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Goods Council supports waiver for EC's trade scheme
18
Jul '06
World Trade Organization (WTO) announces that the Council for Trade in Goods, on 12 July 2006, approved the European Communities' request for a waiver on its trade preference scheme for the Western Balkans and agreed to forward it to the General Council for adoption.

The draft decision sent to the General Council noted the “exceptional situation” in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

It added the EC's duty-free and preferential treatment for their products was intended “to promote economic expansion and recovery” and not to create trade barriers to other WTO members.

The Council also approved the EC's request for the extension of the deadline for its ongoing negotiations with other members in relation to the EC's enlargement. The new deadline is 1 February 2007, with the notification by members negotiating with the EC of their intention to withdraw substantially equivalent concessions by no later than 2 January 2007.

The Council agreed to forward the Free Trade Agreement between El Salvador and Mexico to the Committee on Regional Trade Agreements for examination. This FTA was signed on 29 June 2000 and entered into force on 15 March 2001.

Canada requested a five-year extension of the waiver for its Caribbean Initiative (CARIBCAN), which is set to expire at the end of the year. Under this programme, Canada grants duty-free treatment to imports from the following: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.


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