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WTO NEWS: 2003 NEWS ITEMS

Dispute Settlement Body 15 April 2003
DSB adopts panel report on Argentina's import measures on peaches

On 15 April 2003, the Dispute Settlement Body adopted the panel report on Chile's complaint against Argentina's safeguard measures on imports of preserved peaches (DS238).

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NOTE:
This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariats 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 Bodys meetings.


Surveillance of implementation back to top

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

The US drew attention to its latest report on the status of implementation (WT/DS160/18/Add.14) and stated that it was continuing discussions with the EC to seek a mutually acceptable solution, and that the US Administration was making good progress with the US Congress on this issue. The EC welcomed US' positive statement and looked forward to further progress.

  
DS136 & DS162: United States Anti-dumping Act of 1916

The US referred to its most recent report on the status of implementation (WT/DS136/14/Add.14; WT/DS162/17/Add.14) and recalled that, on 4 March 2003, legislation repealing the 1916 Act had been introduced in the US House of Representatives.

The EC stressed that a proper implementation should not only repeal the 1916 Act but also terminate the pending court cases in the US. According to the EC, three such cases were pending in US courts, two of which had been initiated after the initial deadline of 26 July 2001 for repealing the 1916 Act. The EC said that it was unacceptable that its companies were bearing substantial litigation costs and could eventually be condemned under legislation which should have been repealed long ago.

Japan expressed concern that no reference had been made by the US to how or when the US intended to implement. Japan regretted that the legislation introduced in the US House of Representatives on 4 March 2003 would have no effect on the pending cases. The content of this legislation was, therefore, not acceptable to Japan since Japanese companies would continue to suffer damages, including substantial legal costs, even with the passage of this legislation. Japan reminded the US that Japan retained the right to suspend concessions or other obligations.

  
DS176: United States Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998

The US drew attention to its latest report on status of implementation (WT/176/11/Add.7) and stated that the US Administration would continue to work with Congress to resolve this dispute.

The EC stated that the US had just over two months before the new deadline for implementation (30 June 2003) and expressed the hope that it would not have to add this case to the list of non-implementation by the US. The EC recalled its position on abandoned trademarks and said that the panel had relied on US affirmations that Section 211 would not apply to a new trademark after a former trademark, to which Section 211 might have applied, had been abandoned. According to the EC, this interpretation was not shared by US Federal Courts which had refused to read an abandonment exception in Section 211. The US responded by saying that the panel rulings did not relate to the issue of abandonment. Cuba stated that the lack of compliance by the US created a problem for the WTO's credibility.

  
DS184: United States Anti-dumping measures on certain hot-rolled steel products from Japan

The US referred to its most recent report on the status of implementation (WT/DS184/15/Add.7) and announced that on 14 April 2003 USTR Zoellick and Secretary of Commerce Evans had written to Congress supporting specific amendments to Section 735(c)(5) of the Tariff Act of 1930 to implement the DSB rulings. Japan expressed concern at the continuing delay in implementation and said it looked forward to receiving more details about the letter of 14 April.

  

Panel requests deferred back to top

DS261: Uruguay Tax treatment on certain products

Chile introduced its first-time request for a panel (WT/DS261/4) to examine Uruguay's Specific Internal Tax on certain consumer goods including beverages, tobacco and cigarettes. Chile claimed that this tax violated the most-favoured-nation and national treatment obligations. Chile stated that recently it had received a copy of a Uruguayan presidential decree modifying the internal tax on cigarettes. However, according to Chile, the modification did not correct the discrimination against Chilean cigarettes. Chile stated that even though it was requesting a panel, it remained open to a bilateral solution.

Uruguay responded by saying that the bilateral contacts it had maintained with Chile since the consultations on 23 July 2002 were the best way to solve this issue. Uruguay regretted that Chile had interrupted this on-going dialogue by requesting a panel. Uruguay also maintained that Chile's arguments on the Specific Internal Tax were ill-founded, and stated that it was not in a position to agree to a panel at this meeting.

  
DS268: United States Sunset reviews of anti-dumping measures on oil country tubular goods from Argentina

Argentina introduced its first-time request for a panel (WT/DS268/2) to examine the US' administrative review of anti-dumping measures on steel tubular goods, such as casing and tubing, from Argentina. It believed that after five years, an anti-dumping measure must be terminated or revoked. Argentina stated that Siderca, a leading Argentinian producer of such goods which exports 70% of its production to more than 60 countries, was facing difficulties because of this anti-dumping measure. Consultations had failed to produce a mutually agreeable solution.

The US responded by stating that Argentina's panel request was deficient because it did not present the problem clearly enough and because it seemed to challenge things that were not measures. The US, therefore, could not agree to the establishment of a panel. It suggested that Argentina should withdraw this panel request and submit a new request which would enable the DSB to adequately discern the legal basis of the complaint.

  
DS277: United States Investigation of the International Trade Commission in softwood lumber from Canada

Canada introduced its first-time request for a panel (WT(DS277/2) to examine the threat of injury determination by the US International Trade Commission (USITC) concerning softwood lumber from Canada. It stated that the softwood lumber industry was of vital importance to the Canadian economy with annual exports to the US valued at $10 billion. There were some 800 softwood lumber mills throughout Canada and the sector employed approximately 200,000 workers, according to Canada.

The US responded by saying that, after a thorough analysis, the USITC had concluded that an industry in the US was threatened with material injury by reason of imports of softwood lumber from Canada. The US urged Canada to reconsider its position, and stated that it would be premature to establishment a panel at this meeting.

  

Adoption of panel report back to top

DS238: Argentina Definitive safeguard measure on imports of preserved peaches

The DSB adopted the panel report (WT/DS238/R) in the above case. Argentina said that it would continue to study the panel's conclusions and would inform the DSB of its intentions concerning implementation within the next 30 days.

Statement by Brazil regarding Annex V of the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Agreement

In connection with the case DS267: United States Subsidies on upland cotton, Brazil expressed concern that the information-gathering process under Annex V of the SCM Agreement had not yet been initiated. The US stated that it continued to believe that it was premature to appoint a DSB representative to facilitate this process, and that Brazil was not entitled to use the Annex V procedures at this point of the panel process. The Chairman reminded Members that at its previous meeting on 31 March 2003, the DSB decided, in the absence of an agreement between the parties, to suspend discussion on this issue to allow the Chairman to continue his consultations with the parties, and to reconvene as soon as the parties had reached an agreement (see summary of DSB meeting of 31 March 2003).

  

Other business back to top

Statement by the Chairman concerning a communication from the Appellate Body regarding the proposed amendments to the Working Procedures for Appellate Review

The Chairman of the DSB drew the Members' attention to the letter from Mr James Bacchus, Chairman of the Appellate Body (WT/AB/WP/6, dated 10 April 2003) indicating that the Appellate Body had prepared the final version of the amendments. The letter also included an explanation of the adjustments which had been made after taking into account the comments made by delegations and after consultations with the Director-General and the DSB Chairman. These amendments would come into effect on 1 May 2003 and a revised consolidated version of the Working Procedures would also be circulated on that date.

  

Upcoming meetings back to top

The DSB will meet on 24 April 2003 and on 19 May 2003.

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