The General Council adopted the agenda without item 6 on “WTO Accessions: 2018 Annual Report by the Director-General” and will revert to it at a later stage.

1. Report by the Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee and Report by the Director-General

The Chairman referred to the Director-General’s report at the 10 December Informal TNC and Informal HODs meetings – where Chairs of negotiating bodies also provided reports on work in their respective areas and where 46 delegations intervened. The Director-General’s statement and the Oral Reports by the Chairs of the Bodies established by the TNC can be found in JOB/TNC/72. Under this item, Paraguay, Barbados, the Republic of Moldova and El Salvador spoke.

2. Implementation of the Bali, Nairobi and Buenos Aires Outcomes – Statement by the Chairman

The Chairman reported on the work taking place in WTO regular bodies to fulfil the Bali, Nairobi and Buenos Aires Ministerial mandates. His full statement can be found in JOB/GC/210. Vanuatu (ACP) and the Central African Republic (LDCs) spoke.

3. Work Programme on Small Economies – Report by the Chairman of the Dedicated Session of the Committee on Trade and Development

The CTD Chair reported that the CTD held its 37th Dedicated Session on Small Economies on 1 November. The discussion had focused on best practices and policy approaches for addressing the challenges identified in its previous session. The SVE Group was working on an outcome document based on the discussions held in 2018 in the Dedicated Session which would be discussed in its next meeting. Guatemala (SVEs) and Mauritius spoke.

4. Work Programme on Electronic Commerce

The GC Chair reported on developments under the work programme on e-commerce since the last periodic review in July – including on his consultations with Members on how to move forward the discussion on the e-commerce moratorium, following the submission by South Africa and India, and on the informal open-ended meeting he convened on 27 November in this regard. The Central African Republic (LDCs), India, South Africa, Vanuatu (ACP), Nigeria and Japan spoke.

5. The Development Assistance Aspects of Cotton – Statement by the Director-General

Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff, on behalf of the Director-General, reported that progress continued to be made on that area and noted the increase in active cotton-specific development assistance and that the work of the Mechanism had become more methodical. He thanked Members of the development community, those who significantly contributed to the South-South Cooperation for Cotton Development Assistance and several multilateral institutions. The Central African Republic (LDCs), the European Union, Mali (C-4) and Turkey spoke.

6. Appellate Body Appointments – Amendments of the Dispute Settlement Understanding

  1. Statement by the European Union, China, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Republic of Korea, Iceland, Singapore, Mexico, Costa Rica and Montenegro
  2. Communication from the European Union, China, Canada, India, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Republic of Korea, Iceland, Singapore, Mexico, Costa Rica and Montenegro (WT/GC/W/752/Rev.2)
  3. Communication from the European Union, China, India and Montenegro (WT/GC/W/753/Rev.1)

The European Union introduced a statement and the two communications in 7(b) and 7(c). The co-sponsors – China, Canada, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Iceland, Singapore, Mexico, Costa Rica and Montenegro, – took the floor in turns and referred to the relevant sub-items.

In the discussion that followed, the Philippines; Antigua and Barbuda; the Russian Federation; Thailand; Argentina (on behalf of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay); Vanuatu (ACP); Ukraine; Brazil; Cambodia; the United States; Hong Kong, China; Tanzania; Japan; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Chad (LDCs); Ecuador; South Africa; Guatemala; Indonesia; Peru; Turkey; Uruguay; Nigeria; Chile; Honduras and the Dominican Republic took the floor. China; the United States and the European Union intervened again. The Chairman said that there was a general view among delegations that the matter needed to be addressed very urgently and that more focused discussion was necessary. He would consult with Members on the way forward.

7. Targeted Discussions on Dispute Settlement Issues – Communication from Australia and Singapore

Australia and the other co-sponsors – Singapore, Canada, Switzerland and Costa Rica – presented their communication circulated in WT/GC/W/754/Rev2. The United States, Brazil, Uganda and Japan spoke. The Chairman referred to his concluding remarks under the previous item and reiterated that he would conduct consultations in this regard.

8. Annual Review of the Special Compulsory Licensing System – Paragraph 7 of the Annex to the Amended TRIPS Agreement and Paragraph 8 of the Decision on the Implementation of Paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health – Report of the Council for TRIPS

The General Council took note of the report of the TRIPS Council on the annual review of the Special Compulsory Licensing System circulated in IP/C/82.

9. Waivers under Article IX of the WTO Agreement

The General Council adopted four waivers involving the Introduction of Harmonized System 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017 changes into WTO Schedules of Tariff Concessions. The Council also conducted the review of six waivers pursuant to Article IX:4 of the WTO Agreement. Montenegro spoke.

10. Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration – Report on Meetings of July, September and November 2018

The General Council took note of the CBFA Chair’s statement, approved the Budget Committee’s specific recommendation in paragraphs 2.13, 3.14 to 3.16 and 4.18 of WT/BFA/176, and adopted the reports in WT/BFA/174, WT/BFA/175 and WT/BFA/176.

11. International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO – Report of the Joint Advisory Group on its 52nd Session

Following a statement by the CTD Chairman on that body’s consideration of the report at its meeting on 21 November, the General Council adopted the JAG’s report. The International Trade Centre (Observer) spoke.

12. Review of WTO Activities

The General Council conducted its annual review of WTO activities, in line with the Decision concerning procedures for an annual overview of WTO activities and for reporting under the WTO (WT/L/105).

13. Appointment of Officers to WTO Bodies – Announcement by the Chairman pursuant to Paragraph 7.1(a) of the Guidelines

In line with the Guidelines for the Appointment of Officers to WTO bodies (WT/L/510), the Chair announced that he would be starting the selection process assisted by the serving Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body and former Chair of the General Council.

Under “Other Business“, the delegation of Argentina made a statement on the G20′s work on trade and investment. The Chairman confirmed that there appeared to be consensus on the appointment of Ambassador Morten Jespersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark, to chair the Working Party on the Accession of Ethiopia and Mr. Katsuro Nagai, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan, to chair the Working Party on the Accession of Sudan. Sudan (Observer) spoke. The Chairman also made a statement on Members and Observers in arrears.