Selected Decisions and Selected Documents of the International Monetary Fund
Chapter

D. The International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
April 2004
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Relations with World Trade Organization (WTO)—Fund-WTO Cooperation Agreement

The Executive Board approves the proposed Agreement Between the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization as set forth in EBD/96/85 (7/5/96) on the understanding that decisions taken by either party for the implementation of this Agreement will not prevent the effective application of this Agreement in accordance with its provisions.

Decision No. 11381-(96/105)

November 25, 1996

Decision Adopted by the General Council Concerning Agreements Between the WTO and the IMF and the World Bank at Its Meeting on 7, 8, and 13 November 1996 (WT/L/194, 18 November 1996)

Recalling the increasing linkages between the various aspects of economic policymaking that fall within the respective mandates of the World Trade Organization (“WTO”), the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“World Bank”), the call for greater coherence among economic policies contained in the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, and the invitation of Ministers for the Director-General of the WTO to review with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and the President of the World Bank the implications of the WTO’s responsibilities for its cooperation with the Bretton Woods institutions, as well as the forms such cooperation might take, with a view to achieving greater coherence in global economic policymaking;

Recognizing the close collaborative relationship existing over the past several decades between the CONTRACTING PARTIES to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the IMF and the World Bank, the importance of continuing and strengthening those relationships, and the negotiating mandate contained in the General Council Decision on the Relationship between the WTO and the IMF and World Bank (document WT/GC/M/5);

Taking note of the statement by the Director-General on Consultations and Coherence (WT/L/194/Add.1), and of the budgetary implications of the Agreements (WT/L/194/Add.2);

The General Council hereby decides:

(1) The proposed Agreement between the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization (“IMF Agreement”) as contained in Annex 1 of WT/GC/W/43 and the proposed Agreement between the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Trade Organization (“World Bank Agreement”) as contained in Annex II of WT/GC/W/43 (collectively the “Agreements”) are hereby approved. The Director-General is authorized to sign these Agreements on behalf of the World Trade Organization and to implement the Agreements in accordance with the provisions of this Decision and any subsequent decisions that may be taken by the General Council.

(2) The Director-General shall inform Members and consult with them regularly as to matters relating to the implementation of the Agreements. To this effect, the Director-General shall, inter alia, hold consultations with Members under the auspices of the Chairman of the General Council, as appropriate but at least two times per year. These consultations shall include reports on the coherence consultations between the Director-General and the Managing Director of the IMF and the President of the World Bank, WTO observership in IMF and World Bank bodies, any IMF or World Bank observership in the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), any written communications between the organizations pursuant to the Agreement, any joint research or technical cooperation projects undertaken pursuant to the Agreements, and the general scope of contacts with the IMF pursuant to paragraph 10 of the IMF Agreement and with the World Bank pursuant to paragraph 8 of the World Bank Agreement.

(3) The Director-General is invited to build on the Agreements that have been concluded and thus to pursue the consultations on Coherence provided for in paragraph 2 of each Agreement, with a view to meeting the provision established in Article III:5 of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization and the mandate contained in the Declaration on the Contribution of the World Trade Organization to Achieving Greater Coherence in Global Economic Policymaking. Any conclusions reached as a result of such consultations shall be submitted to the General Council for approval.

(4) In respect of the implementation and interpretation of these Agreements, it is decided that:

  • (a) The procedures for granting IMF observership in the DSB pursuant to paragraph 6 of the IMF Agreement shall be implemented as follows: the Director-General shall convey the invitation of the DSB to the IMF to send a member of its staff as an observer to meetings of the DSB where matters of jurisdictional relevance to the IMF are to be considered. For other meetings of the DSB, the Director-General may propose to the Chairman of the DSB that a member of the IMF’s staff be admitted as an observer to a particular meeting, or in respect of particular agenda items proposed for a meeting, of the DSB.

  • For meetings of other WTO bodies for which attendance is not specifically provided for or excluded in the Agreements or in the above sub-paragraph, the Director-General may propose to the Chairman of a WTO body that a member of the IMF’s staff be admitted as an observer to a meeting where particular matters of common interest to the WTO and the IMF will be under discussion; similarly, the Director-General may propose to the Chairman of a WTO body that a member of the World Bank staff be admitted as an observer to a meeting where particular matters of common interest to the WTO and the World Bank will be under discussion.

