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  • News | WTO | Trade policy review - Tajikistan 2021 - Concluding Remarks by the Chairperson

    The first Trade Policy Review of Tajikistan has offered us a good opportunity to deepen our understanding of recent developments in, and challenges to, its trade, economic, and investment policies. Since its accession in 2013, Tajikistan has implemented several initiatives to integrate into the multilateral trading system, and such efforts have been greatly appreciated by Members. The 156 questions submitted by 13 Members underlined their interest in Tajikistan's trade and investment policies and practices.I would like to thank the delegation of Tajikistan, led by H.E. Mr Zavqizoda Zavqi Amin, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, for its constructive engagement throughout this Review. I would also like to thank the discussant, H.E. Ambassador Taeho Lee of the Republic of Korea for his insightful remarks, and all the delegations that took the floor for their valuable contributions to this Review.Tajikistan achieved a robust annual GDP growth rate at 6.7% over the review period from 2013 to 2020, with growth slowing to 4.5% in 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Members acknowledged Tajikistan's efforts to minimize the negative impacts of the pandemic on the economy through the Anti-crisis Action Plan launched in March 2020, which offers tax and credit relief to vulnerable groups and domestic entrepreneurs. They commended Tajikistan's strong economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with real GDP growth of 8.7% in the first half of 2021, almost doubling the growth rate in 2020.Members also noted that Tajikistan's high dependency on commodity exports and remittances makes the economy vulnerable to external shocks. They encouraged Tajikistan to address infrastructure bottlenecks and obstacles in its financial system in order to attract more private investment, diversify and upgrade exports, and create non-farm employment opportunities. It was noted that Tajikistan's export basket has been diversifying, from one being dominated by aluminium and cotton, to one that includes more textiles, cement and mineral products.Tajikistan was praised for various reform initiatives to streamline business registration procedures, strengthen the land tenure framework, and ease the burden of licensing and inspection. Many Members urged Tajikistan to help clarify FDIspecific legislation, ease the taxation regime for SMEs, and address discretionary application of licensing, tax, and price regulations. Some Members pointed out that increased FDI inflows into sectors beyond energy and mining could help reinforce the growth of SMEs, as well as increase the private sector's participation in the economy.Members commended Tajikistan on maintaining a fairly open trade and investment regime, as well as for its unwavering support of the multilateral trading system. Tajikistan signed the Information Technology Agreement upon accession and became an observer to the Committee on Government Procurement in 2014.

  • News | WTO | 2021 News items - DDG Ellard: WTO is taking action to make trade work for women

    I am delighted to be part of this event launching a very important project of the WTO Chairs Programme, which explores the intersections between trade, employment, and decent work for women.The global economy is not gender-neutral. Evidence shows that women represent 38% of the global workforce, yet they receive only 77% of what men earn worldwide. Globally, 606 million women provide unpaid care on a full-time basis, compared to only 41 million men.Trade is not gender-neutral either. Women face higher obstacles than men in accessing the global market and the economic opportunities created by trade. Women entrepreneurs face higher trade costs than men, which prevent them from going international. As a result, only 1 in 5 female-owned small businesses is exporting.Gender inequalities are rampant, and the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the existing gaps between men and women to a point that, in today's world, so many women are set back economically and socially. Women lost more than 64 million jobs last year, a 5% loss, compared to 3.9% loss for men. Yet, only 9% of all measures taken to mitigate the COVID-19's impact target women's economic security.Women entrepreneurs have been de facto excluded from many relief packages set up by governments because they condition access to requirements that women entrepreneurs, who often run smaller businesses, cannot meet. The majority of them are self-employed, and many work from home, which makes it impossible for them to access the relief measures, which are often limited to companies above a certain number of employees.We can change this paradigm through trade. Inclusive trade can open the door to women's employment, decent work, and economic empowerment. Trade can make a difference by lifting women, and therefore their families, out of poverty.In fact, firms that trade internationally employ more women.Worldwide, women represent 33% of the workforce of exporting firms, compared with 24% of non-exporting firms. Moreover, women constitute 36% of the workforce of firms involved in global value chains and 38% of the workforce of foreign-owned firms. This is 11 and 12 percentage points more than the proportion in firms that are not part of global value chains and are domestically-owned firms.In some countries, such as Morocco, Romania, and Vietnam, women represent 50% or more of the workforce of exporting firms, thus creating jobs for more than 5 million women in these countries. And this is roughly 15% of the female population working in these countries.Trade can also free women from the informal sector, where women are often concentrated, and the risks associated with it. For example, in Afghanistan, 96% of women-owned businesses are unlicensed. Working in the informal sector leaves women without the protection of labor laws and deprives them of social benefits. Women work for lower wages and in unsafe conditions. Trade offers them the opportunity to work more

