DISPUTE SETTLEMENT: DISPUTE DS248

United States — Definitive Safeguard Measures on Imports of Certain Steel Products


This summary has been prepared by the Secretariat under its own responsibility. The summary is for general information only and is not intended to affect the rights and obligations of Members.

  

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One-page summary of key findings of this dispute
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Text of the Dispute Settlement Understanding


Current status  back to top

 

Key facts  back to top

Short title:
Complainant:
Respondent:
Third Parties:
Agreements cited:
(as cited in request for consultations)
Request for Consultations received:
Panel Report circulated: 11 July 2003
Appellate Body Report circulated: 10 November 2003

 

Summary of the dispute to date  back to top

The summary below was up-to-date at
See also: One-page summary of key findings of this dispute

Consultations

Complaint by the European Communities.

On 7 March 2002, the European Communities requested consultations with the United States regarding the definitive safeguard measures imposed by the US in the form of an increase in duties on imports of certain flat steel, hot-rolled bar, cold-finished bar, rebar, certain welded tubular products, carbon and alloy fittings, stainless steel bar, stainless steel rod, tin mill products and stainless steel wire and in the form of a tariff rate quota on imports of slabs effective as of 20 March 2002. The European Communities considered that the aforementioned US measures were in breach of US obligations under the Agreement on Safeguards and GATT 1994, and in particular Articles 2.1, 2.2 ,3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1 and 9.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, XIII and XIX:1 of GATT 1994. The European Communities also reserved all its rights regarding the pursuit of the remedies provided for under the Agreement on Safeguards and the DSU.

On 14 March 2002, Japan and Korea requested to join the consultations. On 15 March 2002, Switzerland and Canada also requested to join the consultations. On 20 March 2002, Venezuela also requested to join the consultations. On 21 March 2002, Norway and China requested to join the consultations as well. On 22 March 2002, Mexico also requested to join the consultations. On 25 March 2002, New Zealand also requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and Venezuela to join the consultations.

On 20 March 2002, Japan (WT/DS249) requested consultations with the United States also with regard to the definitive safeguard measures imposed by the US on the imports of certain steel products and claimed violations of Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7.1, 7.4. 8.1, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, II, X:3, XIII and XIX:2 of GATT 1994. On 27 March, Norway requested to join the consultations. On 5 April, Mexico requested to join the consultations. On 9 April 2002, New Zealand requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Mexico, New Zealand and Norway to join the consultations.

On 20 March 2002, Korea (WT/DS251) requested consultations with the United States also with regard to the definitive safeguard measures imposed by the US on the imports of certain steel products and the related laws of the US, including Sections 201 and 202 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 311 of the NAFTA Implementation Act. Korea claimed violations of Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3, 4, 5, 7.1, 7.4, 8.1, 9.1 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards, Articles X:3 and XIX:1 of GATT 1994 and Article XVI:4 of the Marrakesh Agreement. On 27 March 2002, Japan and Norway requested to join the consultations. On 5 April, Mexico and New Zealand requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Norway to join the consultations.

On 26 March 2002, China (WT/DS252) requested consultations with the United States also with regard to the definitive safeguard measures imposed by the US on imports of certain steel products and claimed violations of Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 8.1, 9.1 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, II, X:3, XIX:1 and XIX:2 of GATT 1994. On 4 April 2002, Japan requested to join the consultations. On 5 April 2002, New Zealand also requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Japan and New Zealand to join the consultations.

On 3 April 2002, Switzerland (WT/DS253) also requested consultations with the United States with regard to the definitive safeguard measures imposed by the US on imports of certain steel products and claimed violations of Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7.1, 8.1 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1 and XIX:1 of GATT 1994. On 11 April 2002, New Zealand requested to join the consultations. On 15 April 2002, Japan requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Japan and New Zealand to join consultations.

On 4 April 2002, Norway (WT/DS254) requested consultations with he United States with regard to the same safeguard measures imposed by the US on imports of certain steel products and claimed violations of Articles 3, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7, 8.1, 9.1 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, II, X:3 and XIX of GATT 1994. On 11 April 2002, New Zealand requested to join the consultations. On 15 April 2002, Japan requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of Japan and New Zealand to join consultations.

On 14 May 2002, New Zealand (WT/DS258) requested consultations with the United States with regard to the same safeguard measures on steel imposed by the US and claimed violations of Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7, 8.1 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, X and XIX:1 of GATT 1994. On 24 May 2002, the European Communities requested to join the consultations. On 27 May 2002, Japan requested to join the consultations. On 30 May 2002, Korea requested to join the consultations. On 31 May 2002, Norway, China and Mexico requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of China, the EC, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Norway to join consultations.

On 21 May 2002, Brazil (WT/DS259) requested consultations with the United States with regard to the same definitive safeguard measures imposed by the US on imports of certain steel products. On 24 May 2002, the European Communities requested to join the consultations. On 27 May 2002, Japan requested to join the consultations. On 30 May 2002, Korea requested to join the consultations. On 31 May 2002, Norway, China and Mexico requested to join the consultations. The US informed the DSB that it had accepted the requests of China, the EC, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Norway to join consultations.

