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Ministry of foreign affairs and european integration of the republic of Moldova

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Ambassador Tudor Ulianovschi successfully finalizes a series of consultations and negotiations rounds between the 164 Members of the WTO and Ecuador on the final removal of Ecuadorian import surcharges

On the 21st of July 2017, Ambassador Tudor Ulianovschi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the UN Office at Geneva and the World Trade Organization, has chaired the meeting of the Committee on Balance of Payments Restrictions of the WTO, successfully finalizing a series of consultations and negotiations between the 164 Members of the WTO and Ecuador. Beginning with March 2015, Ecuador has applied safeguard measures and trade restrictions on imports of some products, which has considerably affected trade and economic relations of Ecuador with other countries and its international development partners. The application of these measures was an exception to the commitments and practices of the WTO during the two years.

The Delegation of Ecuador was led by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade, Mr. Humberto Jimenes, who has informed, on the 21st of July 2017, about the complete elimination by the Ecuadorian Government of the additional taxes applied on imports, according to the schedule Member States have agreed on after 7 rounds of consultations at the international level.

Prior to the meeting, the President of the Committee on Balance of Payments Restrictions of the WTO, Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Tudor Ulianovschi, has conducted negociations with the Delegations of Ecuador, the United States of America, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, as well as with other interested delegations, with a view of finalizing their positions and obtaining a consensus on the situation.

During the meeting of the Committee, President Ulianovschi has received the acceptance of all the Members of the World Trade Organization for the adoption of the final report, the results and the systemic implications of which will be officially announced at the high-level meeting of the General Council of the WTO at its autumn session, in accordance with art. 13 of the Understanding on the Balance-of-Payments Provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994.

It is worth mentioning that art. XVIII paragraph B of GATT 1994 is interpreted differently by the Members of the WTO, and situations where trade restrictive measures are applied, such as in the case of Ecuador, risk to become a precedent for other States, who intend to restore their balance of payments by applying measures restricting imports other than quantitative restrictions, in order to protect a certain industry.

The Government of Ecuador has justified the necessity of applying these restrictive measures and additional taxes on imports for 2953 tariff lines starting with March 2015 (practices that are not accepted in the international trade system and affect the economy of other trading partners) in the context of a difficult economic environment and and the urgent need to restore its balance of payments, which has deteriorated after the earthquake that struck the country in April 2014.