text
20. A Member has indicated that it is prepared to implement all its commitments from day one and, in any case, to autonomously ensure that its commitments on eliminating the most trade-distorting domestic support, eliminating all forms of export subsidies and providing mfn duty- and quota-free access for cotton will take place from 2006. back to text
21. This would appear to include in particular such a matter as tariff escalation, where it discourages the development of processing industries in the commodity producing countries. The idea of a review and clarification of what the current status is of GATT 1994 provisions relating to the stabilisation of prices through the adoption of supply management systems by producing countries, and the use of export taxes and restrictions under such systems is also on the table. Proponents would seek something more than this such as more concrete undertakings in the area of non-tariff measures and actual revision of existing provisions. There is, at this point, no consensus in these latter areas, but an appreciation at least of the underlying issues at stake. back to text
Annex B: Market Access for Non-Agricultural Products
Report by the Chairman of the Negotiating Group on Market Access to the TNC.
1. A Chairman’s commentary of the state of play of the NAMA negotiations was prepared in July 2005 and circulated in document JOB (05)/147 and Add.1 (hereinafter referred to as the “Chairman’s commentary”). The current report, made on my responsibility, reflects the state of play of the NAMA negotiations at this juncture of the Doha Development Agenda, and supplements that commentary.
2. With an eye on the forthcoming Ministerial, Section B of this report attempts to highlight those areas of convergence and divergence on the elements of Annex B of Decision adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004, (hereinafter referred to as the “NAMA framework”), and to provide some guidance as to what may be a possible future course of action with respect to some of the elements. Section C of the report provides some final remarks about possible action by Ministers at Hong Kong.
3. In preparing this report, use has been made of documents provided by Members (as listed in TN/MA/S/16/Rev.2) as well as the discussions in the open-ended sessions of the Group, plurilateral meetings and bilateral contacts, as long as they were not in the nature of confessionals.
B. SUMMARY OF THE STATE OF PLAY
4. Full modalities must have detailed language and, where required, final numbers on all elements of the NAMA framework. Such an agreement should also contain a detailed work plan concerning the process after the establishment of full modalities for the purpose of the submission, verification and annexation of Doha Schedules to a legal instrument. While acknowledging that progress has been made since the adoption of the NAMA framework, the establishment of full modalities is, at present, a difficult prospect given the lack of agreement on a number of elements in the NAMA framework including the formula, paragraph 8 flexibilities and unbound tariffs.
5. Regarding the structure of this section , generally Members recognize that the issues identified in the preceding paragraph are the three elements of the NAMA framework on which solutions are required as a matter of priority, and that there is a need to address them in an interlinked fashion. So, this report will commence with these three subjects before moving on to the other elements of the NAMA framework in the order in which they are presented therein.
Formula (paragraph 4 of the NAMA framework)
6. On the non-linear formula, there has been movement since the adoption of the NAMA framework. There is a more common understanding of the shape of the formula that Members are willing to adopt in these negotiations. In fact, Members have been focusing on a Swiss formula. During the past few months, much time and effort has been spent examining the impact of such a formula from both a defensive and offensive angle. In terms of the specifics of that formula, there are basically two variations on the table: a formula with a limited number of negotiated coefficients and a formula where the value of each country’s coefficient would be based essentially on the tariff average of bound rates of that Member, resulting in multiple coefficients.
7. In order to move beyond a debate on the merits of the two options (and in recognition of the fact that what matters in the final analysis is the level of the coefficient) more recently Members have engaged in a discussion of numbers. Such a debate has been particularly helpful, especially as it demonstrated in a quantifiable manner to what extent the benchmarks established in paragraph 16 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration would be achieved. While it is evident that one of the characteristics of such a formula is to address tariff peaks, tariff escalation and high tariffs (as it brings down high tariffs more than low tariffs), one benchmark which has been the subject of differences of opinion has been that of “less than full reciprocity in reduction commitments” and how it should be measured. Some developing Members are of the view that this means less than average percentage cuts i.e. as translated through a higher coefficient in the formula, than those undertaken by developed country Members. However, the latter have indicated that there are other measurements of less than full reciprocity in reduction commitments including the final rates after the formula cut which in their markets would be less than in developing country markets. Also, in their view, such a measurement of less than full reciprocity in reduction commitments has to take into account not only the additional effort made by them in all areas but also of paragraph 8 flexibilities and the fact that several developing Members and the LDCs would be exempt from formula cuts.
8. Other objectives put forward by developed Members and some developing Members as being part of the Doha NAMA mandate are: harmonization of tariffs between Members; cuts into applied rates; and improvement of South-South trade. However, these objectives have been challenged by other developing Members who believe that, on the contrary, they are not part of that mandate.
9. During the informal discussions, many Members engaged in an exchange on the basis of an approach with two coefficients. In the context of such debates, the coefficients which were mentioned for developed Members fell generally within the range of 5 to 10, and for developing Members within the range of 15 to 30, although some developing Members did propose lower coefficients for developed Members and higher coefficients for developing Members. In addition, a developing country coefficient of 10 was also put forward by some developed Members. However, while this discussion of numbers is a positive development, the inescapable reality is that the range of coefficients is wide and reflects the divergence that exists as to Members’ expectations regarding the contributions that their trading partners should be making.
