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Complaint by the United States.
On 12 October 2000, the
US requested consultations with the EC concerning the administration by
Belgium of laws and regulations establishing the customs duties applicable
to rice imported from the United States. The United States considered
- Belgium has failed to administer the pertinent laws and
regulations in a manner that is consistent with its WTO obligations,
leading to the assessment of duties on rice imported from the United
States in excess of the bound rate of duty, in contravention of Article II
of the GATT 1194;
- Belgiumís use of reference prices in the calculation of
the applicable import duties would appear to be inconsistent with Article
VII of the GATT 1994 and the Customs Valuation Agreement;
- Belgiumís refusal to recognize widely accepted industry
standards associated with the grading of rice appears to be inconsistent
with Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 of the Agreement on Technical Barriers
- Belgium has failed to administer its customs valuation
determinations and its assessment of tariffs in a transparent manner,
thereby impeding trade, and appears to have applied the measures in a
manner that discriminates against rice imported from the United States.
- According to the United States, the measures have
restricted imports of rice into Belgium. Thus, the Belgian measures also
appear to be inconsistent with Articles I, X and XI of the GATT 1994 and
Article 4 of the Agreement on Agriculture.
- According to the United States, Belgiumís measures
appear to be inconsistent with the following specific provisions of the
identified agreements: Articles I, II, VII, VIII, X and XI of the GATT
1994; Articles 1-6, 7, 10, 14, 16 and Annex I of the Customs Valuation
Agreement; Articles 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 of the Agreement on Technical
Barriers to Trade; Article 4 of the Agreement on Agriculture. Belgiumís
measures also appear to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to the
United States directly or indirectly under the cited agreements.
On 19 January 2001, the US requested the establishment
of a panel. At its meeting on 1 February 2001, the DSB deferred the
establishment of a panel.
Panel and Appellate Body proceedings
Further to a second request to establish a panel
by the US, the DSB established a panel at its meeting of 12 March 2001.
India and Japan reserved their third-party rights. On 29 May 2001, the US
requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel.
On 7 June 2001, the Panel was composed.
On 26 July 2001, the US requested the Panel, pursuant
to Article 12.12 of the DSU, to suspend its work until 30 September 2001
in light of ongoing consultations between the US and the EC. On 27
September, the US requested a further suspension of the Panel from 1 to 9
October 2001. On 9 October, the US requested to further suspend the work
of the Panel until 1 November 2001. On 1 November, the US requested to
further suspend the work of the Panel until 16 November 2001. On 19
November 2001, the US requested the Panel to suspend its work until 30
Mutually agreed solution
On 18 December 2001, the US and the EC informed the DSB
that they had reached a mutually agreed solution pursuant to Article 3.6
of the DSU.
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