WTO TRADE FACILITATION NEGOTIATIONS - JUNE AND JULY 2005

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
05GENEVA1903 10 August 2005 No clasificado United States Mission Geneva

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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GENEVA 001903

SIPDIS

PASS USTR FOR BROADBENT, DWOSKIN, ROHDE
STATE EB/OT FOR CRAFT
DOC ITA/JACOBS AND SJONES
DHS/CPB/VBROWN, SPERO, SCHMITZ
DHS FOR PATTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD, USTR, WTRO, Trade
SUBJECT: WTO TRADE FACILITATION NEGOTIATIONS - JUNE AND JULY
2005

1. Summary. This cable reports on the June and July meetings of
the WTO Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation (WTO NGTF), held
in Geneva on 12-13 June and 25-26 July, 2005. Matt Rohde (USTR),
Rachel Shub (USTR Geneva), Gordana Earp (Treasury), Ann Barnett-
Dahl (Commerce), Christina Kopitopoulos (CBP, DHS), Allison Levy
(CBP, DHS), Virginia Brown (CBP, DHS), and Patterson Brown
(USAID) attended on behalf of the USG. The high level of
positive and constructive engagement by Members from all levels
of development remained a hallmark of the NGTF. Delegations
mainly focused on technical aspects of the many proposals, and in
some cases recounted their own experiences with particular
customs reforms. The June and July meetings included informal
sessions devoted to discussing how to fulfill the NGTFs mandate
to ensure implementation of the eventual obligations through the
identification of individual Members’ needs and appropriate
technical assistance. The July meeting also considered a paper
cosponsored by India and the United States, which the Chair
hailed as a historic joint effort unprecedented in the GATT and
WTO. The paper proposes possible multilateral approaches to
customs cooperation and information sharing, laying down a
framework for future work and identifying the issues that would
need to be addressed. One measure of the progress of the NGTF
was the increasing use by Members of a parlance that included
reference to a future WTO "Agreement" that would include new
"commitments." End Summary.
June Meeting

2. There were eight new papers presented at the June meeting.
Taiwan submitted a paper concerning its experience in providing
special procedures for express shipments, which complemented an
earlier U.S. proposal. Argentina proposed WTO website links to
national websites, and raised whether, with technical assistance
for translation, developing country Members’ websites might at
least be able to have information in one of the WTO official
languages (English, Spanish or French). China and Korea put
forward proposals on risk management, with Japan providing its
experience in risk management in a separate paper. Turkey and
the EU presented papers with numerous ideas concerning
transparency and customs reform, several of which had been
submitted by others in past meetings. Norway relayed its
experience on border cooperation.

3. Significantly, sixteen Latin American countries (Argentina,
Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Dominican
Republic, Costa Rica, and Panama) joined in submitting a
practical approach to ensuring that individual needs of Members
were identified and that the issues of technical assistance,
cost, transition, and special and differential treatment, were
met, all clearly linked to the individual TF obligations as they
were developed in the negotiating group. The paper, which made
reference to new "disciplines," was largely well-received, with
countries as diverse as China, India and the United States in
basic agreement with the approach. The paper provided material
for a subsequent "informal" session at which developing countries
searched expressed hope for finding a practical way forward to
ensure that they were able to identify the difficulty or extent
to which they would be able to comply with certain disciplines,
and ensure technical assistance.

4. On the margins, the United States held a mini-workshop
explaining how express shipments are handled by US Customs. The
workshop was very well attended by developing country
representatives, many of whom had not realized that such
procedures (including overtime of customs agents and any special
facilities) are normally funded by the very industry that
receives the benefit, through user fees or specific
contributions, and that each company only receives expedited
treatment of imports it handles if it complies with extra
procedural requirements such as providing extra information on a
specified timely basis.

July meeting

5. At the July meeting, five new proposals were tabled, the most
significant of which was the proposal cosponsored by the U.S. and
India co-sponsored a proposal on the creation of a customs
information sharing mechanism. This was the first time the two
countries have co-sponsored a proposal either in the GATT or WTO.
The proposal received support, including from China and smaller
countries (Mauritius, Paraguay and Jamaica), while South Africa
announced its desire to be an additional cosponsor. A few
developed Members, including Canada and the EC, raised concerns
about protecting business proprietary information, an issue
flagged in the paper as something that would have to be
addressed.

6. In addition, Japan and Singapore submitted papers on their
experiences using pre-arrival examination and a single window
system, respectively, while Korea submitted a new proposal on the
utilization of a post-clearance audit system.

7. The July meeting saw another informal discussion on the
issues of developing country concern (needs identification and
technical assistance.) The discussion this time was enriched by
a paper from the Africa Group that appeared to build on the Latin
American paper from the June meeting. The Africa Group
submission was notable for its practical tone, concrete
suggestions, and the absence of rhetorical demands.

Next steps

8. The next meeting of the NGTF is scheduled for 19-20
September, 2005. In the fall, the Chair intends to revisit the
proposals in the context of a thematic matrix/compilation that
has been assembled by the Secretariat. This process will provide
the opportunity to flesh out some proposals, see where some of
the over 50 proposals overlap or are redundant, and hear more
specific reactions by delegations. Working on a thematic basis
through the matrix could provide a crucial next step toward
ensuring the negotiations are on a path toward a Doha negotiating
outcome that includes an Agreement on Trade Facilitation. Shark