By Peter Ungphakorn
POSTED DECEMBER 9, 2021 | UPDATED DECEMBER 9, 2021
Note: the official draft text is available as a public document here. It was circulated on November 23, 2021 by Ambassador Gloria Abraham Peralta of Costa Rica, the present chair of the negotiations. See the WTO news story of November 25 on the release and discussion. Links to all sections are here.
This page combines the two sections of the text on transparency, the chair’s assessment, and her draft
9.1 Members, including proponents on this topic, have signalled their readiness to consider a horizontal decision complemented by transparency-related elements incorporated in topic-by-topic sections, which I have already addressed above.
9.2 Generally speaking, Members have expressed their readiness to engage in a post-MC12 work programme aimed at reviewing, streamlining and updating transparency requirements, as well as review in parallel of information technology tools through the Agriculture Informational Management System as suggested in the text contained in JOB/AG/215.
9.3 The draft text aims at reflecting the efforts made by both proponents and non-proponents to develop some possible compromise texts. The recognition of the capacity constraints of some developing Members is also an important element of this section.
9.4 The work programme also includes a possible timeframe for the adoption of a revised G/AG/2 document on notification requirements and formats, which in my view should be considered in the context of the timeframes on the other topics and overall balance of the agricultural package.
IN DRAFT MINISTERIAL DECISION
47. We reaffirm the importance of the implementation of existing transparency requirements under Article 18 of the Agreement on Agriculture as well as those stemming from relevant Ministerial Decisions and undertake to make the necessary efforts to provide outstanding notifications and responses to questionnaires, prioritizing those for the most recent years.
48. Further to the provisions in Article 18 of the Agreement on Agriculture and in document G/AG/2 on “Notification Requirements and Formats”, we commit to reviewing transparency provisions to improve monitoring in all areas of agriculture by the Committee on Agriculture.
49. We direct the WTO Secretariat to provide information on a regular basis to the Committee on Agriculture on available technical assistance and capacity-building support, including examples of recent technical cooperation activities, in an effort to assist developing country Members to prepare notifications and fulfil other relevant transparency and monitoring requirements.
50. We welcome the development of information technology (IT) tools through the Agriculture Informational Management System (Ag-IMS) to facilitate data processing and on-line data submission by Members in implementing their notifications obligations and other relevant transparency and monitoring requirements. We shall undertake a regular review of the IT tools in the Committee on Agriculture with assistance from the WTO Secretariat, with a view to putting in place a methodology to permit regular updates to reflect global IT developments.
51. In light of the various transparency-related elements contained in the previous sections, we agree to work in the Committee on Agriculture to review, update and streamline as necessary through an evidence-based process the transparency provisions contained in document G/AG/2, with a view to adopting a revised version of document G/AG/2 by the end of 2023.
52. Due consideration shall be given to capacity constraints faced by some developing countries including especially the least developed among them, notably based on Members’ assessment of the reasons accounting for the low level of compliance with transparency requirements by some Members.