WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO

WTO NEWS: 2002 NEWS ITEMS

Dispute Settlement Body 22 May 2002
US blocks EC panel on “steel”

At the DSB meeting of 22 May 2002, the United States blocked the European Communities' request for the establishment of a panel on “Definitive safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products”. At the same meeting, the DSB established a panel to look at the US' “Sunset review of anti-dumping duties on corrosion-resistant carbon steel flat products from Japan”.

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NOTE:
This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariat’s Information and Media Relations Division to help public understanding about developments in WTO disputes. It is not a legal interpretation of the issues, and it is not intended as a complete account of the issues. These can be found in the reports themselves and in the minutes of the Dispute Settlement Body’s meetings.


Implementation of the recommendations of the DSB back to top

DS160: United States — Section 110(5) of the US copyright act

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The United States reported to the DSB that they had been engaged in discussions with the EC to find a positive and mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute. The US reminded the DSB that arbitration on the suspension of concessions had been suspended at the joint request of the parties.

The EC complained that the US had made no progress towards compliance even though 22 months had lapsed. The EC added that the bilateral EC/US meetings had not yet led to any solution.

Australia registered its concern about a possibly discriminatory compensation arrangement.

DS136 & DS162: United States — Antidumping act of 1916

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The US said that on 23 April 2002 a bill that would repeal the 1916 Act was introduced in the US Senate. The US added that it was continuing to work with the EC and Japan to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution.

Japan said that the date of 20 June was fast approaching, after which the arbitration proceeding could be reactivated by either party. Japan said it hoped that a solution could be found by that date and that the US would repeal the act as soon as possible.

The EC said that it had agreed to suspend arbitration so as to give Congress the necessary time. The EC noted however that once again the US Congress had made no progress and that this lack of compliance was worrying. The EC added that such non-compliance had a serious adverse effect on European Union companies.

DS189: Argentina — Definitive anti-dumping measures on imports of ceramic floor tiles from Italy

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Argentina said that on 24 April 2002, it revoked the anti-dumping measure and thus considered that it had fully implemented the recommendations and rulings of the DSB.

The EC welcomed the rapid solution of this dispute and congratulated Argentina for its efforts.

DS146 & DS175: India — Measures affecting the automotive sector

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India said it would need a reasonable period of time to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB.

The US and the EC said they looked forward to discussing this question with India.

  

Request for the establishment of panels back to top

DS244: United States — Sunset review of anti-dumping duties on corrosion-resistant carbon steel flat products from Japan

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Japan requested for the second time the establishment of a panel. Japan said that the US measure was inconsistent with the WTO Anti-dumping agreement.

The US argued that the Sunset review was WTO consistent.

The DSB established a panel. India, Korea, Chile, Norway, Canada, the EC and Venezuela requested to be third parties.

DS245: Japan — Measures affecting the importation of apples

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The US requested for the first time the establishment of a panel, saying that the restrictions Japan currently maintained on US apples in connection with fire blight lacked scientific basis and were therefore inconsistent with the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

Japan blocked the establishment of a panel arguing that its measures were indispensable for preventing the introduction of fire blight and were WTO consistent.

DS248: United States — Definitive safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products

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The EC said that during joint consultations held in April 2002, the EC, together with Japan, Korea, China, Switzerland and Norway, had conveyed the common view that the protectionist US measures on steel were contrary to WTO requirements on safeguards and had called for their immediate termination. The EC added that unfortunately, these consultations had not led to an amicable solution and it was therefore requesting a WTO panel.

The EC noted that the Appellate Body had already condemned all six US safeguards brought to WTO: on wheat gluten, lamb, line pipe, underwear, shirts and blouses and cotton yarn.

The US answered that it was regrettable that the EC had chosen to challenge the US safeguard measures which were fully WTO consistent. The US did not accept the establishment of a panel.

Japan said it could not obtain satisfactory answers from the US during their consultations. Japan said it urged the US to terminate immediately its safeguard measures. Japan added that it had submitted its own request for the establishment of a panel on 21 May 2002 and that it had requested a special meeting of the DSB on 3 June.

Korea said that the US steel safeguard measures had led to a spiral of protectionist measures in steel trade. Korea cited as an example China's announcement of their own provisional safeguard measures on 21 May 2002. Korea said that it had also requested a special meeting of the DSB on 3 June when it would request the establishment of a panel.

Cuba said it was disappointed by the latest news and that the US move was in contradiction with the Doha Declaration and affected the credibility of the WTO.

Brazil informed the DSB that on 21 May 2002 it had requested consultations with the US on its safeguard measures (DS259/1).

Finally, the EC mentioned that it would use the opportunity of the 3 June special meeting to request a panel for the second time.

DS243: United States Rules of origin for textile and apparel products

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India requested for the first time the establishment of a panel.

The US responded that it could not accept the establishment of a panel as it believed its legislation to be fully WTO consistent. The US added that it had serious concerns relating to India's panel request as it seemed that the Secretariat had modified it although it had no authority to do so.

The Secretariat responded that it had only corrected a typographical error in India's request and thus had made no substantial modification.

Several delegations said they were grateful for the Secretariat's help in checking documents.

  

Request for a compliance panel back to top

DS141: European Communities — Anti-dumping duties on imports of cotton-type bed linen from India

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India requested the establishment of an Article 21.5 panel to examine the EC's compliance with the DSB recommendations and rulings.

The EC said that it was surprised by India's request and that it believed it had fully and faithfully implemented the DSB recommendations and rulings.

The DSB agreed to refer this matter to the original panel. The US and Japan requested to be third parties.

  

Other business back to top

DS222: Canada — Export credits and loan guarantees for regional aircraft

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Brazil complained that Canada still had not withdrawn its subsidies to Bombardier despite the expiry on 20 May 2002 of the 90-day period given to it by the WTO panel for this withdrawal. Brazil said that Canada has thus failed to comply and that it reserved its rights to suspend concession as regards Canada.

Canada said that it was working with Brazil toward a resolution of the aircraft dispute that would encompass both Canadian and Brazilian programmes. Canada added that it did not consider that it had to take any steps concerning aircraft delivered prior to 20 May 2002 and that it had advised Brazil that it would honour its commitments in respect of existing contracts for the delivery of new aircraft.

  

Next meeting back to top

A special meeting of the DSB will take place on 3 June 2002. The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled for 24 June 2002.