Trade and Investment Rules for Energy
The revitalization of the global economy requires concerted efforts to ensure that markets remain open to energy goods, services, investments, and movement of personnel. These efforts should not be impeded by border taxes or other discriminatory measures that fail to abide by requirements of the GATT and other rules in the WTO Agreement.
Measures are currently in force or are under active consideration by governments to reduce GHG emissions to limit the effects of climate change. These measures may be pursuant to the obligations that some States have subscribed to under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. Whatever the efficacy of these measures, these should be applied in a manner consistent with the rules laid down in the GATT and the WTO Agreement.
Because there is lack of precision in these GATT based rules, the Task Force has developed recommendations to reduce areas of uncertainty in energy trade to benefit the global community. The recommendations present ideas for governments to consider, and are not aimed at devising new multilateral rules or pre-empting either the WTO negotiating process or WTO dispute settlement.
The Task Force identified five areas of energy trade and investment, recognizing that other areas of importance to the energy sector, such as rules respecting transfer of energy technology, intellectual property protection, and other subjects are also vital. These are matters that the Task Force believes could be addressed in any subsequent phase of its work, as may be directed by the Studies Committee and Officers' Council. The Task Force is prepared to continue with such efforts as appropriate.
It is appreciated by the Task Force that consensus on many of the matters covered in this report faces challenges. It is also recognized that reactivating the Doha Round or any new set of multilateral negotiations will depend on a multitude of political and other factors, many of which remain in a state of flux. That being the case, the Task Force is of the view that the recommendations in this report, if given fair and full consideration by governments, can assist in maintaining open markets to the benefit of the energy industry specifically, and to the international community at large.