WTO Unit(© StV-AT)
The Permanent Mission’s WTO Unit looks after German interests at the World Trade Organization (WTO). This goes beyond reporting work on meetings of various WTO bodies and includes regular coordination with the partner countries of the European Union (EU) as well as maintaining close liaison with the WTO Secretariat, the missions of other WTO Member States and involved commercial policy circles.
In addition there are contacts with representatives of civil society organizations and visitors interested in commercial policy for instance from the parliamentary scene or the academic world.
(© StV_AT) At the intra-governmental level the German position on trade policy issues is laid down by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology as the lead agency, in coordination with other Federal Ministries involved. At the intra-EU level there are coordination meetings in Brussels in the framework of a special committee, the Article 133 Committee, once a week. For pur-poses of coordination and information there are preparatory or follow-up meetings relating to specific committee events or topical issues in Geneva as well which are attended by the WTO Unit. In the WTO meetings in Geneva the European interests are handled by the Permanent Mission of the EU to the WTO on behalf of the twenty-seven Member States.
In day-to-day business formal proceedures are accompanied by numerous practices of informal nature. Carrying through a specific position in the WTO framework above all requires that it be capable of gaining majority support at the intra-EU level. On important topics consequently there usually is an intensive exchange of views on the wings of and outside of formal meetings with both the EU representation in Geneva and the other EU Member States. With decisions within WTO typically being made by consensus among all 159 Member States, it is equally important to find support there in good time.
(© StV-AT) Trade policy topics cover a broad spectrum. It ranges from the on-going DOHA Round, trade-related disputes in the dispute settlement process and trade policy reviews (TPRs) of all WTO Member States to applications of States for WTO membership.