Introduction to WTO and ICT

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1 Introduction to WTO and ICT Maria-Alejandra Alvarez World Bank Training on Trade in Information and Communications Services Geneva, Switzerland April, 2007

2 What is the WTO? An International Organisation resulting from negotiations where: Members negotiate rules and commitments Members monitor the implementation of those rules and commitments Members resolve disputes Members receive support from a Secretariat to achieve those goals. The WTO is a Member-driven organisation that provides the framework for the conduct of trade relations by facilitating the implementation, administration and operation of the agreements

3 What is the WTO? (2) The corner stone of the multilateral trading system Trade in Goods Trade in Services Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Core functions described in the Agreements Rights and obligations Dispute Settlement Trade Policy Review Assistance to Developing countries

4 The WTO formal structure Ministerial Conference GC as Dispute Settlement Body GC as Trade Policy Review Body General Council (GC) Doha Development Agenda Negotiations TNC and its Bodies Dispute Settlement Panels Appellate Body Other Committees, Subcommittees Working Parties and Working Groups Council for Trade In Goods Council for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Council for Trade In Services Plurilateral Agreements Eg. Trade and Development Trade and Environment Accession Committees Eg. Market Access TBT, Licensing, Valuation Committees Financial Services Specific Commitments Eg.Government Procurement Information Technology Agreement Working Parties Rules Domestic Regulations

5 WTO: Rules and disciplines 10 WTO WTO Agreement 1A Multilateral Agreements on Trade in Goods 1B GATS 1C TRIPS 2 Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes 3 Trade Policy Review Mechanism 4 Plurilateral Trade Agreements Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization

6 WTO Fundamentals Non-discrimination Principle Liberalization Principle Transparency Exceptions Special and Differential Treatment (S&D) Under the WTO

7 7 S&D Treatment under the WTO There are 145 S&D provisions throughout the WTO Agreements aimed at: Increasing trade opportunities of developing WTO members Calling on industrialised WTO members to safeguard the interests of developing ones Flexibility of commitments, of action, and of use of policy instruments Transitional time periods for implementing WTO Agreements Technical Assistance More favourable treatment of least-developed WTO members

8 8 S&D Treatment under the WTO Paragraph 44 of Doha Declaration: We reaffirm that provisions for special and differential treatment are an integral part of the WTO Agreements. We note the concerns expressed regarding their operation in addressing specific constraints faced by developing countries, particularly least-developed countries....we therefore agree that all special and differential treatment provisions shall be reviewed with a view to strengthening them and making them more precise, effective and operational...

9 ICT-related instruments Technical Barriers to Trade

10 Technical Barriers to Trade In line with WTO fundamentals (MFN, NT, Transparency...) ICT equipment use of international standards certification requirements approval

11 ICT-related instruments Technical Barriers to Trade Information Technology

12 Information Technology Agreement Plurilateral initiative among WTO Members and acceding states To eliminate tariffs on information technology products critical to ICT growth IT products are those listed in the Attachments to the Declaration Applied on an MFN basis

13 Information Technology Products Computers Telecommunications Semiconductors Semiconductor manufacturing equipment Software Scientific Instruments

14 ITA Today 70 Participants (including the Member states of the European Communities) Accounting for approximately 97 % of world trade in information technology products Trade of IT products covered by the ITA has been as high as 16.5% in 2000, dropping slightly to 12% of world trade today.

15 Major ITA Products Computer Telecom Instruments Semi-conductor manuf & equip Parts Software

16 ITA Trade by Region Imports 46.2% 26.3% 17.2% 5.3% Asia North America Western Europe Latin America Africa Transition Economies Middle East Exports 61.4% 19.1% 12.1% 4.3%

17 Average tariffs of Non-ITA Members by ITA product Software Telecom Computer Instruments Parts Semiconductor

18 ICT-related instruments Technical Barriers to Trade Information Technology Government Procurement

19 Government Procurement and WTO Fundamentals Government procurement historically excluded from key principles (MFN, NT, Transparency) Goods (1947) : GATT Articles III:8 and XVII:2 Services (1994) : GATS Article XIII:1 Key elements (c.f. the definitions in Arts. III.8 and XVII of the GATT 1947 and Art. XIII.1 of the GATS): Procurement by governmental agencies of products or services for governmental purposes (and not with a view to commercial resale or use in the production of goods for commercial sale)

20 Main Principles National Treatment / treatment no less favourable than that accorded to any other Party Basic transparency obligations (publication of laws, regulations, etc) Provisions to ensure fair and transparent procedures Exceptions Special and Differential Treatment

21 GPA Coverage Goods Services Entities Threshold Central, sub-central and other entities

22 GPA Coverage Goods and services: Telecom operators: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Co (not for procurement of public electrical telecom equipment and of services related to operational safety of telecommunications) Korea Telecom (except purchases of common telecom commodity products and telecom network equipment) Bezek (Israel): limited to US goods and services, but willing to negotiate opening of telecom sector with other GPA members on reciprocal basis Telecom services Canada: electronic/voice mail, on-line information and data base retrieval, electronic data interchange, fax services EC, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland : telecommunication services, except voice telephony, telex, radiotelephony, paging and satellite services Hong Kong, China: value-added telecom services, basic telecom services, telecomrelated services. But: subject to exclusive license Japan: limited to electronic/voice mail, on-line information and data base retrieval, electronic data interchange, fax services, code and protocol conversion, on-line information and/or data processingkorea: limited to on-line information and data base retrieval, electronic data interchange, fax services Singapore: limited to electronic/voice mail, on-line information and data base retrieval, electronic data interchange US (only country following negative list approach): enhanced (value-added) telecommunications services

23 ICT-related instruments Technical Barriers to Trade Information Technology Government Procurement Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

24 TRIPS Features protection and enforcement of copyright and related rights protection and enforcement of trademarks new technologies and access to technology

25 TRIPS & ICT Trade conducted electronically generally has a relatively high intellectual property content The creation of a secure and predictable legal environment for intellectual property rights can foster the development of e-commerce Protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and the transfer and dissemination of technology.

26 ICT-related instruments Technical Barriers to Trade Information Technology Government Procurement Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights General Agreement on Trade in Services

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