Further to individual requests for the establishment of a panel submitted by the eight complainants at the following DSB meetings:

  • 3 June 2002 — the EC claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2.1, 3.1, 4.2(a), 4.2(b), 4.2(c) and 5.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Article XIX:1 of GATT 1994;
     
  • 14 June 2002 — Japan claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, X:3 and XIX:1 of GATT 1994. Korea claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.1, 8.1, 9.1 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles X:3, XIII and XIX of GATT 1994;
     
  • 24 June 2002 — China claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 8.1, 9.1 and 12 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, II and XIX of GATT 1994. Switzerland claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4, 5.1 and 8.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Article XIX:1 of GATT 1994. Norway claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2, 3, 4, 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, X:3(a) and XIX of GATT 1994;
     
  • 8 July 2002 — New Zealand claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4.2, 5.1, 7 and 8.1 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles X:3(a) and XIX:1 of GATT 1994;
     
  • 29 July 2002 — Brazil claimed that the US measures violated Articles 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 4 and 5 of the Agreement on Safeguards and Articles I:1, X:3 and XIX:1 of GATT 1994;

 

Panel and Appellate Body proceedings

The DSB established a single Panel, pursuant to an agreement between the parties and in accordance with Article 9.1 of the DSU.

The Members which had reserved their third-party rights in the Panels established at the request of these parties were also considered as third parties in the single Panel. Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela have reserved their rights to participate in the Panel proceedings as a third party.

On 15 July 2002, the DSB was notified of a procedural agreement between the United States and the European Communities, Japan, Korea, China, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand. On 18 July 2002, the DSB was notified of a procedural agreement between the United States and Brazil.

On 15 July 2002, the European Communities, Japan, Korea, China, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand requested the Director-General to determine the composition of the Panel. On 25 July 2002, the Panel was composed.

On 23 October 2002, Malaysia decided to withdraw as a third party from the panel proceedings.

On 20 February 2003, the Chairman of the Panel informed the DSB that the Panel would not be able to complete its work in six months due to the volume, complexities and sensitivity of the legal and factual questions that had been raised. The Panel hoped to complete its work by the end of April 2003.

The Panel circulated its Reports1 to Members on 11 July 2003. The Panel concluded that all the United States’ safeguard measures at issue were inconsistent with at least one of the following WTO pre-requisites for the imposition of a safeguard measure: lack of demonstration of (i) unforeseen developments; (ii) increased imports; (iii) causation; and (iv) parallelism. The Panel thus requested the United States to bring the relevant safeguard measures into conformity with its obligations under the Agreement on Safeguards and GATT 1994.

On 11 August 2003, the US notified its decision to appeal to the Appellate Body certain issues of law covered in the Panel Report and certain legal interpretations developed by the Panel.

On 8 October 2003, the Chairman of the Appellate Body informed the DSB that the Appellate Body would not be able to circulate its Report within 60 days due to the time required for completion and translation of the Report and that it estimated that the Appellate Body Report in this appeal would be circulated to WTO Members no later than 10 November 2003.

On 10 November 2003, the Appellate Body Report was circulated to Members. The Appellate Body upheld the Panel’s ultimate conclusions that each of the ten safeguard measures at issue in this dispute was inconsistent with the United States’ obligations under Article XIX:1(a) of the GATT 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards. The Appellate Body reversed the Panel’s findings that the US failed to provide a reasoned and adequate explanation on “increased imports” and on the existence of a “causal link” between increased imports and serious injury for two of the ten safeguard measures. Ultimately, however, even these measures were found to be inconsistent with the WTO Agreement on other grounds.

At its meeting on 10 December 2003, the DSB adopted the Appellate Body report and the Panel report, as modified by the Appellate Body report.

 

Implementation of adopted reports

At the DSB meeting of 10 December 2003, the US informed Members that, on 4 December 2003, the President of the United States had issued a proclamation that terminated all of the safeguard measures subject to this dispute, pursuant to section 204 of the US Trade Act of 1974.

 

1. Although all complaints made by the eight co-complainants were considered in a single panel process, the United States requested the issuance of eight separate panel reports, claiming that to do otherwise would prejudice its WTO rights, including its right to settle the matter with individual complainants. The complainants vigorously opposed this request, stating that to grant it would only delay the panel process. The Panel decided to issue its decisions in the form of “one document constituting eight Panel Reports”. Thus, for WTO purposes, this document is deemed to be eight separate reports, relating to each of the eight complainants in this dispute. The document comprises a common cover page, a common descriptive part and a common set of findings. However, the document also contains conclusions and recommendations that are “particularized” for each of the complainants, with a separate number (symbol) for each individual complainant. In the Panel’s view, this approach respected the rights of all parties while ensuring the prompt and effective settlement of the disputes.   back to text

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