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The WTO Secretariat has circulated a meeting notice and list of items proposed for the next meeting, on 28 February 2018, of the Dispute Settlement Body, which consists of all WTO members and oversees legal disputes among them. The meeting notice is circulated in the form of a document officially called an “airgram”.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) marked its first anniversary since its entry into force on 22 February 2017 with WTO members making significant strides towards its implementation. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said members continue to work to fully implement the Agreement, which will benefit particularly developing and least developed countries.
On 22 February the WTO circulated the panel report in the case brought by Japan in “Korea — Import Bans, and Testing and Certification Requirements for Radionuclides” (DS495).
At a meeting of the Agriculture Committee on 20 February, WTO members agreed on a timeline to review the operation of the 2013 Bali Ministerial Decision on tariff rate quotas and discussed a review of the landmark Nairobi Decision to eliminate farm export subsidies. Norway, Israel and Canada reported they had submitted revised schedules, formalizing their promises to eliminate these subsidies.
Korea has requested WTO consultations with the United States concerning the use of “facts available” by US investigating authorities in anti-dumping and countervailing investigations. The request was circulated to WTO members on 20 February.
The WTO has issued a call for young economists to submit papers for the 2018 WTO Essay Award. The award aims to promote high-quality research on trade policy and international trade co-operation and to reinforce the relationship between the WTO and the academic community. Essays must be submitted by 1 June 2018.
The fourth review of the trade policies and practices of Egypt takes place on 20 and 22 February 2018. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Egypt.
Speaking at a meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) at the WTO’s headquarters on 15 February, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo urged members to be ready to explore fresh perspectives and new pathways which may help move negotiations forward at the WTO. He also underlined the importance of development and the needs of least-developed countries and said he will continue working to ensure that the interests of the ACP remain at the centre of the WTO’s work in 2018 and beyond. The purpose of the meeting, which was organised by the ACP, was to reflect and brainstorm on the way forward after the 11th Ministerial Conference, held in Buenos Aires in December last year.
Speaking at a meeting of the World Standards Cooperation in Geneva on 15 February, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff discussed what international standards bodies can do to support the growth of the world trading system. He suggested several lines of action, including improving coherence between international standards, and highlighted the need to spread the message that “an integrated global economy, with a strong and dynamic multilateral trading system, supported by international standards, is a better world for everyone”.
The seventh review of the trade policies and practices of Malaysia takes place on 14 and 16 February 2018. The basis for the review is a report by the WTO Secretariat and a report by the Government of Malaysia.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo visited Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week (12 —13 February) to participate in the World Government Summit. On 12 February, he took part in the high-level panel on ‘the future of trade and globalization’, which was held in partnership with the WTO. He also gave a keynote intervention on ‘the outlook for trade in a hyper-connected world’ on 13 February. During the visit, the Director-General met with the Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and with the Minister of Economy HE Sultan Al Mansoori.
The WTO’s latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI), released on 12 February, suggests that the trade recovery of 2017 should continue, with solid trade volume growth in the first quarter of 2018. The WTOI’s current value of 102.3 is little changed from the 102.2 recorded last November, indicating steady merchandise trade volume growth. Strong results for air freight, container shipping and export orders in particular suggest that, while the trade recovery may moderate in due course, it will likely continue in the coming months and remain above trend.