Bilateral negotiations in the WTO accession process Presentation by JosipPervan, Senior Policy Advisor IDEAS Centre, Geneva
The start • ACC/1: initial offer in response to requests received, or on its own initiative • In reality, most countries submit without receiving requests • At least one (goods/services) is submitted prior to the second working party meeting. • Subsequent offers submitted depending on the requests received.
The process • Multiple revisions necessary • At the beginning revisions tend to be multilateral, later on bilateral • Bilateral revision- multiple selling of the same commitment • Upon conclusion, bilateral protocols are signed • At the end of the process, offers are consolidated into one schedule, which is offered on an MFN basis and verified by all members
„Rules”of negotiations • There is no standard offer – the level of concessions is determined through negotiations • Regional level of concessions plays a role • Members ask for commerciallymeaningful market access including for future products • Each accession sets precedents for future accessions (length of transition periods, use of safeguards, TQRs, etc.)
Internal organization • Inter-ministerial groups at two-levels • Consultative mechanism with the private sector • Working groups for goods and services • Agreeing on sensitivities, red lines • Defining strategy • Adapting as the negotiations progress- elaborating trade offs
15% bound duty level Goods negotiations • Bound tariffs are the basis for negotiations • Final bound rates close to applied levels • Transition periods accepted for sensitive items • Good arguments needed for protection of tariffs • Flexibility tools: transitional periods, special safeguard (SSG), tariff-rate quotas, specific duties 5% applied duty level 0%
Types of tariffs NAV
Format of the offer 1 Equal annual rate reductions, unless otherwise mentioned. 2 Can be replaced by a headnote “All ODCs are to be bound at zero.”
Services Negotiations • Schedule divided in sectors and modes of supply • Concessions provided in market access and national treatment • Horizontal and sectoral commitments • Final bound commitments go beyond status quo • Flexibilities: transitional periods, MFN exemptions, unbounding
SCHEDULE OF SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS OF COUNTRY X • (1)Cross‑border supply (3)Commercial presence • (2) Consumption abroad (4)Presence of natural persons
Challenges in negotiations • Typical developing country sensitivities: • Professional services • Audio-visual services • Construction services • Distribution services • Educational services • Health services • Movement of Natural Persons • Typical regulatory challenges: • Professional services • Postal/courier services • Telecom services • Banking services • Insurance services • Road transport • Land ownership • Movement of Natural Persons
Results: Services • Recent examples (of 160 sub-sectors): • Bulgaria – December 1996 ~ 68 • Kyrgyz Rep. – April 1999 ~105 • Albania – September 2000 ~ 95 • Georgia – June 2000 ~126 • Macedonia – April 2003 ~116 • Cambodia – October 2004 ~ 96 • Nepal – April 2004 ~ 84 • Vietnam – January 2007 ~ 98
Trends in the accession process • Non- existence of rules makes the process unpredictable • More difficult to acceede as the time goes by • Development status plays a role • Acceeding countries do not have much negotiating leverage • Negotiators must keep in mind the global political and trade importance of their country • Services negotiations- problem of coordination • The problem of conflicting requests by WTO members (EU-USA) • The position of Ukraine and / or other bilateral disputes • The result: negotiations are a time-consuming process !
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