  • News | WTO | 2015 News items - Concerns raised over Pakistan's tax rates on imports

    The EU and the US expressed concern about what they said is a discriminatory tax regime by Pakistan, which imposes a 17% tax on imported finished goods and 5% tax on similar domestic goods. The EU said this tax measure affects especially its exporters of leather products to Pakistan. The US said that the tax measure affects apparel and sporting goods. Canada, Norway, Chinese Taipei and Switzerland shared the EU and US concerns. Pakistan said it hoped to resolve this issue amicably through bilateral discussions. It said it had already started to eliminate some of the measures, and that it would be updating members on the situation.Japan again expressed concern about what it said are import restricting measures by Ecuador in the automotive sector, and safeguard measures taken for balance-of-payments reasons. In the automotive sector, it reiterated its doubts about Ecuador's environmental justification for restricting automobile imports. These concerns were shared by the US, EU and Canada. On the second set of measures by Ecuador, Japan's concerns were shared by the US, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Korea, Israel, Uruguay, Peru and Mexico. These members said they hoped to discuss the measures more fully at the Balance of Payments Committee meeting on 29 June 2015. The Dominican Republic said that Ecuador's measures were due to its unique position as a dollar-based economy without a central bank. Ecuador said its measures are consistent with WTO rules. It said the automotive measure is aimed at improving air quality in Ecuador's cities. On the safeguard measures, it said the proper forum to discuss this would be the BOP Committee.Some members again reiterated concerns under the following longstanding agenda items: Nigeria's local content measures in oil and gas , Indonesia's import and export restricting policies and practices and Russia's trade restricting measures .Brazil expressed concern about the pace and content of the EU's compensation negotiations with members over the EU accession of Croatia. It said that it had substantial trade flows with Croatia before it became an EU member state, and urged the EU to give full priority to these negotiations. Argentina, Uruguay and New Zealand also complained about delays in their negotiations with the EU. On the other hand, Australia commended what it said was the constructive approach by the EU. The EU said it attaches great importance to these negotiations, which it said it is conducting with these countries plus China. It said it had submitted reasonable and equitable offers to the members concerned.The Goods Council approved, and forwarded to the General Council for adoption, Canada's request for the extension of the WTO waiver of its duty-free treatment of imports from the Caribbean countries until December 2023. The EU, which said it needed more

  • News | WTO | dispute settlement - the disputes - DS487

    On 19 December 2014, the European Union requested consultations with the United States with respect to conditional tax incentives established by the State of Washington in relation to the development, manufacture, and sale of large civil aircraft.The European Union alleges that the measures constitute specific subsidies within the meaning of Articles 1 and 2 of the SCM Agreement. The European Union also considers that the measures are prohibited subsidies that are inconsistent with Articles 3.1 and 3.2 of the SCM Agreement.On 12 February 2015, the European Union requested the establishment of a panel.At its meeting on 23 February 2015, the DSB established a panel. Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea and the Russian Federation reserved their third-party rights. Subsequently, Australia and Canada reserved their third-party rights.On 13 April 2015, the European Union requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 22 April 2015, the Director-General composed the panel. On 29 September 2015, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that it estimated to issue its report within 12 months. On 23 September 2016, the Chair of the panel informed the DSB that the final report was to be circulated to all Members by the end of November 2016.On 28 November 2016, the panel report was circulated to Members.This dispute concerns legislation enacted in the state of Washington in the United States in November 2013 through Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5952 , which amended and extended various tax incentives for the aerospace industry. The European Union identified seven separate tax incentives, including a reduced business and occupation tax rate, credits against business taxation, and exemptions from various other taxes in the state of Washington.The European Union claimed that those tax incentives are prohibited under Articles 3.1 and 3.2 of the SCM Agreement as subsidies that are contingent on the use of domestic over imported goods. According to the European Union, the contingency results from two siting provisions contained in ESSB 5952, namely a First Siting Provision and a Second Siting Provision. In the European Union's view, the challenged aerospace tax measures are de jure contingent upon the use of domestic over imported goods inasmuch as the text of the relevant legislation sets out the prohibited contingency. The European Union also made a secondary claim that the aerospace tax measures are de facto contingent upon the use of domestic over imported goods.The Panel found that, under each of the aerospace tax measures at issue, there is a financial contribution by the Washington State government and a benefit is thereby conferred. The Panel c

