Shipbuilding Subsidy Talks Paused

Monday, October 03, 2005
Senior government officials meeting in Paris agreed to a pause in their work on an agreement to tackle market-distorting measures in the shipbuilding industry. The pause will provide participants with an opportunity to explore the scope for advancing the talks in key areas and to strengthen the industry support required for the negotiations to succeed.

The decision was made at a high level meeting of the Special Negotiating Group on a new Shipbuilding Agreement. Attended by officials from 26 OECD and non-OECD economies, the meeting was called by the Chairman, Switzerland’s Ambassador to the OECD, Wilhelm Jaggi, in an effort to deal with a number of key issues where blockages had developed in the course of the normal negotiating process. The meeting at high level was expected to enable some political judgements to be made in order to establish whether there was political support among governments for the successful conclusion of an agreement.

Among the issues particularly identified as requiring serious negotiation was achieving the right balance between the support measures discipline and differential treatment for developing and emerging economies, and whether some clauses related to pricing should be included in the agreement.

Following frank and open discussions during the meeting, the Chairman concluded that there was insufficient common ground for the successful conclusion of an agreement, in particular with regard to the issue of pricing.

He then proposed a pause in the negotiations in order to allow the parties to reflect on their positions, to talk to each other and to observe developments in the market. He suggested that the negotiations could be resumed when the conditions for success had improved.

The delegates at the high level meeting accepted this proposal by the Chairman, who then decided to pause the negotiations. A new date for the negotiations will be fixed when key participants indicate that they are ready to resume.

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