WTO: 2013 NEWS ITEMS

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

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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.

In his opening statement, the new Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB), Ambassador Fried (Canada) made some remarks concerning Agenda item 1 on surveillance of implementation of recommendations adopted by the DSB.  He noted that members had fallen into the habit of submitting more or less the same status reports each month, the only change being the date. He encouraged members to look at Article 21.6 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) and to submit “meaningful” reports that were informative and up to date. Furthermore, he recalled that Rule 27 of the General Council Rules of Procedure required members to refrain from engaging in a full debate on an issue that had already been fully debated in the past and on which there had been no change in members' positions already on record. 

 

DS455: Indonesia — Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Products

The United States requested that the DSB establish a panel to examine this matter. The US said that it was concerned about Indonesia's broad use of import licensing measures that restrict imports of horticultural products, animals and animal products which, in its view, appeared to be inconsistent with Indonesia's WTO obligations.  

Indonesia said that at the consultations held in February 2013, it had demonstrated its commitment to resolving this matter bilaterally with the US and was in the process of reviewing regulations regarding the importation of horticultural products, animal and animal products. Thus, Indonesia was not in a position to agree to the establishment of a panel.

Canada and the European Union referred to their joint letter (WT/DS455/6) regarding their concerns about the way Indonesia had reacted to their request to be joined in the consultations between the US and Indonesia prior to the panel request.  In their view, by proposing to hold consultations separately from those held with the US, Indonesia failed to comply with Article 4.11 of the DSU. In response, Indonesia said that this dispute was of significant importance to Indonesia and that the parties to the dispute had to deal with delicate information during the first consultation. That was why Indonesia had decided to hold the consultations with the US bilaterally and to have another consultation with the third parties at a later date. 

 

Appellate Body

The DSB agreed to reappoint Mr Ricardo Ramirez as Appellate Body member for a second four-year term of office, starting on 1 July 2013.  The Chair also informed members that he intended to make a proposal at the April DSB meeting regarding the selection process for the position currently held by Mr David Unterhalter whose second four-year term of office expires on 11 December 2013. The Chair would also begin the informal process of consultations on the possible reappointment of Mr Peter Van den Bossche, whose first four-year term of office would also expire on 11 December 2013 and who was eligible and willing to be reappointed.

 

DS285: US — Measures Affecting the Cross Border Supply of Gambling and Betting Services

Under “Other Business”, Dominica made a statement on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda regarding the “US — Gambling” dispute. Antigua and Barbuda had not seen any substantial progress on the part of the US to comply with the DSB's recommendations and rulings nor to reach a settlement with Antigua and Barbuda.  Before moving forward with cross-retaliation, Antigua and Barbuda wanted to appeal to the US to make one last effort at resolving the matter and avoiding unpredictable consequences. 

 

Status reports

Several members (the United States, the European Union and Thailand) submitted status reports on different disputes.

 

DS422: US — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Shrimp and Diamond Sawblades from China

The United States said that it had implemented the DSB's recommendations and rulings in this dispute within the reasonable period of time.  China did not share the US view that it had fully implemented the DSB's recommendations since it had failed to revoke the anti-dumping duty on sawblades. 

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