Flexibilities for developing Members subject to a formula (paragraph 8 of the NAMA framework)
10. A central issue concerning the paragraph 8 flexibilities has been the question of linkage or non-linkage between these flexibilities and the coefficient in the formula. A view was expressed that the flexibilities currently provided for in paragraph 8 are equivalent to 4-5 additional points to the coefficient in the formula, and as a result there was need to take this aspect into account in the developing country coefficient. In response, the argument has been made by many developing Members that those flexibilities are a stand alone provision as reflected in the language of that provision, and should not be linked to the coefficient. Otherwise, this would amount to re-opening the NAMA framework. Some of those Members have also expressed the view that the numbers currently within square brackets are the minimum required for their sensitive tariff lines, and have expressed concern about the conditions attached to the use of such flexibilities, such as the capping of the import value. In response, the point has been made by developed Members that they are not seeking to remove the flexibilities under paragraph 8, and therefore are not re-opening the NAMA framework. They further point out that the numbers in paragraph 8 are within square brackets precisely to reflect the fact that they are not fixed and may need to be adjusted downwards depending on the level of the coefficient. In addition, the need for more transparency and predictability with regard to the tariff lines which would be covered by paragraph 8 flexibilities has been raised by some of these Members. Some developing Members have also advanced the idea that there should be the option for those developing Members not wanting to use paragraph 8 flexibilities to have recourse to a higher coefficient in the formula in the interest of having a balanced outcome.
Unbound Tariff Lines (paragraph 5, indent two of the NAMA framework)
11. There has been progress on the discussion of unbound tariff lines. There is an understanding that full bindings would be a desirable objective of the NAMA negotiations, and a growing sense that unbound tariff lines should be subject to formula cuts provided there is a pragmatic solution for those lines with low applied rates. However, some Members have stressed that their unbound tariff lines with high applied rates are also sensitive and due consideration should be given to those lines. There now appears to be a willingness among several Members to move forward on the basis of a non-linear mark-up approach to establish base rates, and in the case of some of these Members, provided that such an approach yields an equitable result. A non-linear mark-up approach envisages the addition of a certain number of percentage points to the applied rate of the unbound tariff line in order to establish the base rate on which the formula is to be applied. There are two variations of such an approach. In one case, a constant number of percentage points are added to the applied rate in order to establish the base rate. The other variation consists of having a different number of percentage points depending on the level of the applied rate. In other words, the lower the applied rate the higher the mark-up and the higher the applied rate, the lower the mark-up. There is also one proposal on the table of a target average approach where an average is established through the use of a formula, with the unbound tariff lines expected to have final bindings around that average.
12. On a practical level, in their discussions on unbound tariff lines, Members have been referring mostly to the constant mark-up methodology to establish base rates. In the context of such discussions, the number for the mark-up has ranged from 5 to 30 percentage points. Once again the gap between the two figures is wide, but Members have displayed willingness to be flexible.
Other elements of the formula (paragraph 5 of the NAMA framework)
13. Concerning product coverage (indent 1), Members have made good progress to establish a list of non-agricultural products as reflected in document JOB (05)/226/Rev.2. The main issue is whether the outcome of this exercise should be an agreed list or guidelines. It would appear that several Members are in favour of the former outcome, however, some have expressed their preference for the latter. In any event, there are only a limited number of items (17) on which differences exist and Members should try and resolve these differences as quickly as possible.
14. On ad valorem equivalents (indent 5), agreement was reached to convert non ad valorem duties to ad valorem equivalents on the basis of the methodology contained in JOB (05)/166/Rev.1 and to bind them in ad valorem terms. To date, four Members have submitted their preliminary AVE calculations, but there are many more due. Those Members would need to submit this information as quickly as possible so as to allow sufficient time for the multilateral verification process.
15. The subject of how credit is to be given for autonomous liberalization (indent 4) by developing countries provided that the tariff lines are bound on an MFN basis in the WTO since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round has not been discussed in detail since the adoption of the NAMA framework. However, this issue may be more usefully taken up once there is a clearer picture of the formula.
16. All the other elements of the formula such as tariff cuts commencing from bound rates after full implementation of current commitments (indent 2), the base year (indent 3), the nomenclature (indent 6) and reference period for import data (indent 7) have not been discussed any further since July 2004, as they were acceptable to Members as currently reflected in the NAMA framework.
Other flexibilities for developing Members
Members with low binding coverage (paragraph 6 of the NAMA framework)
17. A submission by a group of developing Members, covered under paragraph 6 provisions, was made in June 2005. The paper proposed that Members falling under this paragraph should be encouraged to substantially increase their binding coverage, and bind tariff lines at a level consistent with their individual development, trade, fiscal and strategic needs. A preliminary discussion of this proposal revealed that there were concerns about this proposal re-opening this paragraph by seeking to enhance the flexibilities contained therein. Further discussion of this proposal is required. However, it appears that the issue of concern to some of the paragraph 6 Members is not related so much to the full binding coverage, but rather to the average level at which these Members would be required to bind their tariffs.
Flexibilities for LDCs (paragraph 9 of the NAMA framework)
18. There appears to be a common understanding that LDCs will be the judge of the extent and level of the bindings that they make. At the same time, Members have indicated that this substantial increase of the binding commitments which LDCs are expected to undertake should be done with a good faith effort. In this regard, some yardsticks for this effort were mentioned including the coverage and level of bindings made in the Uruguay Round by other LDCs as well as the more recently acceded LDCs.
Small, vulnerable economies
19. A paper was submitted recently by a group of Members which proposes inter alia lesser and linear cuts to Members identified by a criterion using trade share. While some developing and developed Members were sympathetic to the situation of such Members, concerns were expressed with respect to the threshold used to establish eligibility, and also the treatment envisaged. Other developing Members expressed serious reservations about this proposal which in their view appeared to be creating a new category of developing Members, and to be further diluting the ambition of the NAMA negotiations. The sponsors of this proposal stressed that the small, vulnerable economies had characteristics which warranted special treatment.
20. This is an issue on which there is a serious divergence of opinion among developing Members. This subject will need to be debated further. Discussions may be facilitated through additional statistical analysis.
