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Experience and Observations from the Secretariat in Providing Assistance to Interested WTO Members and Observers Presentation for IT Symposium – 19 October.

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Presentation on theme: "Experience and Observations from the Secretariat in Providing Assistance to Interested WTO Members and Observers Presentation for IT Symposium – 19 October."— Presentation transcript:

1 Experience and Observations from the Secretariat in Providing Assistance to Interested WTO Members and Observers Presentation for IT Symposium – 19 October 2004 By Denby Probst, Counsellor, Market Access Division

2 Objectives of the Presentation Overview of Process of becoming an ITA participant Secretariat aid and technical assistance Final provisions

3 Brief Overview of the ITA Declaration signed on 13 December 1996 by 14 states or separate customs territories and the European Communities There is no definition of information technology in the Declaration. Information technology products are only defined by their inclusion in Attachment A or Attachment B of the Declaration Bind and eliminate customs duties and other duties and charges on all products listed in Attachments A and B in the Annex to the Declaration ITA

4 The Attachments Attachment A, Section 1-- Lists products by HS classification Attachment A, Section 2-- Semiconductor manufacturing and testing equipment; listed by HS code and some for attachment B items Attachment B-- Products listed by description; no HS classification

5 The ITA Today 63 Participants (including the Member states of the European Communities) Albania Iceland New Zealand Australia India Norway Bahrain IndonesiaOman Bulgaria Israel Panama Canada JapanPhilippines China Jordan Romania Costa Rica Korea Separate Customs Territory Croatia Kyrgyz Rep. of Taiwan, Penghu, Egypt Macao, China Kinman and Matsu El Salvador Malaysia Singapore EC Mauritius Switzerland Georgia Moldova Thailand Hong Kong, Morocco Turkey China United States.

6 Initial Discussions with Interested Delegations Documentation –WT/MIN(96)/16 –Examples of schedules Process –Submisson of schedule to Committee meeting Assistance –Varies by participant, provide what is needed

7 Making the Decision to Join Political will Decision by appropriate authorities in capital Consultations with domestic producers, consumers, importers, exporters, advocacy groups, etc...

8 First Draft Schedule Prepared by: –the Member concerned –the Secretariat –Joint effort Comprised of: –Loose-leaf schedule of commitments –Attachment B –Staging Matrix

9 Verification of Schedules Procedures outlined in G/IT/M/2 –"Any WTO Member, State or separate customs territory in the process of acceding to the WTO, hereinafter referred to as government, that would like to become a participant to the Ministerial Declaration on Trade in Information Technology Products should send a formal request to the Director-General of the WTO and submit a draft schedule of its commitments for verification. If the draft schedule is in line with the conditions set out in the Ministerial Declaration, it would only need to be verified in the usual way, first informally by the Secretariat[1] and then in the Committee, and unless there are objections, the government in question could become a participant. If, however, the government in question would want to deviate from the conditions set forth in the Declaration, this would have to be negotiated between the government concerned and the participants before its draft schedule is submitted for verification."[1] Speed & accuracy –Streamlined a labor intesive process –Ensures accuracy, especially minute details Practical Experience

10 Next Steps Draft schedule discrepancies found verification clean verification continues between Secretariat and country concerned Proceed to Committee process

11 Final Verification Sheet

12 Before the Meeting Letter indicating intent to join accompanied by final verified schedule sent to the Secretariat Proposed schedule,verification sheet, and accompanying details faxed to ITA participants Consultations with ITA participants

13 Becoming a Participant The Committee meeting –ITA Committee to take such a decision –Agenda itemNew Participants –Interested delegation to state their interest and explain their schedule –Committee approval typically at this meeting

14 The Legal Process Rectification and modification of Schedules (Decison of 26 March 1980 on Procedures for Modification and Rectification of Schedules of Tariff Concessions (BISD 27S/25) –Letter requesting schedule to be circulated –Circulation of G/MA/TAR/RS/... document – 3-month wait –Certification

15 Those in the Process of WTO Accession Slightly different procedure than WTO Members Commitments integrated into the Protocol of Accession Timing typically linked to accession

16 Final Provisions Domestic –Implementation –Parliamentary approval or similar legal procedures –Industry adjustment WTO –Certification –Letter of acceptance

17 The Work of the Committee Committee of Participants on the Expansion of Trade in Information Technology Products was established in 1997 to carry out the provision of the Ministerial Declaration The Committee is open to all participants, and other WTO Member and acceding countries are invited as observers Oversees matters of implementation, and any other issue related to the declaration

18 In Summary Experiences vary by participant –Length of time –Level of commitments Participant-driven process Secretariat available at any stage of the process for assistance

19 Thank you Questions ? Comments ? Contact details:


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