China has notified its decision to appeal the panel report in the case brought by the United States in “China — Additional Duties on Certain Products from the United States” (DS558). The panel report was circulated to WTO members on 16 August. The appeal was circulated to WTO members on 20 September.
Costa Rica has submitted its application to start negotiations on joining the Government Procurement Agreement 2012 (GPA 2012). The bid was submitted to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on 28 September by Costa Rica’s Ambassador to the WTO, Ronald Saborío. “Costa Rica’s accession to the GPA 2012 would open new government procurement markets for our country and enhance our attractiveness for investment,” said Costa Rica’s Trade Minister, Manuel Tovar, in an accompanying statement. It “would also add legal certainty and support to the participation by Costa Rican suppliers in government procurement procedures abroad,” he added.
The Dominican Republic has notified its decision to appeal the panel report in the case brought by Costa Rica in “Dominican Republic — Anti-dumping Measures on Corrugated Steel Bars” (DS605). The panel report was circulated to WTO members on 27 July. The appeal was circulated to WTO members on 22 September.
At a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 19 September, WTO members considered a request from Argentina for the establishment of a dispute panel to review duties imposed by the United States on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) imported from Argentina. Members also received updates regarding dispute cases concerning Chinese duties on Japanese steel products and duties imposed by India on imports of certain high-tech goods.
Ukraine has requested WTO dispute consultations with Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic regarding the continued imposition of import bans by the three countries on certain agricultural products, including grains, from Ukraine. The request was circulated to WTO members on 21 September.
The role of preferential rules of origin in increasing trading opportunities for least-developed countries (LDCs) was the focus of the WTO Sub-Committee on LDCs on 5 October and an experience-sharing session held on the same day. Representatives from the private sector and academia highlighted the challenges and opportunities LDCs face in taking advantage of trade preferences.
The WTO will host a virtual event on 11 October examining trade-facilitating measures related to product rules of origin. The event will focus on initiatives being implemented to simplify rules of origin and facilitate compliance with origin requirements.
A WCO National Workshop on the modernization of the Customs Laboratory in Albania, funded by the Customs Cooperation Fund – Germany, was held at the Customs Laboratory in Tirana from 19 to 23 September 2023. The workshop was facilitated by two experts from the Greek Customs Laboratory (General Chemical State Laboratory of Greece – GCSL).
The Workshop focused on the classification and analysis of polymers and elastomers (Chapters 39 and 40 of the Harmonized System) by using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) with a view to achieving the uniform interpretation and application of the Harmonization System. By introducing actual analysis practices applied by the Greek customs Laboratory (GCSL), comprehensive analysis methods were explained and demonstrated by utilizing the DSC and TGA techniques on a large variety of polymers and other samples brought from the Greek Customs Laboratory (GCSL) and by interpreting the existing thermal curves of samples that have already been run by the Albanian Customs Laboratory. This included the sample preparation, the instruments’ configuration and calibration, the processing and the evaluation of the analysis results.
More specifically, properties like glass transition temperature, melting points, enthalpies of fusion and dropping points were measured on various polymer samples by using the DSC technique. Properties like decomposition temperatures, ash content, volatiles content, waters of crystallization were measured by the TGA technique. Furthermore, classification was also explained among EU Combined Nomenclature Codes of Polymers (Chapter 39) and Elastomers (Chapter 40) providing an in-depth analysis of their classification by utilizing the results of techniques DSC and TGA and also of others like FTIR, etc. The large number of the different polymers and elastomers that are being traded commercially on a global level requires a good knowledge of their properties in order to verify their identity during customs clearance.
The World Customs Organization (WCO), in partnership with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), conducted a workshop on the transposition of the HS 2022, in Asmara, Eritrea, from 4 to 7 September 2023. The workshop was organized under the context of the EU-WCO HS Africa Programme, as part of the work-plan established with COMESA to support its members with the efficient implementation of the Harmonized System and developing tariff and classification competency.
In his opening remarks, the Director General of Eritrean Customs expressed his utmost gratitude and appreciation to the WCO, the COMESA, and the European Union for the support provided to assist in the migration to the HS 2022. He also highlighted the needs within his administration for capacity building and competency development, and committed that he will push towards more active participation in the programme and in the WCO committees and work.