The Review Meeting of the Trade Negotiating Committee was held in Ankara from the 17th to the 19th of June 2008 with the participation of delegates from 16 countries of the Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC), 7 OIC member countries attended the meeting as observers. SESRIC represented the OIC General Secretariat and representatives of COMCEC Coordination Office, ICDT, IDB, SESRIC and WAEMU also attended the meeting.
The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Ulker GUZEL, Deputy Undersecretary of Foreign Trade of the Republic of Turkey.
In the opening session of the meeting, the message of H.E. Kursad TUZMEN, Minister of State, in charge of Foreign Trade in the Republic of Turkey was read out by Mr. Attila KIZILARSLAN, Head of Department, Directorate General of Agreements, Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade of the Republic of Turkey. H.E. Halil Ibrahim AKCA, Acting Undersecretary of the State Planning Organization of Turkey presented an inaugural statement. The message of H.E. Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the OIC was read out by Mr. Nabil DABOUR, Senior Researcher and Acting Director of the Department of Economic and Social Research at SESRIC. The meeting was then addressed by heads of delegation of the Kingdom of Morocco, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In the working session 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 working programme of the TNC prior to the target date of 1st January 2009. The Secretariat stated the necessity of the ratification of the PRETAS and the Rules of Origin before the end of 2008 if the target date of January 2009 to establish the TPS-OIC is to be adequately met. The Undersecretariat of Customs of the Republic of Turkey made a presentation giving information about the actions needed for the implementation of the TPS-OIC Rules of Origin. The Committee also laid focus on the necessity of a unified interpretation of the TPS-OIC Agreements. In this context, ICDT, in collaboration with the COMCEC Coordination Office, was requested by the Committee to prepare explanatory notes on the issue of a unified interpretation and to circulate these notes among the OIC member countries and the COMCEC Coordination Office. ICDT was also requested to continue organizing workshops in collaboration with the IDB and the ICCI. The Committee stated that the concessions list of countries should be prepared and submitted to the Secretariat so as to be ready for circulation when the TPS-OIC enters into force. The Committee also stated that it is important to circulate the concessions lists all at the same time. The Committee also pointed out that, necessary arrangements should be made at the custom offices of the member states to allow the smooth and speedy movement of goods when the TPS-OIC becomes operational.
Regarding the products that will be subject to tariff reduction as stated in Article 3 of the PRETAS, except Bangladesh, Jordan and Libya which stated that they would report their decision on the matter later, the majority of the countries expressed their views in favor of adopting an 8 digit level HS codes. In case there is no reply from the three mentioned countries within the following two months from the date of the end of the review meeting the 8 digit level will be accepted. For appropriate circulation of information related to the TPS-OIC Agreements the member countries were requested to exploit information through the Trade Information Network among OIC member Countries (TINIC).
The Committee welcomed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a new member of the TNC. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed the PRETAS and the Republic of Turkey ratified the PRETAS. Several countries stated their intention to sign the PRETAS and TPS-OIC Rules of Origin prior to or before the 24th Session of the COMCEC.
The Committee adopted the report and annexes of the Review Meeting of the Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) of TPS-OIC. The participating states expressed their gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the TNC Secretariat.