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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
DS281: United States —
Anti-dumping measures on cement from Mexico
Mexico introduced its first-time panel request (WT/DS281/2) by recalling
that the US imposed anti-dumping measures on imports of gray Portland
cement from Mexico 13 years ago. Mexico had challenged these measures, and
won the case, under the former GATT dispute settlement system. Mexico said
that the US blocked adoption of the ruling and that the US had still not
implemented. Mexico was, therefore, requesting a panel under the WTO
dispute settlement system. Mexico stated that it would not be satisfied
with only a repeal of the measure; it would seek reimbursement of the
duties paid during a period lasting more than a decade.
The US stated that its law was consistent with WTO obligations. The US
also drew attention to what it considered to be “deficiencies” in Mexico's
panel request. It said that some of the measures complained against were
not measures at all, while others were identified so generally that it was
impossible to know precisely what was being challenged. The US suggested
that an appropriate course of action would be for Mexico to withdraw its
current panel request and submit a new one. Hence, the US could not agree
to the establishment of a panel.
DS282: United States — Anti-dumping measures on oil country tubular goods
(OCTG) from Mexico
Mexico's complaint covers several US anti-dumping measures on imports of
OCTG from Mexico, including the US final determinations in some
administrative and sunset reviews, and the US authorities' determination
regarding the continuation of the anti-dumping orders. Mexico introduced
its first-time panel request (WT/DS282/2) by stating that the Anti-Dumping
Agreement clearly established that such measures should be limited in
time, that they must be lifted after 5 years. Mexico said that such
measures could not be maintained indefinitely simply because the
authorities “assumed” that their elimination would result in the
continuation or the repetition of dumping and/or damage.
In response, the US stated that it could not agree to the establishment of
a panel. The US also stated that the specifics of each of Mexico's
numerous claims were difficult to discern because of the lack of details
provided in the panel request. As in the case above, the US suggested that
Mexico should withdraw its current request and submit a new one.
DS280: United States — Countervailing duties on steel plate from Mexico
Mexico introduced its panel request (WT/DS280/2) by recalling that on 7 June 2000 the DSB ruled that the US methodology for imposing
countervailing duties was not consistent with the Subsidies and
Countervailing Agreement (DS138). According to Mexico, the US withdrew
this methodology only when the US courts declared it illegal, but replaced
it with another methodology which was also ruled to be illegal by the
Appellate Body. Mexico claimed that the US continued to invent
methodologies which presuppose a benefit for privatized companies. In June
this year, according to Mexico, the US established another methodology.
Mexico stated that without making a compatibility assessment the US had
said that they would apply this illegal methodology to investigations or
reviews started before 30 June 2003. Mexico therefore asked for a panel to
confirm the illegality of this methodology.
The US expressed disappointment that Mexico had chosen to pursue a panel
concerning a measure which, in most respects, was no longer in effect. The
US said that liquidation instructions had been issued last year for
countervailing duties in connection with the 1998 administrative review
which Mexico was challenging, and that liquidation should now be complete.
The US further stated that a new administrative review was underway which
was due for completion no later than 26 February 2004. The US suggested
that it would be better if Mexico were to assess the results of the
soon-to-be completed administrative review and determine at that time
whether it wished to pursue dispute settlement proceedings. The US
therefore could not agree to the establishment of a panel.
DS293: European Communities — Measures affecting the
approval and marketing of biotech products
The US, Canada and Argentina introduced their first-time panel requests
WT/DS293/17). They all stated
that, regarding EC-level measures, the moratorium maintained since October
1998 on the approval of biotech products had restricted the imports of
agricultural and food products. Regarding the EC member State-level
measures, the complainants said that a number of EC member States maintain
national marketing and import bans on biotech products even though those
products have already been approved by the EC.
The US further clarified that the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement
recognizes that WTO members may adopt approval procedures for crops and
food products, including biotech products, in order to protect health and
the environment. The US emphasized that the EC procedures, as written, are
not the focus of the US complaint. It is the EC's application of its
measures governing the approval of biotech products. The US also expressed
its concern that the EC measures were hindering the worldwide development
and application of agricultural biotechnology – a technology which,
according to the US, has great promise for raising farmer productivity,
reducing hunger and improving health in the developing world, and
improving the environment.
Argentina added that agricultural products account for over half of
Argentina's total exports, and that it is the second largest producer and
exporter of biotech products in the world. Argentina said that the EC's
“behaviour” discourages the introduction of the biotech process, and that
it is particularly detrimental because EC has the ability to influence
other WTO members.
In response, the EC expressed surprise and disappointment at the panel
requests. The EC said that it had repeatedly made clear that the approval
of genetically-modified organisms and genetically-modified food was
possible in the EU, that a number of applications were being examined and
decisions would be taken shortly. The EC further pointed out that 18 GMOs
and 15 food products derived from GMOs have been approved and that these
GM products are imported each year by the EC.
The EC said that it had serious doubts that the complaining members were
interested in seeking a satisfactory outcome to the consultations. It said
that it was puzzled by the US attitude during the consultations period
which cast doubt about the US willingness to engage in a meaningful
dialogue in good faith. The EC said that it was extremely disappointed
that the members requesting a panel had not chosen the path of
international cooperation to build an appropriate framework for the
development of biotechnology, while seriously addressing any potential
risks and social concerns. The EC emphasized that every country should be
free to make its own decisions and to determine the appropriate level of
protection for its citizens. The EC concluded by saying that it could not
agree to the establishment of a panel.
Adoption of reports
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DS219: European Community — Anti-dumping duties on malleable cast iron
tube or pipe fittings from Brazil
The DSB adopted the Appellate Body report and the panel report.
Appointment of Appellate Body Members
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The Chairman informed the DSB that as a result of his consultations
regarding the positions currently held by Messrs Abi-Saab, Ganesan, and
Taniguchi, no delegations indicated that they wished to nominate
candidates to replace these Appellate Body Members. He therefore proposed,
and the DSB agreed, that a decision to reappoint these Members would be
taken by the DSB on 7 November 2003. The Chairman also reminded the DSB
that the process for selecting a new member of the Appellate Body to
replace Mr Bacchus was underway, that the deadline for nominations of
candidates was 5 September 2003, and that a decision on a replacement for
Mr Bacchus would be taken by the DSB on 7 November 2003.
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The next meeting of the DSB will be held on 29 August 2003. Included on
the agenda are the panel requests by the US, Canada and Argentina
concerning the EC measures affecting biotech products, and the three panel
requests by Mexico.
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