Argentina initiates WTO dispute complaint regarding US measures on certain tubular goods

Argentina has requested WTO dispute consultations with the United States regarding certain US anti-dumping measures on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from Argentina as well as Section 771(7)(G) of the US Tariff Act of 1930. The request was circulated to WTO members on 25 May.

Côte d’Ivoire upgrades its skills in tariff classification and prepares for the launch of its advance rulings system

From 24 to 28 April and from 8 to 12 May 2023, two national workshops on the Harmonized System and commodity classification were held in Grand Bassam and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, respectively. Coordinating with the initiative of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GaTF) and under the aegis of the EU-WCO Programme for the Harmonized System in Africa (HS Africa Programme) funded by the European Union, these two workshops are part of the comprehensive package of assistance to provide joint support to Côte d’Ivoire in bringing into operation a modern advance rulings mechanism, which will meet the requirements of Article 3 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement and the expectations of the global trading community.

Dispute panel established to review EU duties on Indonesian steel products

At the request of Indonesia, WTO members agreed at a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body on 30 May to establish a dispute panel to review anti-dumping measures imposed by the European Union on imports of stainless steel cold-rolled flat products from Indonesia. Members also received an update on the state of play in the informal discussions on dispute settlement reform.

India plans to challenge EU carbon tax at WTO

Indian plans to file a complaint to the World Trade Organisation over the European Union’s proposal to impose 20% to 35% tariffs on imports of high-carbon goods like steel, iron ore and cement from India.  This is part of New Delhi’s strategy to combat the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) designed to push local industries to invest in new technologies to bring down carbon emissions, while also raising the issue in bilateral talks.

India appeals panel report regarding Indian tech tariffs

India notified its decision to appeal the panel report in the case brought by Japan in “India — Tariff Treatment on Certain Goods” (DS584). The panel report was circulated to WTO members on 17 April. The appeal was circulated to WTO members on 25 May.

North Macedonia set to become new party to government procurement pact

Parties to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA 2012) adopted today (7 June) a decision on the terms of North Macedonia’s accession to the GPA. The decision, taken at a meeting of the Committee on Government Procurement, paves the way for North Macedonia to become the 49th WTO member to be covered by the Agreement.

The WCO publishes Report on the HS symposia series on "Visualising a greener HS”

The Report presents comments on the outcomes of the symposia series on "Visualising a greener HS”, organized by the WCO, with the financial support of the European Union, and were held from October 2022 to January 2023. This symposia series aimed to give a more global focus to the discussions and to offer new perspectives to assist WCO Members and trade stakeholders. It was focused on what changes were needed to make the HS even greener in its future editions. It was recognised in the symposia that the importance of the issues highlighted requires a concentrated focus on finding what can be done to adapt the HS to enable environment-related trade measures to be effective and efficient. To turn discussions into HS provisions will require Members, IGOs, and the WCO to work together to bring these ideas into achievable proposals for HS changes. Therefore, this document is also a call to action to ensure that these discussions translate into tangible results.

Turkmenistan begins preparations for engaging in accession talks with WTO members

The Government of Turkmenistan hosted on 30 May a Round Table on WTO Accession, co-organized with the WTO Secretariat and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), to advance the country’s accession preparations. The event followed the announcement of the establishment of a special Working Commission on the development of the Memorandum on the Foreign Trade Regime (MFTR), the first critical document to launch the WTO accession process.

The SECO-WCO GTFP continues supporting Uzbekistan on the implementation of the WTO TFA

From 30 May to 1 June 2023, within the framework of the SECO-WCO Global Trade Facilitation Programme (GTFP), WCO experts delivered a workshop on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to the State Customs Committee of Uzbekistan (SCC) in Tashkent. The workshop was held with the participation of officials from the Customs Administration and representatives from other government agencies. The agenda was built around the provisions identified as a priority during the previous Mercator follow-up mission held in March 2023, inter alia, advance rulings, risk management, border agency cooperation, and time release study, while at the same time highlighting the importance of interagency coordination, the role of the NCTF, and various coordination mechanisms.         

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosts a WCO MENA Regional Workshop implementation of an Advance Ruling system on tariff classification and rules of origin

Under the sponsorship of the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the World Customs Organization (WCO) organised a MENA Regional Workshop on implementation of an Advance Ruling system on tariff classification and rules of origin as required under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement for the MENA Region. The Workshop was held from Sunday 28 May to Thursday 1 June 2023 in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and was conducted in Arabic and French with simultaneous interpretation into both languages. It was carried out at the ZATCA Academy and officially opened by welcoming remarks from the ZATCA Learning and Development Management Lead Expert. 20 Customs officers from Algeria, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, and Tunisia participated in this workshop, facilitated by the WCO Secretariat, and a WCO Accredited Expert on Harmonized system from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the Workshop, participants had the opportunity to engage in informative presentations on advance rulings, as well as explore new tools developed for tariff classification and origin infrastructure.

WCO Eastern and Southern Africa Region is set to tackle RoO challenges under the WCO-RoO Africa Programme

The World Customs Organization (WCO), under the framework of the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme funded by the European Union, and in partnership with the ESA ROCB and the RTC Mombasa held regional consultations for the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and their members. The consultations were held in Mombasa, Kenya, on 5 June 2023 and were followed by a training workshop on rules of origin on 6-9 June. The objective of the consultations was to discuss the state of play for the implementation of applicable preferential rules of origin and trade agreements in the region, and address challenges in the implementation of rules of origin (RoO) in the region. The consultations was an opportunity to take stock of capacity building and technical assistance needs, and consider best avenues for regional and national initiatives focusing on RoO.

The WCO publishes Report on the HS symposia series on "Visualising a greener HS”

The Report presents comments on the outcomes of the symposia series on "Visualising a greener HS”, organized by the WCO, with the financial support of the European Union, and were held from October 2022 to January 2023. This symposia series aimed to give a more global focus to the discussions and to offer new perspectives to assist WCO Members and trade stakeholders. It was focused on what changes were needed to make the HS even greener in its future editions. It was recognised in the symposia that the importance of the issues highlighted requires a concentrated focus on finding what can be done to adapt the HS to enable environment-related trade measures to be effective and efficient. To turn discussions into HS provisions will require Members, IGOs, and the WCO to work together to bring these ideas into achievable proposals for HS changes. Therefore, this document is also a call to action to ensure that these discussions translate into tangible results.

 WTO appraises EU’s trade policy and practices

On 5th June, WTO Members started the fifteenth Trade Policy Review of the European Union in Geneva, examining the EU’s trade policy and practices from the end of 2019 until the end of 2022. The peer-review exercise is crucial to the WTO’s monitoring and transparency functions. Addressing the WTO Membership this morning, the head of the EU’s trade department, highlighted the EU’s steadfast commitment to openness and multilateralism amidst serious external shocks, rising trade tensions and uncertainty. She elaborated on the EU’s non-discriminatory and transparent response to the unprecedented environmental crisis through its Green Deal and climate policy, stressing the EU’s willingness to engage in dialogue with its trading partners on measures like its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) or its deforestation legislation. Meanwhile, WTO Members praised the EU’s efforts to help reform the WTO’s rulemaking, deliberative, dispute settlement and monitoring functions.