WTO members to discuss proposals to enhance special treatment for developing countries

On 23 September 2020, at a formal meeting of the Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD), WTO members will discuss proposals on enhancing the special and differential treatment for developing countries contained in WTO legal texts.

At the meeting, members will discuss the latest version of ten agreement-specific proposals on special and differential treatment (S&D) tabled by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, the African Group and the WTO’s group of least-developed countries (LDCs), which together comprise the G90. The proposals relate to S&D provisions contained in several WTO agreements and decisions on topics including transfer of technology, trade-related investment measures (TRIMS), technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, customs valuation, subsidies and countervailing measures and the accession of LDCs to the WTO.

S&D provisions are flexibilities granted to developing countries and LDCs, with the aim of increasing their trade opportunities, safeguarding developing and LDC interests in the form of longer periods for the implementation of WTO agreements and providing technical assistance, for example. Over 100 such provisions exist in the WTO’s agreements and decisions. ¨

In April 2020, the Chair of the Special Session of the CTD, Ambassador Kadra Ahmed Hassan of Djibouti, initiated a process for members to exchange views on the G90 submission in writing. The responses by the G90, which were circulated to members in June, will be discussed on 23 September.

Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah, who oversees development matters in the WTO, said that the discussion on 23 September will establish the next steps in the work of the committee. “The Chairperson will determine the way forward by consulting with members, with the possibility of organizing informal meetings in various formats,” he said.

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