Sectorals (paragraph 7 of the NAMA framework)
21. It appears that good progress is being made on the sectoral tariff component of the NAMA negotiations. Work which is taking place in an informal Member-driven process has focused on inter alia identification of sectors, product coverage, participation, end rates and adequate provisions of flexibilities for developing countries. Besides the sectorals based on a critical mass approach identified in the Chairman’s commentary — bicycles, chemicals, electronics/electrical equipment, fish, footwear, forest products, gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, raw materials and sporting goods — I understand that work is ongoing on other sectors namely apparel, auto/auto parts and textiles.
22. While this component of the NAMA negotiations is recognized in the NAMA framework to be a key element to delivering on the objectives of paragraph 16 of the Doha NAMA mandate, some developing Members have questioned the rationale of engaging in sectoral negotiations before having the formula finalized. Many have also re-iterated their view that sectorals are voluntary in nature. The point has also been made by other developing Members that sectorals harm smaller developing Members due to an erosion of their preferences. However, the proponents of such initiatives have argued that sectorals are another key element of the NAMA negotiations and an important modality for delivering on the elimination of duties as mandated in paragraph 16 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration. In addition, they have pointed out that some of the sectorals were initiated by developing Members. Moreover, such initiatives require substantive work and were time-consuming to prepare. Concerning preference erosion, this was a cross-cutting issue.
23. Members will need to begin considering time-lines for the finalization of such work, and the submission of the outcomes which will be applied on an MFN basis.
Market Access for LDCs (paragraph 10 of the NAMA framework)
24. In the discussions on this subject, it was noted that the Committee on Trade and Development in Special Session is examining the question of duty-free and quota-free access for non-agricultural products originating from LDCs. Consequently, there is recognition by Members that the discussions in that Committee would most probably have an impact on this element of the NAMA framework, and would need to be factored in at the appropriate time.
Newly Acceded Members (paragraph 11 of the NAMA framework)
25. Members recognize the extensive market access commitments made by the NAMs at the time of their accession. From the discussions held on this subject, it was clarified that those NAMs which are developing Members have access to paragraph 8 flexibilities. As special provisions for tariff reductions for the NAMs, some Members are willing to consider longer implementation periods than those to be provided to developing Members. Other proposals such as a higher coefficient and “grace periods” for the NAMs were also put forward, but a number of Members have objected to these ideas. There has also been a submission by four low-income economies in transition who have requested to be exempt from formula cuts in light of their substantive contributions at the time of their WTO accession and the current difficult state of their economies. While some Members showed sympathy for the situation of these Members, they expressed the view that other solutions may be more appropriate. Some developing Members also expressed concern about this proposal creating a differentiation between Members. Further discussion is required on these issues.
NTBs (paragraph 14 of the NAMA framework)
26. Since adoption of the July 2004 framework, Members have been focusing their attention on non-tariff barriers in recognition of the fact that they are an integral and equally important part of the NAMA negotiations. Some Members claim that they constitute a greater barrier to their exports than tariffs. The Group has spent a considerable amount of time identifying, categorizing and examining the notified NTBs. Members are using bilateral, vertical and horizontal approaches to the NTB negotiations. For example, many Members are raising issues bilaterally with their trading partners. Vertical initiatives are ongoing on automobiles, electronic products and wood products. There have been some proposals of a horizontal nature concerning export taxes, export restrictions and remanufactured products. On export taxes, some Members have expressed the view that such measures fall outside the mandate of the NAMA negotiations. Some Members have also raised in other Negotiating Groups some of the NTBs they had notified initially in the context of the NAMA negotiations. For example, a number of trade facilitation measures are now being examined in the Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation. Some other Members have also indicated their intention to bring issues to the regular WTO Committees. NTBs currently proposed for negotiation in the NAMA Group are contained in document JOB (05)/85/Rev.3.
27. Some proposals have been made of a procedural nature in order to expedite the NTB work, including a suggestion to hold dedicated NTB sessions. Further consideration will need to be given to this and other proposals. Members will also need to begin considering some time-lines for the submission of specific negotiating proposals and NTB outcomes.
Appropriate Studies and Capacity Building Measures (paragraph 15 of the NAMA framework)
28. There has been no discussion as such on this element as it is an ongoing and integral part of the negotiating process. Several papers have been prepared by the Secretariat during the course of the negotiations and capacity building activities by the Secretariat have increased considerably since the launch of the Doha Development Agenda. Such activities will need to continue taking into account the evolution of the negotiations.
Non-reciprocal preferences (paragraph 16 of the NAMA framework)
29. In response to calls by some Members for a better idea of the scope of the problem, the ACP Group circulated an indicative list of products (170 HS 6-digit tariff lines) vulnerable to preference erosion in the EC and US markets as identified through a vulnerability index. Simulations were also submitted by the African Group. Some developing Members expressed concern that the tariff lines listed covered the majority of their exports, or covered critical exports to those markets and were also precisely the lines on which they sought MFN cuts. As a result, for these Members, it was impossible to entertain any solution which related to less than full formula cuts or longer staging. In this regard, concern was expressed by them that non-trade solutions were not being examined. For the proponents of the issue, a trade solution was necessary as this was a trade problem. According to them, their proposal would not undermine trade liberalization because they were seeking to manage such liberalization on a limited number of products.
30. This subject is highly divisive precisely because the interests of the two groups of developing Members are in direct conflict. Additionally, it is a cross-cutting issue which makes it even more sensitive. While, the aforementioned list of products has been helpful in providing a sense of the scope of the problem and may help Members to engage in a more focused discussion, it is clear that pragmatism will need to be shown by all concerned.
Environmental Goods (paragraph 17 of the NAMA framework)
31. Since the adoption of the July framework in 2004, limited discussions have been held on this subject in the Group. However, it is noted that much work under paragraph 31(iii) of the Doha Ministerial Declaration has been undertaken by the Committee on Trade and Environment in Special Session. There would need to be close coordination between the two negotiating groups and a stock taking of the work undertaken in that Committee would be required at the appropriate time by the NAMA Negotiating Group.
