The meeting was intended to each subject under “Wagon 1” and determining where we stand and the way forward on each.
We started by discussing Horizontal Mechanism, where the Chair suggested to move ahead on a provisional basis as indicated under the Ministerial guidance. The US started by stating that it is not willing to look and it cannot support it unless it is part of a whole package that includes a good tariff outcome. The EU acknowledged that the proposal was ripe and only required minor technical discussions. The EU supported the Chair’s statement and asked for dedicated discussions and a simulation/model in order to preview and determine how the HM would work.
Under remanufactured goods, the Chair mentioned that the current negotiations include a draft decision and plans to organize a symposium/workshop. The US stated that it had been very active on this proposal and held various meetings about it; however it had not received any feedback from the majority of members. India, did not oppose the symposium as such, but stated that if it were to take place it should be done in an inclusive manner unlike what happened in a similar event under TRIPs. Brazil and Turkey stated that their previously raised concerns remain and questioned the benefits and usefulness of a symposium at this stage.
On textile labeling, the Chair noted that the negotiations had advanced slowly but substantially and that he believed this could be an area were progress could be made.
On Transparency, the Chair believed that as in textile labeling, progress can be made. The US noted that as in textile labeling, it would be willing to discuss this matter if it leads to an ambitious result. Also, it said that it was worried about opening it to discussion would lead to backtracking. India shared US’ backtracking concerns and warned against an overlap with the TBT Triennial Review. New Zealand, EU and Ecuador disagreed on the backtracking, saying that this could be mistaken for a lack of transparency and the input of new ideas and comments from Members who were not initially involved.
On International standards, the US stated that these discussions should be dealt with under TBT. Many other Members recognized the linkages with TBT and the EU highlighted that this was probably the most important subject but the most difficult as well.
On conformity assessment related to electronics, the Chair stated that two delegations (EU, US) had promised to bring a text forward for discussion, but stated that he has not received it yet.
On Autos, the EU highlighted that there is a proposal on the table, but the US stated that without a broader momentum it will be impossible to look at this very complex proposal for fears of bringing this discussion to a halt.
On Chemicals, the different proposals by the EU and Argentina/Brazil/India seemed to be widely different and without any momentum, the US warned that it would be impossible to move forward on it. Also, the US warned that this topic was the reason for reaching a final impasse on the negotiations last time around. India stated that since there seem to be many disagreements on this it might be worthwhile to bring the discussion to the room for input from all Members in hopes of finding a way forward.
After this, the Chair concluded by saying that it he was glad to find interest from some Members to continue working. He said he would convene small groups in due time to work on common ground where there is one and work towards one where there is none. He also said that on the TBT overlap he will consult with TBT and finally he also said he would be mindful of having a balance between the small groups and the open-ended sessions.