Negotiating Group on Market Access - Oral report by the Chairman, Ambassador Remigi Winzap, to the Heads of Delegations - Meeting of 9 May 2016
作者:Negotiating Group on Market Access

 negotiating group on market access

Oral report by the Chairman, Ambassador Remigi Winzap,
to the Heads of Delegations

Meeting of 9 May 2016

1.  In an open-ended meeting of the Negotiating Group on Market Access held on 11 April 2016, I reported on a series of bilateral meetings with Members I had conducted during the first quarter of this year. My report was circulated as TN/MA/29 the same day.


2.  From my contacts it appears that Members are still looking for a foothold in the post-Nairobi discussions. I also sensed concern about an open-ended reflection period and a risk of the WTO going drifting.


3.  On NAMA, the feedbacks received may broadly be divided into three categories:


·             The largest group of Members would like to continue working on NAMA in parallel with other remaining Doha issues.

·             A significantly smaller group seems lukewarm to the prospect of pursuing work on non‑agricultural market access in the WTO for the time being.

·             A few Members are either indifferent towards further work on NAMA, or they are defensive as for them the existing “policy space” of Members should be maintained, notably in support of industrialization.


4.  Members interested in pursuing work on NAMA referred:


·             To para 31 of the Nairobi Ministerial Declaration.

·             To offensive interests.

·             To concerns about a future “agriculture-only” outcome; or

·             To the value of NAMA work in balancing potential progress in other areas.


5.  Elements mentioned by Members interested in continuing work on NAMA include:


·             A clearly reduced level of ambition, compared to the discussions we had a year ago.

·             No sequencing, as the remaining Doha issues should move in parallel and be looked at in a horizontal manner.

·             Less than Full Reciprocity as well as Special and Differential Treatment, independently of potential ambition levels in NAMA. In this context, some Members suggested that S&D be primarily looked at on an issue-by-issue basis.


6.  Most Members interested in NAMA work expressed a priority on the tariff side. However, many also flagged an interest in NTBs.


7.  With respect to tariffs, the ideas I heard include the following:


·             Some Members recalled their interest in tariff reductions through formulas or through sectorals.

·             Several Members would rather see a plurilateral set-up.

·             Others suggest focusing on improved predictability in NAMA, notably by increasing bindings or reducing water between bound and applied tariff rates. Under such a scenario, balance might be sought through trade-offs between different negotiating areas. 


8.  On NTBs, Members notably suggested:


·             To concentrate on proposals on which work had already been done in the past (e.g. Horizontal Mechanism, Transparency, Textile labelling).

·             To look at possible new areas (e.g. on foodstuff).

·             To seek inspiration from work on NTBs undertaken in RTA negotiations, such as on regulatory coherence.

·             To build on work done on technical standards in other international organizations.

·             Finally, I also heard that if a sectoral approach were to be pursued for NAMA tariff reductions, the NTB part thereof could also be addressed.


9.  Summing up:


·             The Membership still seems to be in search of how to re-engage on NAMA.

·             At the same time, I sensed a generally constructive attitude from many Members and their willingness to start moving on different negotiating issues, both for substantive and systemic reasons.

·             I did not perceive from these Members a going back into previous trenches, but rather an openness to look at issues with fresh eyes.

·             However, while most Members appear interested in searching for outcomes, some doubt whether today the WTO is the best-suited forum to deliver on market access. Some Members also made it clear that they would not be in a position to contribute in NAMA at present.


10.  If this perception is correct, then there is no overlap of Members’ positions on NAMA as of today.


11.  DG, the main challenge in NAMA may therefore be described as follows:


·             How to build convergence in a situation where, on the one hand, Members’ appetite to pursue NAMA negotiations in the WTO varies greatly and, on the other hand, no negotiated outcome may probably be reached in other areas without a result in NAMA?


12.  This closes my report.