Other elements of the NAMA framework
32. On the other elements of the NAMA framework, such as supplementary modalities (paragraph 12), elimination of low duties (paragraph 13) and tariff revenue dependency (paragraph 16) the Group has not had a substantive debate. This has in part to do with the nature of the issue or because more information is required from the proponents. Regarding supplementary modalities, such modalities will become more relevant once the formula has been finalized. On elimination of low duties, this issue may be more suitable to consider once there is a better sense of the likely outcome of the NAMA negotiations. On tariff revenue dependency, more clarity is required from the proponents on the nature and scope of the problem.
C. FINAL REMARKS
33. As may be observed from the above report, Members are far away from achieving full modalities. This is highly troubling. It will take a major effort by all if the objective of concluding the NAMA negotiations by the end of 2006 is to be realized.
34. To this end, I would highlight as a critical objective for Hong Kong a common understanding on the formula, paragraph 8 flexibilities and unbound tariffs. It is crucial that Ministers move decisively on these elements so that the overall outcome is acceptable to all. This will give the necessary impetus to try and fulfil at a date soon thereafter the objective of full modalities for the NAMA negotiations.
35. Specifically, Ministers should:
- Obtain agreement on the final structure of the formula and narrow the range of numbers.
- Resolve their basic differences over paragraph 8 flexibilities.
- Clarify whether the constant mark-up approach is the way forward, and if so, narrow the range of numbers.
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Annex C: Services
1. In order to achieve a progressively higher level of liberalization of trade in services, with appropriate flexibility for individual developing country Members, we agree that Members should strive to ensure that their new and improved commitments adhere to the following objectives:
(a) Mode 1
(i) commitments at existing levels of market access on a non-discriminatory
basis across sectors of interest to Members
(ii) removal of existing requirements of commercial presence
(b) Mode 2
(i) commitments at existing levels of market access on a non-discriminatory
basis across sectors of interest to Members
(ii) commitments on mode 2 where commitments on mode 1 exist
(c) Mode 3
(i) commitments on enhanced levels of foreign equity participation
(ii) removal or substantial reduction of economic needs tests
(iii) commitments allowing greater flexibility on the types of legal entity permitted
(d) Mode 4
(i)new or improved commitments on the categories of Contractual Services Suppliers, Independent Professionals and Others, de-linked from commercial presence, to reflect inter alia:
- removal or substantial reduction of economic needs tests
- indication of prescribed duration of stay and possibility of renewal, if any
(ii) new or improved commitments on the categories of Intra-corporate Transferees and Business Visitors, to reflect inter alia:
- removal or substantial reduction of economic needs tests
- indication of prescribed duration of stay and possibility of renewal, if any
(e) MFN Exemptions
(i) removal or substantial reduction of exemptions from most-favoured-nation
(ii) clarification of remaining MFN exemptions in terms of scope of application and duration
(f) Scheduling of Commitments
ensuring clarity, certainty, comparability and coherence in the scheduling and classification of commitments through adherence to, inter alia , the Scheduling Guidelines pursuant to the Decision of the Council for Trade in Services adopted on 23 March 2001
(ii) ensuring that scheduling of any remaining economic needs tests adheres to the Scheduling Guidelines pursuant to the Decision of the Council for Trade in Services adopted on 23 March 2001.
2. In order to provide guidance for the request-offer negotiations, the sectoral and modal objectives as identified by Members may be considered1.
3. Members shall pursue full and effective implementation of the Modalities for the Special Treatment for Least-Developed Country Members in the Negotiations on Trade in Services (LDC Modalities) adopted by the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services on 3 September 2003, with a view to the beneficial and meaningful integration of LDCs into the multilateral trading system.
4. Members must intensify their efforts to conclude the negotiations on rule-making under GATS Articles X, XIII, and XV in accordance with their respective mandates and timelines:
Members should engage in more focused discussions in connection with the technical and procedural questions relating to the operation and application of any possible emergency safeguard measures in services.
(b) On government procurement, Members should engage in more focused discussions and in this context put greater emphasis on proposals by Members, including on proposals for a possible framework for government procurement.
(c) On subsidies, Members should intensify their efforts to expedite and fulfil the information exchange required for the purpose of such negotiations, and should engage in more focused discussions on proposals by Members, including the development of a possible working definition of subsidies in services.
5. Members shall develop disciplines on domestic regulation pursuant to the mandate under Article VI:4 of the GATS before the end of the current round of negotiations. We call upon Members to develop text for adoption. In so doing, Members shall consider proposals and the illustrative list of possible elements for Article VI:4 disciplines2.
6. Pursuant to the principles and objectives above, we agree to intensify and expedite the request-offer negotiations, which shall remain the main method of negotiation, with a view to securing substantial commitments.
7. In addition to bilateral negotiations, we agree that the request-offer negotiations should also be pursued on a plurilateral basis in accordance with the principles of the GATS and the Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services. The results of such negotiations shall be extended on an MFN basis. These negotiations would be organized in the following manner:
Any Member or group of Members may present requests or collective requests to other Members in any specific sector or mode of supply, identifying their objectives for the negotiations in that sector or mode of supply.
(b) Any Member or group of Members who have made such requests in a specific sector or mode of supply, together with Members to whom such requests have been made, and any other interested Member, shall enter into plurilateral negotiations to consider such requests.
(c) Plurilateral negotiations should be organised with a view to facilitating the participation of all Members, taking into account the limited capacity of smaller delegations to participate in such negotiations.
8. Due consideration shall be given to proposals on trade-related concerns of small economies.
9. Members, in the course of negotiations, shall develop methods for the full and effective implementation of the LDC Modalities, including expeditiously:
Developing appropriate mechanisms for according special priority including to sectors and modes of supply of interest to LDCs in accordance with Article IV:3 of the GATS and paragraph 7 of the LDC Modal ities.
