WTO’s Committee on Trade and Development, recently approved a proposal by Brazil, China, India and the United States to establish a transparency mechanism for preferential trade arrangements. The proposal is to be transmitted to the General Council for adoption.
The transparency mechanism lays out a procedure for the consideration of PTAs in the CTD. To assist the Committee in its consideration of each PTA, the notifying member is to submit detailed information, and the WTO Secretariat is to prepare a factual presentation of the PTA.
Work in the Committee on this mechanism stemmed from a General Council decision in December 2006, which invited the CTD to consider transparency for PTAs.
Three developing countries—India, Brazil and China—reported on their programmes to provide duty-free, quota-free market access to least-developed countries (LDCs).
India said that 18 LDCs now benefit from it Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme for LDCs. It added that it will be organizing a workshop on this scheme for LDCs.
China said that since 1 July 2010, it had been granting zero-tariff treatment on 4,762 tariff lines for products exported by 33 LDCs. It would continue to expand the coverage of this programme.
Brazil said that an inter-ministerial working group has been established to discuss the legal and procedures for its scheme, which it said would eventually cover 100 per cent of tariff lines.
The European Union said that it was working to simplify the rules of origin for its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme, which would particularly benefit LDCs.
Zambia thanked delegations that announced measures for LDCs, and urged all members to implement the Hong Kong Ministerial Decision for duty-free, quota-free treatment for LDCs.
The Committee discussed notifications of the following trade agreements between developing countries: Agreement on Trade in Goods between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Korea, Agreement on Trade in Goods between India and Korea, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Customs Union.