Organization RESTRICTED S/CSC/M/51
18 December 2009 (09-6600) Committee on Specific Commitments
REPORT OF THE MEETING HELD ON 6 NOVEMBER 2009
Note by the Secretariat
The Committee on Specific Commitments (CSC) held a meeting on 6 November 2009, chaired by Mr. Jean-Marc Mignon from France. The agenda for the meeting, contained in WTO/AIR/3467, was adopted.
Relationship between old and New commitments
The Chairman recalled that the Secretariat's Note on past practice in incorporation and verification of the results of market access negotiations, contained in document S/CSC/W/55, had been circulated to delegations.
A representative from the Secretariat introduced the Note. The Note consisted of three parts. Part I examined past GATT and GATS practice in incorporating the results of market access negotiations. The focus was on using the method of protocol. Normally any Member was entitled to add new commitments or improve existing commi
Organization RESTRICTED S/CSC/M/37
2 September 2005 (05-3828) Committee on Specific Commitments
REPORT OF THE MEETING HELD ON 21 June 2005
Note by the Secretariat
The Committee on Specific Commitments (CSC) held a meeting on 21 June 2005. The agenda for the meeting is contained in WTO/AIR/2593. As no points were raised under Other Business, the agenda was adopted as proposed in the airgram.
A. Appointment of the Chairperson
The outgoing Chairman, Mr Roberto Bosch (Argentina) stated that according to the rules of procedure for meetings of the Committee, the hand-over of the chairmanship should have taken place at the end of the last meeting. However, since the consultations on the chairmanships of the subsidiary bodies to the Council for Trade in Services had not been finalized at the time, it was decided that the hand-over would take place at the beginning of the current meeting. Accordingly, he proposed that the Committee elect Mr Nichola
Organization RESTRICTED S/CSC/M/36
14 April 2005 (05-1544) Committee on Specific Commitments
REPORT OF THE MEETING HELD ON 11 February 2005
Note by the Secretariat
The Committee on Specific Commitments (CSC) held a meeting on 11 February 2005. The agenda for the meeting is contained in WTO/AIR/2492. As no points were raised under Other Business, the agenda was adopted as proposed in the airgram.
A. Editorial Conventions for the Submission of revised offers
The Chairman recalled that editorial conventions for the submission of initial offers had been set out in JOB (02)/88. The purpose of these conventions was to facilitate the comparability of initial offers with existing schedules. As these conventions had been generally adhered to by Members, initial offers typically indicated new text in bold and deleted text in strikethrough; technical changes that did not alter the scope or substance of an existing commitment usually appeared in bold
Organization RESTRICTED S/CSC/M/33
21 July 2004 (04-3156) Committee on Specific Commitments
REPORT OF THE MEETING HELD ON 23 JUNE 2004
Note by the Secretariat
The Committee on Specific Commitments (CSC) held a meeting on 23 June 2004. The agenda for the meeting is contained in WTO/AIR/2336.
The Chairman suggested to delete item "C. Organization of Future Work" from the proposed agenda, and to address issues related to future work of the Committee under the items "A. Classification Issues", and "B. Scheduling Issues," respectively. Under Other Business, he intended to invite a representative from the Secretariat to inform the Committee on the ongoing work concerning electronic schedules.
The representative of Hong Kong, China wished to raise under Other Business the application of the procedures under Article XXI.
The Committee adopted the agenda with the proposed change and the addition of the items raised under Other Business.
Organization RESTRICTED S/CSC/M/31
14 January 2004 (04-0112) Committee on Specific Commitments
REPORT OF THE MEETING HELD ON 4 DECEMBER 2003
Note by the Secretariat
The Committee on Specific Commitments held a meeting on 4 December 2003. Rather, she had stated that it was very difficult to distinguish between technical and non-technical issues, a point that had been raised also by at least one other delegation at the last meeting. adoPtion of THE ANNUAL REPORT TO THE COUNCIL FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
The Chairperson recalled that in July the Committee had updated its annual report for 2002 to inform the Ministerial Conference of the developments in the first half of 2003. In the current negotiations, several developed countries had included energy services in their requests to Indonesia, and had called on Indonesia to make, inter alia, additional commitments in the energy sector. In the paper, his delegation had classified energy services in five categories: (i) upstream activity, which comprised non-renewable as well as renewable energy; (ii) down-stream activity, which related to energy transformation, transportation and distribution services; (iii) energy commercialization, which consisted of the wholesale supply of energy, retail supply of energy and commission agent services; (iv) professional services, which included expertise supply services, as well as human resource training and development services; and finally, (v) other energy service activities, which covered any activity not listed above. Commenting preliminarily on the communication from Indonesia, it appeared that the classification proposal had a certain internal logic: it was helpful, for example, that all engineering services were grouped together irrespective of whether they were used by the environmental industry or the energy industry. Along these lines, Indonesia's paper stated that the management and utilization of natural wealth and resources should not impair the inherent right of all peoples to enjoy and utilize fully and freely their natural wealth and resources. Finally, she noted that Indonesia's paper was presented as a classification of energy services, whereas the guideline that her delegation had proposed jointly with other delegations did not attempt to create new classifications for the sector, but rather to build on the existing W/120 structure to facilitate scheduling of a meaningful set of energy and energy-related services. The representative of