(b) Undertaking commitments, to the extent possible, in such sectors and modes of supply identified, or to be identified, by LDCs that represent priority in their development policies in accordance with paragraphs 6 and 9 of the LDC Modalities.
(c) Assisting LDCs to enable them to identify sectors and modes of supply that represent development priorities.
(d) Providing targeted and effective technical assistance and capacity building for LDCs in accordance with the LDC Modalities, particularly paragraphs 8 and 12.
(e) Developing a reporting mechanism to facilitate the review requirement in paragraph 13 of the LDC Modalities.
10. Targeted technical assistance should be provided through, inter alia, the WTO Secretariat, with a view to enabling developing and least-developed countries to participate effectively in the negotiations. In particular and in accordance with paragraph [...] on Technical Assistance in the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, targeted technical assistance should be given to all developing countries allowing them to fully engage in the final phase of the negotiation. In addition, such assistance should be provided on, inter alia, compiling and analyzing statistical data on trade in services, assessing interests in and gains from services trade, building regulatory capacity, particularly on those services sectors where liberalization is being undertaken by developing countries.
11. Recognizing that an effective timeline is necessary in order to achieve a successful conclusion of the negotiations by [...], we agree that the negotiations shall adhere to the following dates:
Any outstanding initial offers shall be submitted as soon as possible.
(b) Groups of Members presenting plurilateral requests to other Members should submit such requests by [February 2006] or as soon as possible thereafter.
(c) A second round of revised offers shall be submitted by [date].
(d) Final draft schedules of commitments shall be submitted by [date].
(e) Members shall strive to complete the requirements in 9(a) before the date in 11(c).
Review of Progress
12. The Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services shall review progress in the negotiations and monitor the implementation of the Objectives, Approaches and Timelines set out in this Annex.
1. As attached to the Report by the Chairman to the Trade Negotiations Committee on 28 November 2005 , contained in document TN/S/23, as well as any future revisions thereof. back to text
2. As attached to the Report of the Chairman of the Working Party on Domestic Regulation to the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services on 15 November 2005 , contained in document JOB(05)/280. back to text
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Annex D: Rules
I. Anti-Dumping and Subsidies and Countervailing Measures including Fisheries Subsidies
1. acknowledge that the achievement of substantial results on all aspects of the Rules mandate, in the form of amendments to the Anti-Dumping (AD) and Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) Agreements, is important to the development of the rules-based multilateral trading system and to the overall balance of results in the DDA;
2. aim to achieve in the negotiations on Rules further improvements, in particular, to the transparency, predictability and clarity of the relevant disciplines, to the benefit of all Members, including in particular developing and least-developed Members. In this respect, the development dimension of the negotiations must be addressed as an integral part of any outcome;
3. call on Participants, in considering possible clarifications and improvements in the area of anti-dumping, to take into account, inter alia, (a) the need to avoid the unwarranted use of anti-dumping measures, while preserving the basic concepts, principles and effectiveness of the instrument and its objectives where such measures are warranted; and (b) the desirability of limiting the costs and complexity of proceedings for interested parties and the investigating authorities alike, while strengthening the due process, transparency and predictability of such proceedings and measures;
4. consider that negotiations on anti-dumping should, as appropriate, clarify and improve the rules regarding, inter alia, (a) determinations of dumping, injury and causation, and the application of measures; (b) procedures governing the initiation, conduct and completion of antidumping investigations, including with a view to strengthening due process and enhancing transparency; and (c) the level, scope and duration of measures, including duty assessment, interim and new shipper reviews, sunset, and anti-circumvention proceedings;
5. recognize that negotiations on anti-dumping have intensified and deepened, that Participants are showing a high level of constructive engagement, and that the process of rigorous discussion of the issues based on specific textual proposals for amendment to the AD Agreement has been productive and is a necessary step in achieving the substantial results to which Ministers are committed;
6. note that, in the negotiations on anti-dumping, the Negotiating Group on Rules has been discussing in detail proposals on such issues as determinations of injury/causation, the lesser duty rule, public interest, transparency and due process, interim reviews, sunset, duty assessment, circumvention, the use of facts available, limited examination and all others rates, dispute settlement, the definition of dumped imports, affiliated parties, product under consideration, and the initiation and completion of investigations, and that this process of discussing proposals before the Group or yet to be submitted will continue after Hong Kong;
7. note, in respect of subsidies and countervailing measures, that while proposals for amendments to the SCM Agreement have been submitted on a number of issues, including the definition of a subsidy, specificity, prohibited subsidies, serious prejudice, export credits and guarantees, and the allocation of benefit, there is a need to deepen the analysis on the basis of specific textual proposals in order to ensure a balanced outcome in all areas of the Group’s mandate;
8. note the desirability of applying to both anti-dumping and countervailing measures any clarifications and improvements which are relevant and appropriate to both instruments;
9. recall our commitment at Doha to enhancing the mutual supportiveness of trade and environment, note that there is broad agreement that the Group should strengthen disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector, including through the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and over-fishing, and call on Participants promptly to undertake further detailed work to, inter alia, establish the nature and extent of those disciplines, including transparency and enforceability. Appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed Members should be an integral part of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, taking into account the importance of this sector to development priorities, poverty reduction, and livelihood and food security concerns;
10. direct the Group to intensify and accelerate the negotiating process in all areas of its mandate, on the basis of detailed textual proposals before the Group or yet to be submitted, and complete the process of analysing proposals by Participants on the AD and SCM Agreements as soon as possible;
11. mandate the Chairman to prepare, early enough to assure a timely outcome within the context of the 2006 end date for the Doha Development Agenda and taking account of progress in other areas of the negotiations, consolidated texts of the AD and SCM Agreements that shall be the basis for the final stage of the negotiations.