  • (b) In light of Articles III:5 and V:1 of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Article XV of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (and, in particular, Article XV:2) and Articles XI and XII of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the General Council considers it appropriate that whenever the IMF wishes to submit its views to a panel on whether an exchange measure within its jurisdiction is consistent with the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, it shall submit these views by directing a letter containing those views to the Chairman of the DSB. The Chairman of the DSB shall inform the chairman of the panel of the availability of this communication which, unless the panel decides otherwise, shall remain confidential to the panel and to the parties to the dispute.

    Nothing in this Decision nor in the Agreements shall affect the rights and obligations of Members under the Dispute Settlement Understanding, including those provided for in Article 13 thereof.

  • (c) In the Agreements, each reference to the WTO, to the Fund or to the World Bank as such (and not explicitly to the WTO Secretariat, the Fund’s staff or the World Bank’s staff), or to the institution or the organization, is understood to refer to the decision-making bodies of the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, respectively.

  • (d) In respect of the work of dispute-settlement panels, documentation to be provided to the IMF and the World Bank does not include documents submitted or prepared in the course of the work of panels, but only the panels’ final reports to the DSB.

  • (e) The established competences and practices in budgetary matters will be preserved. In accordance with these competences and practices, the Secretariat will keep the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration duly informed of the budgetary consequences of the Agreements.

(5) The General Council reaffirms the importance of the Marrakesh Ministerial Decision on Measures Concerning the Possible Negative Effects of the Reform Programme on Least-Developed and Net Food Importing Developing Countries. In its view, the improved cooperation between the WTO and the IMF and the World Bank provided for in these Agreements should enhance the possibilities for governments to respond effectively to the issues addressed in that Decision.

Agreement Between the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization

Preamble

CONSIDERING the growing interactions between economic policies pursued by individual countries arising from the globalization of markets;

RECOGNIZING the increasing linkages between the various aspects of economic policymaking that fall within the respective mandates of the International Monetary Fund (“Fund”) and the World Trade Organization (“WTO”), and the call in the Marrakesh Agreement for greater coherence among economic policies internationally;

RECOGNIZING the close collaborative relationship existing over the past several decades between the Fund and the CONTRACTING PARTIES to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the importance of continuing and strengthening such a relationship between the Fund and the WTO;

HAVING REGARD to Article X of the Fund’s Articles of Agreement, which provides that “the Fund shall cooperate within the terms of this Agreement with any general international organization and with public international organizations having specialized responsibility in related fields”;

HAVING REGARD to Article III.5 of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, which provides that “with a view to achieving greater coherence in global economic policymaking, the WTO shall cooperate, as appropriate, with the International Monetary Fund”;

HAVING REGARD to the Declarations in the Marrakesh Agreement on the Contribution of the World Trade Organization to Achieving Greater Coherence in Global Economic Policymaking and on the Relationship of the WTO with the Fund, and to the provisions of Article XV:1, XV:2, XV:3 and Articles XII and XVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 (GATT 1994) and of Articles XI, XII, and XXVI of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) concerning cooperation and consultation, including on exchange and trade matters;

The Fund and the WTO agree as follows:

Paragraph 1

The Fund and the WTO shall cooperate in the discharge of their respective mandates in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.

Paragraph 2

The Fund and the WTO shall consult with each other with a view to achieving greater coherence in global economic policymaking.

Paragraph 3

The Fund shall inform the WTO of any decisions approving restrictions on the making of payments or transfers for current international transactions, decisions approving discriminatory currency arrangements or multiple currency practices, and decisions requesting a Fund member to exercise controls to prevent a large or sustained outflow of capital.

Paragraph 4

The Fund agrees to participate in consultations carried out by the WTO Committee on Balance-of-Payments Restrictions on measures taken by a WTO member to safeguard its balance of payments. For these consultations, existing procedures for Fund participation shall continue and may be adapted as appropriate in accordance with paragraph 14 below.

