General Council: Proposed agenda
Mexico ratifies Trade Facilitation Agreement
Mexico has ratified the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in the latest signal of support for the landmark global deal. Mexico’s WTO ambassador Fernando De Mateo presented his country’s instrument of ratification to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 26 July.
Trade Policy Review: Singapore
The seventh review of the trade policies and practices of Singapore takes place on 26 and 28 July 2016. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Singapore.
Report urges WTO members to resist protectionism and “get trade moving again”
WTO members need to avoid putting up barriers and “get trade moving again” in order to address slow global economic growth, according to the Director-General’s mid-year report on trade-related developments issued on 25 July. The Trade Monitoring Report concludes that the “best safeguard we have against protectionism is a strong multilateral trading system”.
Trade Policy Review Body meeting – trade monitoring
Advanced Trade Policy Course concludes in Geneva
Twenty-eight participants from around the world attended the two-month Advanced Trade Policy Course from 23 May to 15 July 2016 at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. The course, which represents the highest level of training (level 3) in the WTO’s progressive learning framework, was closed by the patron, H.E. Mr Junichi Ihara, Permanent Representative of Japan to the WTO, and Ms Bridget Chilala, Director of the WTO’s Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation.
DG Azevêdo urges WTO members to bring forward proposals for future negotiations
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo convened a meeting of all WTO members today (25 July) to discuss the potential issues which members would like to take forward in the organization’s future negotiating work, including in the context of the WTO’s 11th Ministerial Conference in 2017. Members took the opportunity to update each other on the consultations that have been taking place in recent weeks, and the Director-General reported on the discussions he has held with WTO members in Geneva and at ministerial level, through bilateral visits and at ministerial meetings, including UNCTAD 14 in Kenya, the G20 trade ministers in China, and APEC trade ministers in Peru.
Azerbaijan committed to “intensifying” WTO accession talks
Azerbaijan told WTO members at an accessions working party meeting on 22 July 2016 that “we will enact all possible measures to intensify our accession process”. The chair of the working party, Ambassador Walter Werner (Germany), commended Azerbaijan for its progress in bringing its trade regime in compliance with WTO rules but urged members and Azerbaijan to “accelerate” the pace of negotiations.
Jordan launches safeguard investigation on aluminium bars, rods and profiles
On 22 July 2016, Jordan notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it will initiate on 24 July 2016 a safeguard investigation on aluminium bars, rods and profiles.
DG Azevêdo: Trade remains vital for China’s economic development
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo visited Beijing, China, on 22 July to attend the “1+6” Round Table Dialogue hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, together with other heads of major international economic organizations and financial institutions. They discussed the state of play in the global economy, the current challenges China faces in continuing on its path of growth and development, and how trade and the WTO can continue to support these efforts.
Korea offers USD 350,000 to help developing countries take part in trade negotiations
The Republic of Korea has donated USD 350,000 (over CHF 340,000) to help developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) participate effectively in WTO multilateral trade negotiations in 2016. This contribution to the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda Global Trust Fund (DDAGTF) will finance training workshops for government officials both in Geneva and elsewhere. The funding will also help these members meet their WTO obligations and fully benefit from WTO membership.
WTO improves visibility of government procurement information
The WTO has launched an enhanced version of its e-GPA web portal (version 2.0). This enhanced portal provides a single point of access to the market access information under the WTO’s revised Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), together with related information that the GPA parties are committed to provide. The portal serves as a market access information tool for governments, businesses and other interested parties.
Chinese Taipei donates CHF 35,000 for implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement
The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei) has donated nearly CHF 35,000 in 2016 to help the WTO’s developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) reap the full benefits of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. This is Chinese Taipei’s first contribution to the Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF), which aims to help developing countries implement the agreement.
Post-accession forum discusses benefits of WTO membership for Liberia and Afghanistan
A Post-Accession Forum for Afghanistan and Liberia took place on the margins of UNCTAD 14 on 19 July in Nairobi, Kenya. The Forum, co-organized by the WTO and UNCTAD, congratulated the two least-developed countries on completing their WTO accession negotiations and looked ahead to how the two countries would benefit from WTO membership.
Items proposed for consideration at the next meeting of Dispute Settlement Body
The WTO Secretariat has circulated a meeting notice and list of items proposed for the next meeting, on 21 July 2016, of the Dispute Settlement Body, which consists of all WTO members and oversees legal disputes among them. The meeting notice is circulated in the form of a document officially called an “airgram”.
WTO launches new annual statistical publication
The WTO launched a new annual statistical publication — the “World Trade Statistical Review” — on 21 July. This new publication provides insights into how world trade has evolved in recent years by analysing the latest trade statistics within an economic context.
Trade Policy Review: China
The sixth review of the trade policies and practices of China takes place on 20 and 22 July 2016. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of China.
European Union files dispute against China over duties on export of raw materials
On 19 July 2016 the European Union notified the WTO Secretariat of a request for consultations with China over duties and other measures concerning the exportation of certain raw materials. In its request, the EU alleges that the duties, quotas and other restrictions are inconsistent with China’s Protocol of Accession and other WTO provisions. The EU request follows a similar one filed by the United States on 13 July.
US request for retaliation against India in farm goods dispute referred to arbitration
The United States’ request for authorization to suspend concessions or other obligations with respect to India in a dispute over certain farm products was referred to arbitration at a special meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 19 July.
Items proposed for consideration at the next meeting of Dispute Settlement Body
The WTO Secretariat has circulated a meeting notice and list of items proposed for the next meeting, on 19 July 2016, of the Dispute Settlement Body, which consists of all WTO members and oversees legal disputes among them. The meeting notice is circulated in the form of a document officially called an “airgram”.
DG Azevêdo at UNCTAD 14: ‘International organisations must help drive change’
Director-General Roberto Azevêdo visited Nairobi, Kenya, on 18 July to take part in the 14th meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He conducted numerous meetings with ministers and others, took part in the World Leaders Summit and Heads of Agency Roundtable, and participated in a ministerial panel session entitled ‘Where next for the Multilateral Trading System’.
Viet Nam launches safeguard investigation on pre-painted galvanized steel sheet and strip
On 18 July 2016, Viet Nam notified the WTO’s Committee on Safeguards that it initiated on 6 July 2016 a safeguard investigation on pre-painted galvanized steel sheet and strip.
Honduras ratifies Trade Facilitation Agreement
Honduras has ratified the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), becoming the fifth Central American nation to accept the new accord. Honduras’ Vice-Minister Melvin Redondo presented his country’s instrument of ratification to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 14 July.
Over 100 sessions to be held at 2016 Public Forum
A total of 102 sessions will take place at the 2016 WTO Public Forum to be held from 27 to 29 September at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva. Entitled “Inclusive Trade”, the Forum will focus on how to ensure that trade benefits everyone, with a particular emphasis on enabling women, innovative start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of the opportunities provided by trade.
DG Azevêdo welcomes Liberia as 163rd WTO member
Liberia joined the WTO today (14 July 2016) as its 163rd member, after nearly 10 years of negotiating its accession terms with WTO members. Liberia is the eighth least-developed country (LDC) to accede to the WTO through negotiations.
United States initiates WTO dispute proceedings against Chinese export duties on raw materials
The United States notified the WTO Secretariat on 13 July that it has initiated WTO dispute proceedings against China regarding export duties allegedly imposed on certain raw materials.
Trade Policy Review: Tunisia
The third review of the trade policies and practices of Tunisia takes place on 13 and 15 July 2016. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Tunisia.