II. Regional Trade Agreements
1. We welcome the progress in negotiations to clarify and improve the WTO’s disciplines and procedures on regional trade agreements (RTAs). Such agreements, which can foster trade liberalization and promote development, have become an important element in the trade policies of virtually all Members. Transparency of RTAs is thus of systemic interest as are disciplines that ensure the complementarity of RTAs with the WTO.
2. We commend the progress in defining the elements of a transparency mechanism for RTAs, aimed, in particular, at improving existing WTO procedures for gathering factual information on RTAs, without prejudice to the rights and obligations of Members. We instruct the Negotiating Group on Rules to intensify its efforts to resolve outstanding issues, with a view to a provisional decision on RTA transparency by [...].
3. We also note with appreciation the work of the Negotiating Group on Rules on WTO’s disciplines governing RTAs, including inter alia on the “substantially all the trade” requirement, the length of RTA transition periods and RTA developmental aspects. We instruct the Group to intensify negotiations, based on text proposals as soon as possible after the Sixth Ministerial Conference, so as to arrive at appropriate outcomes by end 2006.
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Annex E: Trade Facilitation
Report by the Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation to the TNC
1. Since its establishment on 12 October 2004, the Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation met eleven times to carry out work under the mandate contained in Annex D of the Decision adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004. The negotiations are benefiting from the fact that the mandate allows for the central development dimension of the Doha negotiations to be addressed directly through the widely acknowledged benefits of trade facilitation reforms for all WTO Members, the enhancement of trade facilitation capacity in developing countries and LDCs, and provisions on special and differential treatment (S&DT) that provide flexibility. Based on the Group's Work Plan (TN/TF/1), Members contributed to the agreed agenda of the Group, tabling 60 written submissions sponsored by more than 100 delegations. Members appreciate the transparent and inclusive manner in which the negotiations are being conducted.
2. Good progress has been made in all areas covered by the mandate, through both verbal and written contributions by Members. A considerable part of the Negotiating Group’s meetings has been spent on addressing the negotiating objective of improving and clarifying relevant aspects of GATT Articles V, VIII and X, on which about 40 written submissions1 have been tabled by Members representing the full spectrum of the WTO’s Membership. Through discussions on these submissions and related questions and answers (JOB(05)/222), Members have advanced their understanding of the measures in question and are working towards common ground on many aspects of this part of the negotiating mandate. Many of these submissions also covered the negotiating objective of enhancing technical assistance and support for capacity building on trade facilitation, as well as the practical application of the principle of S&DT. The Group also discussed other valuable submissions dedicated to these issues2. Advances have also been made on the objective of arriving at provisions for effective cooperation between customs or any other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues, where two written proposals have been discussed3. Members have also made valuable contributions on the identification of trade facilitation needs and priorities, development aspects, cost implications and inter-agency cooperation4.
3. Valuable input has been provided by a number of Members in the form of national experience papers5 describing national trade facilitation reform processes. In appreciation of the value to developing countries and LDCs of this aspect of the negotiations, the Negotiating Group recommends that Members be encouraged to continue this information sharing exercise.
4. Building on the progress made in the negotiations so far, and with a view to developing a set of multilateral commitments on all elements of the mandate, the Negotiating Group recommends that it continue to intensify its negotiations on the basis of Members’ proposals, as reflected currently in document TN/TF/W/43/Rev.4, and any new proposals to be presented. Without prejudice to individual Member’s positions on individual proposals, a list of (I) proposed measures to improve and clarify GATT Articles V, VIII and X; (II) proposed provisions for effective cooperation between customs and other authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance; and, (III) cross-cutting submissions; is provided below to facilitate further negotiations. In carrying out this work and in tabling further proposals, Members should be mindful of the overall deadline for finishing the negotiations and the resulting need to move into focussed drafting mode early enough after the Sixth Ministerial Conference so as to allow for a timely conclusion of text-based negotiations on all aspects of the mandate.
5. Work needs to continue and broaden on the process of identifying individual Member’s trade facilitation needs and priorities, and the cost implications of possible measures. The Negotiating Group recommends that relevant international organizations be invited to continue to assist Members in this process, recognizing the important contributions being made by them already, and be encouraged to continue and intensify their work more generally in support of the negotiations.
6. In light of the vital importance of technical assistance and capacity building to allow developing countries and LDCs to fully participate in and benefit from the negotiations, the Negotiating Group recommends that the commitments in Annex D’s mandate in this area be reaffirmed, reinforced and made operational in a timely manner. To bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion, special attention needs to be paid to support for technical assistance and capacity building that will allow developing counties and LDCs to participate effectively in the negotiations, and to technical assistance and capacity building to implement the results of the negotiations that is precise, effective and operational, and reflects the trade facilitation needs and priorities of developing countries and LDCs. Recognizing the valuable assistance already being provided in this area, the Negotiating Group recommends that Members, in particular developed ones, continue to intensify their support in a comprehensive manner and on a long-term and sustainable basis, backed by secure funding.
7. The Negotiating Group also recommends that it deepen and intensify its negotiations on the issue of S&DT, with a view to arriving at S&DT provisions that are precise, effective and operational and that allow for necessary flexibility in implementing the results of the negotiations. Reaffirming the linkages among the elements of Annex D, the Negotiating Group recommends that further negotiations on S&DT build on input presented by Members in the context of measures related to GATT Articles V, VIII and X and in their proposals of a cross-cutting nature on S&DT.