  • News | WTO | dispute settlement - the disputes - DS472

    On 19 December 2013, the European Union requested consultations with Brazil with respect to certain measures concerning taxation and charges in the automotive sector, the electronics and technology industry, goods produced in Free Trade Zones, and tax advantages for exporters.The European Union claims that the measures are inconsistent with:. Articles I:1, II:1, III:2, III:4 and III:5 of the GATT 1994;Articles 3.1 and 3.1 of the SCM Agreement; and. Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the TRIMs Agreement.On 15 January 2014, Japan requested to join the consultations. On 16 January 2014, Argentina requested to join the consultations. On 17 January 2104, the United States requested to join the consultations.On 31 October 2014, the European Union requested the establishment of a panel. At its meeting on 18 November 2014, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.At its meeting on 17 December 2014, the DSB established a panel. Argentina, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, the Russian Federation, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and the United States reserved their third-party rights. Subsequently, Canada, Colombia and South Africa reserved their third-party rights.On 16 March 2015, the European Union requested the Director-General to compose the panel. On 26 March 2015, the Director-General composed the panel.On 22 October 2015, the Chairperson of the panel notified the DSB that the panel in DS497 was composed with the same persons as the panel in this dispute. The Chairperson also notified the DSB that pursuant to Article 9.3 and in agreement with the parties, this dispute and DS497 are following a harmonized procedure.On 30 August 2017, the panel report was circulated to Members.As an initial matter, the Panel addressed two broad defences raised by Brazil in respect of the claims against the ICT and INOVAR-AUTO programmes.First, Brazil argued that the relevant measures at issue concern production processes and production steps imposed on producers, and which therefore are not within the scope of the GATT 1994, SCM Agreement, and TRIMs Agreement which regulate products per se. In addition, for Brazil, Article III of the GATT 1994, Article 2 of the TRIMs Agreement, and Article 3.1 of the SCM Agreement are inapplicable to “pre-market” requirements, such as the requirements challenged in this dispute. The Panel rejected this argument on the basis that a long line of Appellate Body jurisprudence has clarified that the relevant disciplines of the GATT 1994 are indeed applicable to measures that impact products in the market, regardless of whether the measures are in the form of “pre-market” requirements. This reasoning is also ap

  • News | WTO | dispute settlement - the disputes - DS497

    On 2 July 2015, Japan requested consultations with Brazil with respect to certain measures concerning taxation and charges in the automotive sector, the electronics and technology industry, and tax advantages for exporters.Japan claims that the measures are inconsistent with:. Articles I:1, II:1, III:2, III:4 and III:5 of the GATT 1994;Articles 3.1, 3.1 and 3.2 of the SCM Agreement; and. Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the TRIMs Agreement.On 16 July 2015, the European Union requested to join the consultations.On 17 September 2015, Japan requested the establishment of a panel.At its meeting on 28 September 2015, the DSB established a panel. Argentina, Australia, China, the European Union, India, Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States reserved their third-party rights.Following the agreement of the parties, the panel was composed on 29 September 2015.On 22 October 2015, the Chair of the panel notified the DSB that the panel in this dispute was composed with the same persons as the panel in DS472. The Chair also notified the DSB that pursuant to Article 9.3 and in agreement with the parties, this dispute and DS472 are following a harmonized procedure.On 30 August 2017, the panel report was circulated to Members.As an initial matter, the Panel addressed two broad defences raised by Brazil in respect of the claims against the ICT and INOVAR-AUTO programmes.First, Brazil argued that the relevant measures at issue concern production processes and production steps imposed on producers, and which therefore are not within the scope of the GATT 1994, SCM Agreement, and TRIMs Agreement which regulate products per se. In addition, for Brazil, Article III of the GATT 1994, Article 2 of the TRIMs Agreement, and Article 3.1 of the SCM Agreement are inapplicable to “pre-market” requirements, such as the requirements challenged in this dispute. The Panel rejected this argument on the basis that a long line of Appellate Body jurisprudence has clarified that the relevant disciplines of the GATT 1994 are indeed applicable to measures that impact products in the market, regardless of whether the measures are in the form of “pre-market” requirements. This reasoning is also applicable in respect of the relevant disciplines of the TRIMs Agreement and the SCM Agreement.Second, Brazil argued that the ICT and INOVAR-AUTO programmes constitute subsidies paid to domestic producers within the meaning of Article III:8 of the GATT 1994, and therefore are exempted from the disciplines of Article III of the GATT 1994 and Article 2.1 of the TRIMs Agreement. Article III:8 states that the provisions of Article III “shall not prevent the payment

