Council for Trade in Goods approves waiver for Cape Verde
The Council for Trade in Goods, on 29 June 2009, approved a request by Cape Verde for a one-year delay in the implementation of its WTO accession commitments.
The draft decision, which will be forwarded to the General Council for adoption, noted that “Cape Verde's priorities relating to macroeconomic stability, among others, which aim to counter the financial crisis and its consequences for the country's economy, did not allow the first stage of implementation to be carried out on 1 January 2009, as intended.”
Cape Verde, which joined the WTO in July 2008, can now implement the first stage of its concessions and commitments listed in its accession schedule on 1 January 2010, instead of 1 January 2009.
The Council approved requests by the European Communities to extend by a further six months each of the periods for compensation negotiations related to its enlargements in 2004 and 2007, respectively.
The WTO provides that members of a customs union must provide compensation to other WTO members affected by the new tariff structure. If agreement is not found, the affected WTO member may withdraw substantially equivalent tariff concessions six months after the customs union's new tariffs come into effect.
The period for the withdrawal of substantially equivalent concessions related to the EC enlargement of 19 January 2004 to 25 members was further extended until 1 February 2010.
The relevant period related to the EC enlargement on 1 January 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania) was extended until 1 January 2010.
Regarding the 2004 EC enlargement, Colombia and Ecuador expressed concern that they have not been compensated for the loss of banana exports to the acceding EC member states.
Turkey, reiterating the importance of the sector to many members, proposed the holding of a WTO workshop on trade in textiles and clothing. It recalled that its paper on various studies about the sector had noted the reduction in textile exports and higher unemployment in a number of countries since the end of the textile quota agreements in 2005.
Jordan, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, Mauritius and Morocco supported Turkey's position, and requested that this item remain on the agenda of the Council.
China, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Hong Kong, China reiterated that the textiles sector should not be singled out as it is now under regular trade rules. They said that no consensus had been reached in the Council on various proposals from Turkey during the past five years, and called for the removal of this item from the Council's agenda.
The chair, Amb. Elin Østebø Johansen (Norway), said it was very clear that there still was no agreement among members on this issue. She noted the interest by several members on this issue but considered that five years of inconclusive discussion was not a productive use of the Council's time.
The chair said that as agreed at the previous meeting, this agenda item would now be suspended, but that any delegation could raise the matter at any time. She added that she was available, at members' requests, to hold consultations on Turkey's proposal for the holding of a workshop on textiles and clothing.
World Trade Organization