WTO COUNCIL FOR GOODS APPROVES AGOA, CBERA AND ATPA WAIVERS

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09GENEVA259 25 March 2009 No clasificado United States Mission Geneva

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R 251643Z MAR 09
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8211
INFO WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION COLLECTIVE
DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
USDOC WASHDC

UNCLAS GENEVA 000259

EEB/TPP/MTAA FOR CRAFT
PASS USTR FOR SHACKLEFORD
USDA FOR FAS
USDOC FOR ITA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD, WTRO, USTR, BL
SUBJECT: WTO COUNCIL FOR GOODS APPROVES AGOA, CBERA AND
ATPA WAIVERS

1. Summary: On March 24, 2009 the CTG agreed to waive WTO MFN rules
to allow the U.S. to grant preferential access to the U.S. for AGOA,
CBERA and ATPA beneficiary countries. With some reluctance, Bolivia
joined the consensus on these waivers. They expressed their hope
that the U.S. will restore its ATPA preferences. This decision now
goes to the General Council for final approval. End Summary

2. These three waivers have been pending before the CTG for almost
three years. The principal difficulty up until now has been
Paraguay’s insistence to be included among the ATPA beneficiary
countries. Last year’s change of government in Paraguay resulted in
a decision by Paraguay to withdraw its objections.

3. A new difficulty arose when Bolivia stopping receiving
preferences last year due to reasons related to the drug enforcement
requirements of the ATPA. Although Bolivia initially threatened to
block the approval of these waivers unless its ATPA status was
restored, in the end it decided to join the consensus. At the
meeting the Bolivian ambassador made a long statement outlining
Bolivia’s drug eradication efforts. They cited a number of
statistics from U.N. agencies that they claim support their
position. She complained that the U.S. has never provided as much
help to Bolivia as to other ATPA countries. Having lost its
beneficiary status the situation is now much worse. The current
U.S. position is contrary to the facts and is hurting Bolivia. She
said Bolivia benefited greatly from ATPA and wants it restored. All
ATPA countries should be beneficiaries. She concluded that,
notwithstanding this fact, in a gesture of friendship to the Obama
Administration, Bolivia has decided to join the consensus on
approving the waivers. She expressed her hope that the current
administration will correct the errors of the last administration.

4. Bolivia received support from several Members. Cuba said it
shares Bolivia’s concerns. Venezuela expressed solidarity. Ecuador
expressed its sympathy. Peru hoped that a way can be found to help
Bolivia.

5. The U.S. rep responded by expressing its appreciation for
Bolivia’s constructive approach. He said that the U.S. will be
conducting a review of Bolivia’s eligibility by the end of June.
The U.S. assured Bolivia that it would conduct a fair and thorough
review of Bolivia’s compliance with the program’s eligibility
criteria. We welcomed any information in connection with this the
upcoming review that Bolivia might want to supply.

6. On a separate agenda item, the CTG also approved Chairs for
subsidiary bodies of the CTG as follows:

Market Access — New Zealand

Agriculture - Uruguay

S/PS - Argentina

TBT - Israel

TRIMs - Romania

Anti-Dumping - Italy

Customs Valuation - Pakistan

Rules of Origin - Brazil

Import Licensing - Tanzania

Safeguards - Mauritius

Subsidies - Lithuania

State Trading - China

ITA - Egypt

7. Turkey also distributed at the meeting a background paper on
trade in textiles. Turkey has been trying for the last four years
to get the WTO to study the issue of textile trade since the
expiration of quota restraints under the Agreement on Textiles and
Clothing. Major exporting countries such as China and India have
refused to allow any action on this issue. Turkey continues to
receive support from textile exporting countries from the Caribbean
and North Africa. At this meeting, the major exporters maintained
their position that the WTO should not discuss issues related to
individual sectors. The Chair summed up by concluding that there
was no consensus on how to proceed and said the issue would appear
on the agenda for the next meeting.

ALLGEIR