WTO - Trade Policy Review Body
Statement H.E. Mrs. Anda Filip, the Permanent
Representative of Romania to the WTO
Geneva, 17/19 October 2001
On 17 October 2001, the WTO Trade Policy Review Body proceeded to the second Trade policy review of the Czech Republic. On this occasion, H.E. Mrs. Anda Filip, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the WTO, delivered the following speech:
Trade Policy Review of the Czech Republic
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome the presence in Geneva of the Czech Republic delegation, headed by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Somol, deputy minister for trade and industry on the occasion of the second Trade Policy Review carried out under the WTO aegis. I also congratulate my colleague ambassador Hovorka and his team in Geneva for their hard work, commitment and openness in day to day activities conducted here, in House.
We like to take this opportunity to convey our appreciation to the Trade Policy Division for the Secretariat Report which was drafted, as usual, in a clear and comprehensive The same appreciation goes to the Czech Republic authorities for their factual and clear National Report.
We also like to congratulate the discussant, Mr. ambassador Oguz Demiralp, for the excellent presentation he delivered this morning.
The Czech Republic as a Central European country has experienced, in its recent history, a process of profound and for-reaching transformation, in the effort of moving towards an open and functional market economy.
Romania, a country which found itself in a similar position at the beginning of the '90, and is still working on the completion of the transition process, understands how difficult and painful such a process can be and, therefore we would like to congratulate the Czech authorities for their solid achievements over the past 10 years.
The Secretariat Report sets out the results of the Czech economy, which is now well on the way of recovery after 1997 - 1999 recession. An increase of exports and a steady and continuous inflow of foreign investments gave the basis for this recovery. Also, an important role in stabilizing on economy affected both by external and internal factors, has been played by the permanent preoccupation of the Czech authorities to enhance the economic climate, both through domestic reform and by further trade and investment liberalization as well as through creating the necessary general legal environment for economic and trade activities.
It is also worth underlining that despite the difficulties they confronted, the Czech authorities have maintained throughout this entire period a liberal and open trade policy regime.
As regards WTO participation, Czech Republic should be considered as a model of permanent liberalization and support for the multilateral trading system. As the Secretariat Report mentions, Czech Republic actively participates in the work of the WTO. During the period under review, The Czech Republic has continued to undertake major commitments within the multilateral framework, the most significant ones being those under the services protocols in basic telecommunications and financial services.
The commitments undertaken by the Czech Republic in the field of trade in goods are an example of open access to its market. We have in view the following: all the customs duties are "ad valorem" ones; the average MFN tariff for non-agricultural goods is 4,3% and for agriculture products 13.4% (in light of the assessment made in the Secretariat Report, we consider that 13.4% average tariff for agricultural products should not be considered relatively high for a country in which agriculture still plays an important role). In the field of services, The Czech Republic has included a large number of services sectors in its list of specific commitments. These include banking service, insurance services, audiovisual and communication transport services.
The Czech authorities have implemented in a fair and compatible manner all the relevant provisions included in the WTO Agreements and related commitments.
The Czech Republic is, also, a strong supporter of regionalism, especially through its participation in the Central European Free Trade Agreement, considering, together with the other partners to that agreement that regional liberalization represents an important instrument in promoting and supporting the multilateral liberalization processes.
One should underline here, that the Czech Republic played an important role in setting up CEFTA Group cooperation, within WTO, in 1998, and certainly, since than the CEFTA Group of countries (and more recent, CEFTA Plus), have firmly expressed their support for further liberalization and for a new round of trade negotiations.
Romania and Czech Republic come from the same part of Europe and they share common visions, common objectives, one most important of these is the future integration of our countries within the European Union.
Romania concluded a bilateral trade agreement with the Czech Republic in 1995 and, in 1997 Romania joined the CEFTA Agreement. Since 1997, the bilateral trade flows with the Czech Republic have increased significantly, this being a clear example of "trade creation".
Of course, we feel much remains to be done in addressing the still modest level of bilateral trade between our two countries, in the context of overall trade.
This present trade policy examination is an excellent opportunity for the WTO membership to look at the ways in which the Czech Republic is implementing its commitments undertaken under the various WTO Agreements.
From Romania's perspective, the Czech Republic should be congratulated both for its achievements, and for the fact that despite recent recession it has resisted any temptation to revert to protectionist measures, building its recovery on market oriented, WTO consistent measures.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, please allow me, once again to welcome the Czech Republic delegation and to wish it a productive and successful examination.
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