AGREEMENT REACHED ON MAKEUP OF WTO TEXTILE MONITORING BODY
Byline: John Zaracostas
GENEVA — A compromise hammered out by negotiators from industrial importing and developing exporting nations on the composition of the textile monitoring body cleared the way for its approval Tuesday by the World Trade Organization.
The TMB will be the WTO unit monitoring the 10-year phaseout of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement, as provided by the GATT Uruguay Round.
The compromise provides an allocation in the first year of an even five seats each to exporters and importers, and a distribution of 5 1/2-4 1/2 in favor of exporters in the second year, This is very near to a compromise put forward by WTO director-general Peter Sutherland in late December, when the battle over the makeup of the TMB was stalemated.
“It’s a mixed bag, but a fairly constructive outcome,” said an official who took part in marathon negotiations over the weekend and Monday between officials from the European Union, U.S., Canada, Pakistan, India, Hong Kong, and top WTO officials.
“We’re willing to live with it,” said a senior U.S. official.
The EU, which had taken a hardline stance to insure an even split for the duration of the TMB, in the end also reluctantly went along with the compromise. An accord was also reached to elect Hungary’s top envoy to the WTO, Ambassador Andras Szepesi, to a three-year term as chairman of the 10-member TMB.
The breakdown of the TMB membership is as follows.
Among the importers one permanent seat goes to the U.S., EU, Japan, and Canada.
Similarly, among exporters, one seat is reserved for an ASEAN nation (on rotation); one alternating between Hong Kong and South Korea; one for Latin American and Caribbean member nations; one alternating between India, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, and finally one to be filled by China or Pakistan. In the event that China does not become a WTO member by December 31, another exporter would be proposed by WTO.
Finally, the mixed seat would be filled by Norway, as an importer, throughout the first year. In the second year, this seat would alternate between Turkey, as an exporter, and nations from Eastern Europe and Switzerland.
In other WTO affairs, member nations to the body, which sets the rules for most trade in goods and services, also agreed for the first WTO Ministerial to be held in Singapore in 1996, and also appointed the Ambassador from Singapore, K. Kesavapany, as chairman of the WTO’s ruling general council. — Fairchild News Service