I. PROPOSED MEASURES TO IMPROVE AND CLARIFY GATT ARTICLES V, VIII AND X
A. PUBLICATION AND AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION
Publication of Trade Regulations
Publication of Penalty Provisions
- Internet Publication
(a) of elements set out in Article X of GATT 1994
(b) of specified information setting forth procedural sequence and other requirements for importing goods
Notification of Trade Regulations
Establishment of Enquiry Points/SNFP/Information Centres
- Other Measures to Enhance the Availability of Information
B. TIME PERIODS BETWEEN PUBLICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION
- Interval between Publication and Entry into Force
C. CONSULTATION AND COMMENTS ON NEW AND AMENDED RULES
Prior Consultation and Commenting on New and Amended Rules
- Information on Policy Objectives Sought
D. ADVANCE RULINGS
- Provision of Advance Rulings
E. APPEAL PROCEDURES
Right of Appeal
- Release of Goods in Event of Appeal
F. OTHER MEASURES TO ENHANCE IMPARTIALITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION
Uniform Administration of Trade Regulations
Maintenance and Reinforcement of Integrity and Ethical Conduct Among
(a) Establishment of a Code of Conduct
(b) Computerized System to Reduce/Eliminate Discretion
(c) System of Penalties
(d) Technical Assistance to Create/Build up Capacities to Prevent and Control Customs Offences
(e) Appointment of Staff for Education and Training
(f) Coordination and Control Mechanisms
G. FEES AND CHARGES CONNECTED WITH IMPORTATION AND EXPORTATION
General Disciplines on Fees and Charges Imposed on or in Connection with
Importation and Exportation
(a) Specific Parameters for Fees/Charges
(b) Publication/Notification of Fees/Charges
(c) Prohibition of Collection of Unpublished Fees and Charges
(d) Periodic Review of Fees/Charges
(e) Automated Payment
- Reduction/Minimization of the Number and Diversity of Fees/Charges
H. FORMALITIES CONNECTED WITH IMPORTATION AND EXPORTATION
Disciplines on Formalities/Procedures and Data/Documentation Requirements
Connected with Importation and Exportation
(b) Periodic Review of Formalities and Requirements
(c) Reduction/Limitation of Formalities and Documentation Requirements
(d) Use of International Standards
(e) Uniform Customs Code
(f) Acceptance of Commercially Available Information and of Copies
(h) Single Window/One-time Submission
(i) Elimination of Pre-Shipment Inspection
(j) Phasing out Mandatory Use of Customs Brokers
- Prohibition of Consular Transaction Requirement
J. BORDER AGENCY COOPERATION
- Coordination of Activities and Requirement of all Border Agencies
K. RELEASE AND CLEARANCE OF GOODS
Expedited/Simplified Release and Clearance of Goods
(a) Pre-arrival Clearance
(b) Expedited Procedures for Express Shipments
(c) Risk Management /Analysis, Authorized Traders
(d) Post-Clearance Audit
(e) Separating Release from Clearance Procedures
(f) Other Measures to Simplify Customs Release and Clearance
- Establishment and Publication of Average Release and Clearance Times
L. TARIFF CLASSIFICATION
- Objective Criteria for Tariff Classification
M. MATTERS RELATED TO GOODS TRANSIT
Disciplines on Fees and Charges
(a) Publication of Fees and Charges and Prohibition of Unpublished ones
(b) Periodic Review of Fees and Charges
(c) More effective Disciplines on Charges for Transit
(d) Periodic Exchange Between Neighbouring Authorities
Disciplines on Transit Formalities and Documentation Requirements
(a) Periodic Review
(d) Promotion of Regional Transit Arrangements
(e) Simplified and Preferential Clearance for Certain Goods
(f) Limitation of Inspections and Controls
(h) Cooperation and Coordination on Document Requirements
(j) Bonded Transport Regime/Guarantees
Improved Coordination and Cooperation
(a) Amongst Authorities
(b) Between Authorities and the Private Sector
- Operationalization and Clarification of Terms
II. PROPOSED PROVISIONS FOR EFFECTIVE COOPERATION BETWEEN CUSTOMS AND OTHER AUTHORITIES ON TRADE FACILITATION AND CUSTOMS COMPLIANCE
- Multilateral Mechanism for the Exchange and Handling of Information
III. CROSS-CUTTING SUBMISSIONS
1. Needs and Priorities Identification
General tool to assess needs and priorities and current levels of trade facilitation
- Take result of assessment as one basis for establishing trade facilitation rules, arranging S&D treatment and providing technical assistance and capacity building support
2. Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
- Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in the Course of the Negotiations
Identification of Needs and Priorities
Compilation of Needs and Priorities of Individual Members
- Support for Clarification and Educative Process Including Training
- Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Beyond the Negotiations Phase
Implementation of the Outcome
- Coordination Mechanisms for Implementing Needs and Priorities as well as Commitments
Identification of Trade Facilitation Needs and Priorities of Members
Links and Inter-relationship between the Elements of Annex D
Inventory of Trade Facilitation Measures
Assessment of the Current Situation
- Timing and Sequencing of Measures
1. TN/TF/W/6-W/15, W/17-W/26, W/28, W/30-W32, W/34-36, W/38-W/40, W/42, W/44-W/49, W/53, W/55, W/58, W/60-W/62, W/64-W/67, W/69, W/70. back to text
2. TN/TF/W/33, W/41, W/56, W/63, W/73 and W/74. back to text
3. TN/TF/W/57 and W/68. back to text
4. TN/TF/W/29, W/33, W/41, W/62 and W/63. back to text
5. TN/TF/W/48, W/50 , W/53, W/55, W/58, W/60, W/61, W/65, W/69 and W/75. back to text
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Annex F: Special and Differential Treatment
LDC Agreement-specific Proposals
23) Understanding in Respect of Waivers of Obligations under the GATT 1994
(i) The General Council agrees that requests for waivers by least-developed country Members under Article IX of the WTO Agreement and the Understanding in respect of Waivers of Obligations under the GATT 1994 [shall] [should] be given positive consideration and a decision taken within 60 days.
