WTO: 2009 NEWS ITEMS

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Disputes in the WTO
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NOTE:
This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariat’s Information and External 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.

DS394, DS395, & DS398: China — Measures related to the exportation of various raw materials.
Requests for a  panel by US, EU and Mexico.

The DSB established a single panel at the 2nd-time requests of the US (WT/DS394/7), the EU (WT/DS395/7) and Mexico (WT/DS398/6). The requests were considered for the 1st time at the DSB meeting on 19 November when they were blocked by China. (see summary of meeting)

The following countries reserved their 3rd-party rights:  Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, EU, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and the US.

DS399: United States — Measures Affecting Imports of Certain Passenger Vehicle and Light Truck Tyres from China.
Request for a  panel by China.

China introduced its request for a panel (WT/DS399/2) by recalling that on 11 September 2009, the US had announced the imposition of product specific safeguard measures on imports of certain passenger vehicle and light truck tyres from China. These restrictions impaired China's interests and breached US obligations under the WTO. Despite having held consultations with the US, the dispute remained unresolved. The US said that its measure was consistent with its WTO obligations and with the product-specific safeguard mechanism provided for in section 16 of China's Protocol of Accession. The US said that it was not in a position to agree to the establishment of a panel at today's meeting.

DS396: Philippines — Taxes on Distilled Spirits.
Request for a panel by the EU. 

The EU introduced its request for a panel (WT/DS396/4) by stating that the spirits imported into the Philippines were subject to an excise tax of 10 to 50 times higher than the tax imposed on domestic spirits, thereby preventing EU spirits producers from benefiting in the Philippine market.  Despite the usefulness of the consultations in clarifying the Philippine measures and their application, they could not resolve the dispute hence the EU's request for panel establishment.  The Philippines regretted the EU's decision to request a panel and hoped that the matter could still be resolved.  The Philippines could not agree to the establishment of a panel. The US said that it had interest in the case and had thus closely followed and taken part in the consultations.

 

Other business  back to top

Brazil made a statement on the countermeasures related to the case US-Subsidies on Upland Cotton (DS267).  Brazil thanked the US for its response to its letter of 25 September 2009 requesting some data that was required to update the value of the countermeasures authorized to Brazil. Brazil informed the DSB that, on the basis of complete data related to fiscal year 2008 and calendar year 2008, the total amount of countermeasures authorized to Brazil would be US$ 829.3 million. Brazil also stated that, on the basis of the same period, the threshold above which Brazil was entitled to take countermeasures in other sectors and agreements outside trade in goods would be US$561 million.

The following status reports were presented:

(i) US — Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998 (DS176). 
The US reported that a number of legislative proposals that would implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings had been introduced in the current Congress. In addition, the US Administration was working with Congress to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings. The EU noted that the US was presenting its 86th status report and hoped that the new US authorities would take steps to finally implement the DSB ruling and resolve the matter. Cuba, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and Paraguay all reiterated their continued concern over non-compliance and called on the US to promptly comply with the DSB's recommendations and rulings.

(ii) US — Anti-dumping Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Products from Japan (DS184). 
The US reported that as of 23 November 2002, its authorities had addressed the DSB's recommendations and rulings with respect to the calculation of anti-dumping margins in  this dispute.  With regard to those recommendations and rulings not yet addressed, the US Administration would work with Congress with respect to appropriate statutory measures that would resolve this matter.  Japan hoped that the US would soon be able to report tangible progress. 

(iii) US — Section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act (DS160).
The US stated that its Administration would continue to confer with the EU and work closely with Congress in order to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. The EU reiterated its disappointment with the US' non-compliance despite the importance the US attached to intellectual property protection. 

(iv) EC — Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products (DS291 & DS293).
The EU reported that its regulatory procedures on biotech products continued to work as foreseen in the legislation and that four GM maize events had recently been authorized, raising the number of GMOs authorized since the establishment of the panel to twenty-five. The US reiterated its concerns that individual EU member states continued to ban certain biotech products even after having received EU-wide approval. Argentina mentioned that it continued to follow all developments regarding approval and that it hoped to soon be in a position to announce a mutually agreed solution.

(v) EC — Regime for the Importation, Sale and Distribution of Bananas: Second Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Ecuador (DS27).
The EU reported that it had reached an agreement with Latin American banana suppliers and the US on 15 December 2009 and that pending a final settlement, Latin American suppliers and the US have committed not to take any action under the current disputes, provided the EU complies with its obligations under the agreement. Members that spoke (Ecuador, Panama, Colombia, India, Mexico and the US) welcomed the agreement but cautioned that the dispute was not yet over. They stressed the need for the EU to continue to report on progress and hoped to soon be in a position to announce a mutually agreed solution, thus removing the item from the agenda of the DSB. India did not see any linkage with the ongoing negotiations on tropical products and preference erosion. The US renewed its request to the EU to provide a status report with respect to the US dispute. Cameroon recalled its concern that the Appellate Body did not take into account all of its arguments and added that the Appellate Body should also take into account the trading reality.

(vi) US — Laws, Regulations and Methodology for Calculating Dumping Margins (“Zeroing”) (DS294).
The US reported that it had already taken a number of steps to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings and that it would continue to consult with interested parties with regard to the remaining issues. The EU expressed concern that the US had not taken any action to correct the shortcomings in its implementation and urged the US to bring itself into full compliance without further delay.

(vii) US — Measures Relating to Zeroing and Sunset Reviews (DS322).
The US said that it had taken steps to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings and that it would continue to consult with interested parties to address the outstanding issues. Japan called on the US to take immediate and concrete action.

(viii) US — Continued Existence and Application of Zeroing Methodology (DS350).
The US reported that it had taken steps to implement the DSB's recommendations and rulings and that with regard to the remaining issues, it would continue to consult with interested parties. The EU expressed its disappointment that the reasonable period of time for implementation had expired and the US had yet to bring itself into compliance.

DS217 & DS234: US — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA).
This item was on the agenda at the request of the EU and Japan.  Supported by Brazil, Canada, China, India and Thailand, they said that the CDSOA was still operational and urged the US to stop illegal distributions and to repeal the CDSOA. The US responded that it had already taken the necessary steps to comply.

 

Next meeting  back to top

The next meeting of the DSB will take place on 19 January 2010.

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