Norway stated that the energy sector was crucial to any society, and it was therefore of greatest importance to ensure maximum freedom and flexibility for Members to undertake commitments according to their level of development. His delegation had included the value chain in its initial offer, and had attached an overview of the value chain to the offer to make it easier for Members to identify the energy related services in the schedule. The representative of the Philippines welcomed the premise set out in the Indonesian paper, particularly the recognition of Members' national policy objectives and the consequent right to regulate the supply of energy services, as well as Members' inherent right to the ownership of their natural resources. at a dedicated informal meeting on 20 November, he had presented a Chairman's Note (JOB (03)/213), in which he had tried to summarize the various issues as they had emerged from prior contributions and interventions by delegations. However, if it was indeed the purpose of Article XX:2 to stipulate a hierarchy between Articles XVI and XVII, then the question arose why the Article was worded the way it was; rather than simply stating that market access extended into some elements of national treatment, or that there was a hierarchy between those Articles. Finally, approach four, where "None" would override "Unbound", was the only scenario from which it would follow that measures inconsistent with both Articles XVI and XVII would have to be inscribed in both columns to provide a condition or qualification to Article XVI and XVII. Somewhere, there might be a political intention to inscribe contents of a restrictive nature, which technically would remain possible under conditions and qualifications. However, in this instance, Members were faced with a technical problem on which there seemed to be little progress, and there was a negotiating round that offered the potential to deal with a quirk in legal interpretation or scheduling patterns. Article XVI dealt with market access restrictions, Article XVII with national treatment restrictions, and Article XX:2 with those restrictions that combined market access and national treatment restrictions. Although paragraph 19 of the paper stated that approach number four did not imply any hierarchy between Articles, it nevertheless advocated a solution by which a "None" would override "Unbound. One needed to be careful with the third and fourth approach, because these approaches could lead Members to interpret the scope of commitments in a way that might either diminish the commitments or change their direction. A measure would then either fall within Article XVI or Article XVII but not within both at the same time, thereby eliminating the need for deciding which Article should take precedence over the other because the two Articles would not be applicable at the same time. If the national treatment column was reserved entirely to any discriminatory measures, and the market access column was entirely reserved for quantitative or other restrictions on legal form or equity, then a decision might be easier to make than a decision between measures which were quantitative and discriminatory and measures which were non-quantitative and discriminatory.
No matter how one read Article XX:2, if "None" was scheduled in the market access column, and "Unbound" in the national treatment column, it could hardly be argued that the Member could still introduce a measure under Article XVI which was discriminatory in nature, because such a measure, by the logic of Article XX:2, should have appeared in the market access column of the schedule. it seemed that the following issues needed to be examined: (i) whether there were any substantive differences between removing or retaining the overlapping area; (ii) whether the notion of market access restrictions should be reduced to their non-discriminatory form, and discrimination be reserved in entirety to national treatment, in terms of GATS architecture, conceptual tidiness and practical ease in scheduling; and (iii), whether there should there be any hierarchy between "None" and "Unbound". One should also ask whether paragraph 2 of Article XX should in any way be read in conjunction with paragraph 1 in order to determine what was meant by "measures inconsistent with both Articles XVI and XVII".
She recalled that, in the informal discussion, Chile had asked whether situations involving an "Unbound" were actually situations where Article XX:2 applied. As everyone recognized, Article XVI dealt with both discriminatory and non-discriminatory aspects of the six types of measures contained therein.
The representative of Australia said that option five should only relate to new or improved commitments, but could not serve to clarify existing problems through applying any of the less liberal interpretations or approaches such as, for example, option three. a situation of "Unbound" and "None" could become "Unbound except for measures falling under Article XVII" and "None," or it could become "None" and "None". Third, if Article XX:2 indeed contained a third type of measure, it would be difficult to see why Article XVI:2 (f) already covered a measure of this third type, which would fall under the Brazilian approach under Article XX:2.
Further to the comments made by delegations, the Chairperson suggested that he would explore with delegations whether any additional material for discussion or other motivation for an informal meeting existed among delegations.
Addressing the suggestion by Brazil for Secretariat research on the question of hierarchy in WTO Agreements, a representative of the Secretariat noted that there were some clear principles establishing hierarchy, for example between exception provisions and provisions establishing obligations. As there were no interventions under the agenda item of Other Business, he suggested that, in accordance with the practice of grouping meetings of subsidiary bodies close to meetings of the Council, the next formal meeting be held before the next regular meeting of the CTS. __________
This document has been prepared under the Secretariat's own responsibility and without prejudice to the positions of Members and to their rights and obligations under the WTO.