(ii) When considering requests for waivers by other Members exclusively in favour of least-developed country Members, the General Council agrees that a decision [shall] [should] be taken within 60 days, or in exceptional circumstances as expeditiously as possible thereafter [,taking into account the interests of other developing Members so as not to affect them].
36) Decision on Measures in Favour of Least-Developed Countries
The General Council agrees that Developed Country Members shall, and Developing Country Members in a position to do so should:
(a) Provide bound duty free and quota free market access for all products originating from all LDCs by year [x] in a manner that ensures stability, security and predictability.
(b) Ensure that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from LDCs are simple and transparent, and contribute to facilitating market access.
In this context these Members shall notify once every year to the General Council, which shall review the steps taken to provide duty-free and quota-free market access to the LDCs.
The General Council urges all donors and relevant international institutions to increase financial and technical support aimed at diversification of LDC economies, while providing additional financial and technical assistance through appropriate delivery mechanisms to meet their implementation obligations, including fulfilling SPS and TBT requirements, and to assist them in managing their adjustment processes.
The General Council agrees that developed country Members, and developing country Members declaring themselves in a position to do so, shall build on the commitments made at Doha and in the General Council decision of 1 August 2004 to:
(a) Provide duty free and quota free market access for products originating from LDCs in a manner that ensures stability, security and predictability, consistent with the Enabling Clause.
(b) Ensure that preferential rules of origin applicable to imports from LDCs are simple and transparent, and contribute to facilitating market access.
In this context these Members shall notify once every year to the General Council, which shall review the steps taken to provide duty-free and quota-free market access to the LDCs.
The General Council urges all donors and relevant international institutions to increase financial and technical support aimed at diversification of LDC economies, while providing additional financial and technical assistance through appropriate delivery mechanisms to meet their implementation obligations, including fulfilling SPS and TBT requirements, and to assist them in managing their adjustment processes resulting from MFN liberalisation.
The General Council agrees that developed country Members shall and developing country Members in a position to do so should
(a) Provide duty free and quota free market access for all products originating from all LDCs by [year XX] in a manner that ensures stability and predictability.
(b) Notwithstanding any measure necessary to prevent circumvention, ensure that rules of origin are transparent and simple, so as to improve the utilisation of preference schemes.
Members facing difficulties to provide duty free and quota free market access according to (a) shall provide duty free and quota free market access for [99%] of products originating from LDCs, defined at the tariff line level, by [year XX]. In addition, these Members shall take steps to progressively achieve compliance with the obligations set out under (a) within an additional period of [YY] years.
With the entering into force of the obligations, any Members shall have the possibility to designate those products for which they may take recourse to the provisions of Article 5 in the Agreement on Agriculture. Any additional duty imposed shall not exceed the level of duties for the same product in any other preferential market access schemes.
Members shall notify the General Council at least once every year on measures taken in this regard.
Furthermore, the General Council urges all donors and relevant international institutions to increase financial and technical support aimed at diversification of LDC economies while providing financial and technical assistance through appropriate delivery mechanisms to meet their implementation obligations, including fulfilling SPS and TBT requirements, and to assist them in managing their adjustment processes.
38) Decision on Measures in Favour of Least-Developed Countries
It is reaffirmed that least-developed country Members will only be required to undertake commitments and concessions to the extent consistent with their individual development, financial or trade needs, or their administrative and institutional capacities.
Within the context of coherence arrangements with other international institutions, the General Council urges donors, multilateral agencies and international financial institutions to coordinate their work to ensure that LDCs are not subjected to conditionalities on loans, grants and official development assistance that are inconsistent with their rights and obligations under the WTO Agreements.
84) Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures
LDCs shall be allowed to maintain on a temporary basis existing measures that deviate from their obligations under the TRIMs Agreement. For this purpose, LDCs shall notify the CTG of such measures within one year, starting [x]. LDCs will be allowed to maintain these existing measures until the end of a new transition period, lasting [x] years. This transition period may be extended by the CTG under the existing procedures set-out in the TRIMs Agreement, taking into account the individual financial, trade, and development needs of the Member in question [and possible effects on other Members].
LDCs shall also be allowed to introduce new measures that deviate from their obligations under the TRIMs Agreement. These new TRIMs shall be notified to the CTG no later than [x] months [after] [prior to] their adoption. The CTG [shall] [should] give positive consideration to such [notifications] [requests], taking into account the individual financial, trade, and development needs of the Member in question [and possible effects on other Members], and take a decision within [x] months. The duration of these measures will not exceed [x] years, renewable subject to review and decision by the CTG.
Any measures incompatible with the TRIMs Agreement and adopted under this decision shall be phased out by year [x].
88) Decision on Measures in Favour of Least-Developed Countries–Paragraph 1
Least-developed country Members, whilst reaffirming their commitment to the fundamental principles of the WTO and relevant provisions of GATT 1994 shall, only be required to comply with obligations or commitments to the extent consistent with their individual development, financial or trade needs, or their administrative and institutional capabilities.
The General Council agrees that the implementation by LDCs of their obligations or commitments will require adequate further technical and financial support directly related to the nature and scope of such obligations or commitments.
Members affirm their commitment to afford special consideration to those LDCs that, while endeavouring to comply with the fundamental principles and obligations of the WTO, experience difficulties with a specific obligation due to financial or institutional capacity constraints in a circumstance. Should a least-developed country Member find that it is not in a position to comply with an obligation or commitment on these grounds, it should bring the matter to the attention of the General Council for examination and appropriate action.
The General Council agrees that the implementation by LDCs of any obligations or commitments may require further technical and financial support directly related to the nature and scope of such obligations or commitments and urges relevant donor agencies to coordinate their efforts in the delivery of such support.