The Third Meeting of the Second Round of Trade Negotiations on TPS-OIC (PRETAS)
Date : 19-22 June 2007 Venue : Ankara - Turkey

The Third Meeting of the Second Round of Trade Negotiations was held in Ankara on 19-22 June 2007 with the participation of delegates from 18 countries of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), 8 OIC member countries attended the meeting as observers and representatives of the OIC General Secretariat, COMCEC Coordination Office, ICDT, IDB and SESRTCIC.

The Meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Dr. Ahmet Tiktik, Undersecretary of State Planning and Organization of the Republic of Turkey and was chaired by H.E. Ulker Guzel Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Trade of the Republic of Turkey.

In the opening session of the meeting, Mr. Atilla Kizilarslan read out the message from H.E. Kursad Tuzmen, Minister of State in Charge of Foreign Trade. H.E. Dr. Ahmet Tiktik presented an inaugural statement. The message of H.E. Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC was read out by H.E. Ambassador Nabika Diallo, Advisor to the Secretary General of the OIC and representatives of the delegations presented statements of their countries.

In the working session H.E. Ulker Guzel, Chairman of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) made an opening statement. The TNC adopted the agenda and the work program of the meeting. A presentation was made by the TNC Secretariat on the background and the issues to be discussed during the Second Round of Trade Negotiations. The Secretariat stated that the TNC had to finalize the Draft TPSOIC Rules of Origin before November 2007 if the target date of January 2009 to establish the TPS-OIC is to be adequately met. The Secretariat pointed out the necessity of finalizing ratification of the PRETAS and the Rules of Origin by mid 2008 to give room for final adjustments. The Secretariat considered the Draft of the TPS-OIC Rules of Origin. Except for articles 2, 5, 12 and 33 the Draft TPSOIC Rules of Origin was adopted by the TNC and agreed to submit it for signature to the Second Meeting of Ministers of Commerce, which will be held in September 2007. It was decided that the articles stated above would be finalized during the Fourth Session of the TNC, which will precede the Ministerial Meeting in September 2007.

Some countries made observations on certain articles (Egypt raised concerns regarding Article 17). The Committee also decided not to open the articles that were adopted for further discussion. The Committee also asked the member states to assign delegations with full authorization to the Fourth and last session with a view to present the TPS-OIC Rules of Origin for signature to the ministers. The Committee reiterated the mandate given by the Ministers of Commerce of the Member Countries of the TNC for finalizing the TPSOIC Rules of Origin before the 23rd COMCEC in November 2007.

The Committee observed that none of the participating states has submitted data regarding Para-Tariff and Non-Tariff measures since the Second Meeting held in March. It was agreed by the Committee members that the data would be presented to the TNC Secretariat before the next meeting. The Committee took note of proposals made by Jordan and Turkey and the presentation made by the ICDT on the method of eliminating Para-Tariff and Non-Tariff Measures.

The Committee considered the status of signature and ratification of the TPS-OIC Agreements namely: Framework Agreement and PRETAS. The State of Qatar was welcomed as a new member. The Committee requested the OIC General Secretariat to circulate information to the member states and the TNC Secretariat regarding new accessions to the agreements.

The Committee requested the ICDT to organize a seminar in cooperation with the OIC General Secretariat, the COMCEC Coordination Office and IDB for the benefit of the WAMEU countries and to encourage the members of WAMEU to join the TPSOIC as a group.

The Secretariat informed the Committee that it is deliberating on the possibility of holding the Fourth TNC Session in the first half of September in Ankara/Turkey. The TNC decided that the Secretariat will communicate with the TNC member countries regarding the date and venue of the next meeting of the TNC.

In the closing session the Committee adopted the report of the Third Meeting of the Second Round of Trade Negotiations. The participating states expressed their gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the TNC Secretariat.