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These are cases that have completed the consultation phase, the first
stage of a dispute. When consultations have failed, member governments are
entitled to ask for a panel to be set up to examine the dispute. According
to the rules, the respondent can reject the first request. At the second
request, a panel is automatically established.
DS315: European Communities — Selected customs matters
The US first requested a panel on this issue on 25 January 2005. At the
US' second request, the DSB agreed to establish a panel and the following
countries reserved their third-party rights: Brazil, China, Australia and
The US explained that it was concerned with the non-uniform application of
customs law in the EC. It was also concerned with the failure of the EC to
maintain a forum for the prompt review and correction of administrative
action relating to customs matters.
The EC argued that the US had failed to provide a single example of real
and practical problems for US operators resulting from the application of
EC customs measures. The EC said that the issue raised by the US regarded
the distribution of competences in the administration of customs rules
within the internal legal order of a WTO Member and went well beyond what
WTO rules required.
DS323: Japan — Import quotas on dried laver and seasoned laver
Korea first requested a panel on this issue on 17 February 2005. At
Korea's second request, the DSB agreed to set up a panel and the following
countries reserved their third-party rights: EC, China and US.
Korea said that Japan's highly restrictive import quotas on dried laver*
and seasoned laver were inconsistent with its WTO obligations. Korea added
that since bilateral consultations had failed, it had no other option but
to pursue a panel procedure.
Japan said that its import quota system was fully consistent with the
relevant WTO provisions and that it would make its case before a panel.
[*Laver is a seaweed.]
Adoption of reports
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When a panel report comes out, it is either adopted by the Dispute
Settlement Body or appealed by one or more parties to the dispute. When
the Appellate Body report comes out, it is automatically adopted by the
DSB — unless there is consensus to reject it — and becomes binding.
DS267: US — Subsidies on upland cotton
The US first noted that negotiation, rather than litigation, was the most
effective way to address distortions in agricultural trade. The US then
expressed disappointment in the Panel and Appellate Body reports. It
highlighted certain interpretations and approaches in these reports which,
according to the US, should be of concern to Members no matter their view
on the merits of Brazil's claims.
Brazil welcomed the adoption of the reports, noting that both found that
various subsidies granted by the US on the production, use and exports of
cotton were inconsistent with US obligations under the Agriculture and
Subsidies WTO Agreements. Brazil made detailed comments on the following
issues: the relationship between the Agreements on Agriculture and on
Subsidies; the green box; the analysis in the context of serious prejudice
claims; and the disciplines on export credit guarantees for agricultural
Brazil expressed hope that the US would fully and timely comply with the
The EC said that the panel and Appellate Body had not, in some instances,
followed the legal interpretations which the EC considered to be correct.
The EC mentioned the fact that the Appellate Body had not taken into
account the EC's arguments on the general relationship between the export
subsidy and domestic support provisions of the Agreement on Agriculture
and the corresponding provisions of the Subsidies Agreement.
Argentina expressed satisfaction with the panel and Appellate Body
Canada said that it was still studying the reports.
The DSB adopted the Appellate Body report and the panel report as modified
by the Appellate Body report.
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After a ruling has been adopted, the DSB keeps under surveillance the
implementation of the ruling until the issue is resolved.
& DS234: US — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (Byrd
The US announced that on 3 March 2005 legislation that would repeal the
Byrd Amendment was introduced in the US House of Representatives.
The EC welcomed the introduction of this bill but recalled that in the
last Congress two similar bills were not even discussed, let alone
Similarly, Canada, Japan, Brazil and Chile welcomed the new bill but urged
the US to pass the legislation as soon as possible.
Other implementation cases
There are no new developments to report since the last DSB meeting on the
DS176: US — Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998
DS184: US — Anti-dumping measures on certain hot-rolled steel products
DS160: United States — Section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act.
DS204: Mexico — Measures affecting telecommunications services.
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The DSB will meet on 29 March to adopt the panel report on United States —
Countervailing duty investigation on Dynamic Random Access Memory
Semiconductors (DRAMS) from Korea (DS296), unless it is appealed.
The next regular DSB meeting will be on 19 April 2005.