  • News | WTO | Trade policy review - Pakistan 2002

    Pakistan's long term growth depends on the continued implementation of the economic revival programme. Pakistan's Comprehensive Economic Revival Programme, launched in 1999 after a reduction in economic performance, has been forcefully pursued and has resulted both in the successful implementation of a Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF and subsequent substantial support by the Fund under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, according to a WTO report on the trade policies and practices of Pakistan. The report stresses that Pakistan's long-term economic growth depends importantly on the continued implementation of the Revival Programme, particularly in the reduction of direct state intervention in the economy and improvements in the tax base.The Revival Programme, which addresses some of the imbalances in the economy of Pakistan, includes the implementation of a privatization programme and further trade liberalization, as well as steps to strengthen the tax base and improve governance. Long-term growth of the economy, says the report, is also dependent on Pakistan's success in diversifying its exports, which in turn depends on its trading partners' willingness to keep their markets open, or even open them further, to Pakistani goods and services, notwithstanding the present global economic slowdown.The report adds that despite severe economic and political difficulties, Pakistan has, by and large, resisted protectionist pressure and opted for market-based reforms, including the adoption of a more liberal attitude to imports and foreign investment. Over the past two years, efforts in several crucial areas have intensified with the result that Pakistan is becoming a more open and secure market for its trading partners. By fostering domestic competition, the reforms undertaken by Pakistan should contribute to a more efficient allocation of domestic resources, which would enhance the economy's productivity and local firm's export competitiveness.There are signs that the economy may be improving, says the WTO report; including a rise in the local stock market. These developments are perhaps partly due to the perceived improvement in the prospects of Pakistan obtaining substantial debt relief from its international creditors. Such relief would reduce the cost to Pakistan of servicing its large foreign debt, thus helping to redress the current fiscal imbalance and providing more scope for the Government to tackle the country's social problems , and the presence of some three million refugees.The report notes that economic growth in Pakistan has moderated relative to that in the period immediately prior to its previous Trade Policy Review in 1995. After accelerating in 1993-96, real GDP growth fell from 5.0% in 1995/96 to 1.2% in both 1996/97 and 1997/98 and has since fluctuated around 4%. Natural factors, including a severe drought, financ

  • News | WTO | WTO analytical index: Guide to WTO Law and Practice - General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994

    The Index is split into files on an article-by-article basis, covering:. “jurisprudence“, i.e. relevant WTO Appellate Body reports, panel reports, and arbitral awards and decisions; and. “practice”, e.g. information relating to the background and application of provisions, including relevant decisions and other significant activities of WTO Committees, Councils and other relevant WTO bodies.Each file has a “current as of” date, indicating when the content of that file was last reviewed and, as necessary, revised and updated to reflect new developments.The WTO Analytical Index was previously made available as a printed publication, with updates provided in the form of electronic-only supplements. The new electronic-only edition provided below updates and replaces these previous versions.List of WTO dispute settlement reports and arbitration awards. Annex 1A: Multilateral Agreements on Trade in Goods. Annex 1B: General Agreement on Trade in Services . Annex 1C: Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights . International Dairy Agreement and International Bovine Meat Agreement