Paragraph 5

The Fund shall invite the WTO Secretariat to send an observer to the ordinary meetings of the Executive Board of the Fund on general and regional trade policy issues, including the formulation of Fund policies on trade matters, and to discussions of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) when there is a significant trade content. In addition, when consultations between the Fund’s staff and the WTO Secretariat lead to the conclusion that matters of particular common interest to both organizations will be under discussion at other meetings of the Executive Board, including country-specific matters, or at meetings of the Committee on Liaison with the WTO, the Managing Director shall recommend that the WTO Secretariat be invited to send an observer to such meetings.

Paragraph 6

The WTO shall invite the Fund to send a member of its staff as an observer to the meetings of the Ministerial Conference, General Council, Trade Policy Review Body, the three sectoral councils, Committee on Trade and Development, Committee on Regional Trade Agreements, Committee on Trade-Related Investment Measures, and Committee on Trade and the Environment and their subsidiary bodies (excluding the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration, the Dispute Settlement Body, and dispute settlement panels). The WTO shall invite the Fund to send a member of its staff as an observer to meetings of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body where matters of jurisdictional relevance to the Fund are to be considered. The WTO shall also invite the Fund to send a member of its staff to other meetings of the Dispute Settlement Body as well as of other WTO bodies for which attendance is not provided above (excluding the Committee on Budget, Finance and Administration, and dispute settlement panels), when the WTO, after consultation between the WTO Secretariat and the staff of the Fund, finds that such a presence would be of particular common interest to both organizations.

Paragraph 7

The Fund and the WTO shall make available to each other in advance the agendas, and relevant documents, for the meetings to which they are invited pursuant to the terms of this Agreement. In addition, the Fund shall make available to the WTO Secretariat the agendas of the Executive Board meetings at the time of their circulation in the Fund, and the WTO shall make available to the Fund the agendas of the Dispute Settlement Body at the time of their circulation in the WTO.

Paragraph 8

Each organization may communicate its views in writing on matters of mutual interest to the other organization or any of its organs or bodies (excluding the WTO’s dispute settlement panels) and such views shall become part of the official record of such organs and bodies. The Fund shall inform in writing the relevant WTO body (including dispute settlement panels) considering exchange measures within the Fund’s jurisdiction whether such measures are consistent with the Articles of Agreement of the Fund.

Paragraph 9

For the purpose of this Agreement, the Director-General of the WTO and the Managing Director of the Fund shall ensure cooperation between the staffs of the two institutions and, to that end, shall agree on appropriate procedures for collaboration, including access to databases, and exchanges of views on jurisdictional and policy issues.

Paragraph 10

The Fund’s staff shall consult with the WTO Secretariat on issues of possible inconsistency between measures under discussion with a common member and that member’s obligations under the WTO Agreement. The WTO Secretariat shall consult with the Fund’s staff on issues of possible inconsistency between measures under discussion with a common member and that member’s obligations under the Fund’s Articles of Agreement.

Paragraph 11

The Fund shall provide the WTO, promptly after circulation to the Executive Board, for the confidential use of its Secretariat, with staff reports and related background staff papers on Article IV consultations and on use of Fund resources on common members and on Fund members seeking accession to the WTO, subject to the consent of the member.

Paragraph 12

The WTO shall provide the Fund, for the confidential use of its management and staff, with Trade Policy Review Reports, summary records and reports of Councils, Bodies and Committees, and reports of WTO Members to these organs.

Paragraph 13

Each party to this Agreement shall ensure that any information communicated under this Agreement shall be used only within the limits specified by the other party.

Paragraph 14

The Director-General of the WTO and the Managing Director of the Fund shall be responsible for the implementation of this Agreement and, to that effect, shall make such arrangements as they deem appropriate.

Paragraph 15

This Agreement shall be reviewed upon the request of either party and may be amended by mutual agreement.

Paragraph 16

This Agreement may be terminated by either party by written notice to the other and, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, shall terminate six months after receipt of such notice.

Paragraph 17

Following approval by the General Council of the WTO and the Executive Board of the Fund, this Agreement shall enter into force on the date of its signature.

To be added at time of signature:

Signed at Singapore on 9 December 1996 in duplicate.

For the World Trade Organization,

For the International Monetary Fund,

Director-General

Managing Director

Adopted by Decision No. 11381-(96/105),

November 25, 1996

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