WTO members agreed at a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 28 February to establish a dispute panel to examine China’s complaint regarding anti-dumping and countervailing duties levied by Australia on various imported Chinese goods.
WTO members agreed at a meeting of the General Council on 23 February 2022 to initiate negotiations on the accession of Turkmenistan to the organization. Turkmenistan, a country in Central Asia with a population of about 6.2 million, is the last of the former Soviet republics to apply for WTO membership.
The European Union has requested WTO dispute consultations with China concerning alleged Chinese measures adversely affecting the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The request was circulated to WTO members on 22 February.
WTO members noted the sharp decline in least-developed countries’ (LDCs) participation in world trade since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at a meeting of the Sub-Committee on LDCs on 16 February. The chair, Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi (Finland), underlined the need for the international community to work together to promote trade opportunities in LDCs.
The WTO circulated the panel report in the case brought by the Republic of Korea in “United States — Safeguard measure on imports of large residential washers” (DS546).
The South African Institute of Taxation (SAIT) delivered a webinar on issues related to commodity classification and taxation of international trade transactions. The webinar gathered a wide audience of participants from the private sector, including SAIT members and the South African Freight Forwarders Association. Upon the invitation of the SAIT, the webinar panel of experts was joined by a representative of the EU-WCO Programme for Harmonized System in Africa (HS-Africa Programme), funded by the European Union. The webinar offered an opportunity to discuss the latest developments related to Customs and tax policies, with a specific focus on the new version of the Harmonized System. In his interventions, the representative of the HS-Africa Programme briefly introduced the HS emphasizing its role of a common language of international commerce and its importance for trade facilitation. He called attention of participants to some of the most significant changes made in the HS as a result of the HS 2022 amendments, to some aspects of the maintenance of the HS by the WCO, and to the importance of the uniform use of the latest edition of the HS by Customs and trade.