  • News | WTO | Trade policy review - Australia 2002

    Sound macroeconomic policies and far-reaching structural reforms, behind Australia's impressive economic performance. Australia's impressive economic performance during the past decade or so is due in large part to sound macroeconomic policies in combination with some far-reaching structural reforms that have reinforced past unilateral trade liberalization, according to a WTO Secretariat report on the trade policies and practices of Australia.Since its previous Review in 1998, Australia has successfully weathered the Asian financial crisis, despite the severe slowdown elsewhere in the region. Real GDP growth, generated largely by domestic demand and rising multi-factor productivity, remained strong until 2001, when a temporary decline in residential construction activity and the global economic slowdown adversely affected Australia’s short-run outlook for growth and employment. Nonetheless, unemployment has continued to fall and inflation has remained low.The patterns of foreign trade and direct investment have hardly changed. Australia has remained largely dependent on commodity exports and manufactured imports. Most of its merchandise trade has continued to be conducted with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation partners, with some reinforcement of trade with East Asia in the wake of the Asian crisis.Since its previous Review, Australia has continued to implement trade reforms so as to strengthen competition in the domestic market and thus improve economic efficiency, according to the report. These reforms were undertaken partly in line with the scheduled implementation of Australia’s WTO commitments, but also unilaterally in accordance with domestic policy goals.The customs tariff remains Australia’s main trade policy instrument, albeit a minor source of tax revenue . Some 96.2% of tariff lines are bound, thereby imparting a high degree of predictability to the tariff. The average applied MFN tariff is currently 4.3%, down from 5.6% in 1997/98; further unilateral reductions in the rates applied to passenger motor vehicles and textiles, clothing and footwear are envisaged by 2005. Whereas the average applied MFN tariff for agricultural products is 1.2%, that for industrial products is of the order of 4.7%. The tariff rates applied to passenger motor vehicles, textiles, clothing, and footwear are two to three times higher than the average for industrial products. On the other hand, unilateral tariff reductions have brought about 86% of tariff rates within the zero to 5% range. The customs tariff has also been considerably simplified through the reduction in the number of rates. However, these changes have done little to reduce tariff escalation. Applied tariff rates currently fall short of bound rates by an average of 6.2 percentage points; while the consequent gap between bound and applied MFN rates provides considerable scope for the authorities to increase applie

  • News | WTO | dispute settlement - the disputes - DS353

    On 27 June 2005, the European Communities requested consultations with the United States concerning prohibited and actionable subsidies provided to US producers of large civil aircraft. .The European Communities considers that the measures cited in its request for consultations are inconsistent with:. Articles 3.1, 3.1, 3.2, 5, 5, 6.3, 6.3 and 6.3 of the SCM Agreement; and. On 20 January 2006, the European Communities requested the establishment of a panel. Having deferred the establishment of a panel on 2 February 2006, the DSB established a panel at its meeting on 17 February 2006. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and Japan reserved their third-party rights at the meeting. Subsequently, Korea reserved its third-party rights. On 17 November 2006, the European Communities requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel. On 22 November 2006, Deputy Director-General Alejandro Jara composed the Panel, on behalf of the Director-General.On 18 May 2007, the Chairman of the Panel informed the DSB that it would not be possible for the Panel to complete its work within six months of the date of composition in light of the substantive and procedural complexities of this dispute. The Panel expected to complete its work in July 2008. On 11 July 2008, the Chairman of the Panel informed the DSB that it now expected to complete its work in 2009.On 16 December 2009, the Chairman of the panel informed the DSB that it expected to issue its interim report to the parties in June 2010. On 7 July 2010, the Chairman of the panel informed the DSB that it now expects to issue its interim report by mid-September 2010, and expects to complete its work in the first half of 2011.On 31 March 2011, the panel report was circulated to Members.In this dispute, the European Communities claimed that the following ten categories of measures constituted subsidies to Boeing's large civil aircraft division that were inconsistent with the SCM Agreement:. State of Washington and municipalities therein — various tax and non-tax incentives provided by the State of Washington and the City of Everett, notably in connection with the location of the 787 assembly facility in Everett. State of Kansas and municipalities therein — property and sales tax breaks provided by the City of Wichita and interest payments by the State of Kansas on Kansas State Development Bonds. State of Illinois and municipalities therein — tax and non-tax incentives provided by the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago and Cook County in connection with the relocation of Boeing's headquarters