Ambassador Esteban Conejos Jr. Appointed to the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Philippine envoy appointed to WTO management board

A Philippine diplomat has been appointed to the Management Board of the Advisory Center on World Trade Organization Law (ACWL), the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

The DFA said Philippine permanent representative to the WTO Esteban Conejos Jr. will have a two-year term and may be reappointed for another two years.

"Conejos succeeded Ambassador Bozkurt Aran of Turkey. His term will be for two years, and he will be eligible for reappointment for a further two years," the DFA said.

ACWL aims to provide developing countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with the legal capability necessary to enable them to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the WTO.

Conejos was unanimously nominated by the ACWL's Category B member countries to be their representative to the board, the DFA said.

These countries include Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam.

The Philippines has been a member of ACWL since its establishment in 2001.

It has benefited from services such as legal assistance in dispute settlement cases, legal opinions, training courses, and a secondment program for government trade lawyers.

During the past 10 years, ACWL had been involved in 21 percent of all new WTO dispute settlement proceedings.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy earlier said the ACWL helps make sure the legal benefits of the WTO are shared among all members.

Lamy added the ACWL contributes to the effectiveness of the WTO's dispute settlement procedures, and to the realization of the WTO's development objectives.

Management board

The Management Board makes decisions to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the ACWL and reports to the General Assembly.

It has six persons serving in their personal capacities who have been selected on the basis of their professional qualifications in the field of WTO law or international trade relations and development.

Three Board members are nominated by the developing country members, two by the developed country members and one by the LDCs. The Executive Director serves ex officio on the Board.

The DFA said Conejos attended his first Management Board meeting on Nov. 7, and was welcomed by other board members, including ACWL Executive Director Niall Meagher.

At the meeting, they discussed the operational and financial standing of ACWL, as well as the accession of Cuba.

G-33 meet

On behalf of Indonesia, the Philippines through Conejos chaired the G-33 Heads of Delegation meeting on November 7 – a tradition being observed every time the coordinator of the group is not available.

The G-33, previously known as the Alliance for Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism, is a coalition of 46 developing countries pressing for S&DT flexibility for developing countries in the agriculture Doha Round of talks for ensuring food security, livelihood security and rural development.

Its key members include Barbados, China, Dominican Republic, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya, Korea, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

The G-33 discussed the Indian proposal entitled "Some Elements... for Early Agreement to Address Food Security Issues," which India and the Philippines are seeking for G-33 sponsorship.

The proposal under "Green Box" of the WTO Agreement of Agriculture aims to exempt developing countries from factoring in government support payments for public stock-holding for food security purposes.

It particularly focuses on the procurement from "low-income or resource poor producers" and provision of subsidized food prices for urban and rural poor in their AMS ("trade-distorting subsidy") monetary limits.

The proposal is part of the considered "80 percent agreed and stabilized areas" in the 2008 Chair's agriculture modalities text which India and the Philippines hope to be harvested early during the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in December 2012, in advance of the full conclusion of the Doha Round.

The proposal may be submitted to the COA-SS Chair John Adank and circulated to all WTO members before the agriculture talks resume on 16 November 2012 in Geneva.

GMA News

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