Implementation Issues

   The term ‘Implementation issues and concerns’ is used to refer to issues pertaining to the implementation of the commitments made in the Uruguay round and recorded in existing WTO agreements. The developing countries argue that the Uruguay Round agreements have not delivered the economic benefits that had been expected. Developing country members believe that agreements on subsidies, agriculture, intellectual property protection, anti-dumping, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade-related investment measures do not adequately reflect the interests and concerns of developing countries.

   The Doha Ministerial 2001

   The November 2001 declaration of the Fourth Ministerial Conference held in Doha, Qatar, provides the mandate for negotiations on issues concerning the implementation of the present agreements. At Doha some were decided as contained in implementation-related issues and concerns decision of 14 November 2001. (WT/MIN(01)/17). According to Para 13 of this decision outstanding implementation issues are to be addressed in accordance with paragraph 12 of the Ministerial Declaration ( WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1 ) . In paragraph 12 of the Ministerial Declaration, ministers underscored that they had taken a decision on the issues in a separate ministerial document (the 14 November 2001 decision on “Implementation-Related Issues and Concerns”) and pointed out that “negotiations on outstanding implementation issues shall be an integral part of the Work Programme” in the coming years.

 

   Remaining outstanding implementation issues

   The remaining issues are following a two-track approach & dealt with as per mandate if one exists otherwise, relevant WTO bodies report on their progress to TNC.

   The remaining issues relate to:

  • Art. 15 of Agree­ment on Anti-Dumping. Consideration in using Anti-dumping measures against developing countries; Exercise particular consideration before using antidumping rem­edies on developing countries. No decision taken; within Rules Group Ne­gotiations
  • Art. 18.b of GATT. Use of import restrictions as a BOP measure; Members using import restric­tions as a BOP measure to man­age instabilities in their terms of trade. No decision taken.
  • Art.18.a and 18.c of GATT. Ensure that Article on Govern­mental Assistance to Economic Development allows developing countries to implement eco­nomic development programmes designed to raise general stand­ard of living. On 18 August 2003, CTD-SS agreed to in­struct the Council on Trade in Goods to de­velop and adopt proce­dures for recourse to Ar­ticle 18.c. No further progress.
  • Issue of declared value of imports in Customs valuation ; Address the “legitimate con­cerns” of customs administra­tions on the accuracy of the de­clared value of import.
  • Para. 2(d) of Art.13, GATT 1994 , meaning of substantial interest in Art 13 in GATT; Consider meaning of the phrase “substantial interest” in determin­ing how a quota should be allo­cated among countries. No decision taken.
  • Harmonization programme in rules of origin ; Proposal urges Committee on Rules of Origin to complete the harmonization work programme. No decision taken.
  • Art. 9.1 of the Agreement on Safe­guards . Proposal asks to consider changing de minimis levels so safeguard measures are not applied to imports from developing countries which indi­vidually account for less than 7 percent of total imports and 15 percent collectively. No decision taken.
  • SPS (settled2004/transparent notification) , When the introduction of SPS measures may have a significant effect on trade for products of interest to developing countries Members shall notify WTO and inform concerned Member 27-28 October 2004 SPS Committee adopted procedure for transparent notifica­tion of SPS measures and bilateral consulting if requested
  • Review countervailing provisions in Subsidies , Subsidies Committee is to con­tinue its review of the Agreement’s provisions on countervailing duty investigations. No decision taken.
  • TRIMs (Trade-Related Investment Measures) Agreement comes in the way of the pursuit of developmental objectives by the developing countries, as it prohibits them from prescribing any specific percentages of indigenization for the foreign investments. Provisions shall be included in the Agreement to provide devel­oping countries the necessary flexibility to implement develop­ment policies. No decision taken.
  • TRIPS (Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights) provides a higher level of protection for the Geographical Indications (GIs) for the wines and spirits while items of interest to developing countries like Basmati rice or Darjeeling tea do not enjoy such protection under TRIPS. No decision taken.
  • Though the Convention on Bio-Diversity (CBD), specifically recognizes the rights of the sovereign countries on their bio- resources, TRIPS does not recognize this and does not provide any international recognition to the various sui generis systems for the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) including by way of prior informed consent and the sharing of benefits if the traditional knowledge has been used by the Patent applicants or others. No decision taken.

 

   Current position

   No progress has been made on any of the issues apart from SPS as stated above. Three issues are attracting attention. GIs, CBD and TRIMS. One of the major stumbling blocks in GIs pertains to the consultations on the extension of the higher protection for wines and spirits to products other than wines and spirits.  Proponents which include EU, Switzerland, Turkey, Kenya and some countries known as Friends of GIs demand that the higher level of protection that wines and spirits currently enjoy under Article 23 of the TRIPS Agreement be also extended to other GI products, which are currently protected at the “regular” level under Article 22 of TRIPS.  Australia, the US and Latin American countries oppose extension of higher level of protection for other products. In case of TRIMs agreement, India and Brazil argue that provisions be included in the agreement to allow developing countries flexibility to implement development policies.

 

         Pakistan’s position

   Pakistan stands for early settlement of all remaining implementation issues in favour of developing countries.  Pakistan shares the views of developing countries that higher level of protection should be available for products other than wines and spirits. Pakistan also supports Brazil and India that the TRIMs Agreement should be revised in order to provide developing countries needed flexibility to implement development policies.