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Complaint by the United States.
On 7 April 1997, the US
requested consultations with Japan in respect of the latter’s prohibition,
under quarantine measures, of imports of certain agricultural products.
The US alleged that Japan prohibits the importation of each variety of a
product requiring quarantine treatment until the quarantine treatment has
been tested for that variety, even if the treatment has proved to be
effective for other varieties of the same product. The US alleged
violations of Articles 2, 5 and 8 of the SPS Agreement, Article XI of GATT
1994, and Article 4 of the Agreement on Agriculture. In addition, the US
made a claim for nullification and impairment of benefits.
On 3 October 1997, the US requested the establishment
of a panel. At its meeting on 16 October 1997, 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 on 18 November 1997.
The EC, Hungary and Brazil reserved their third-party rights. The report
of the Panel was circulated to Members on 27 October 1998. The Panel found
that Japan acted inconsistently with Articles 2.2 and 5.6 of the SPS
Agreement, and Annex B and, consequently, Article 7 of the SPS Agreement.
On 24 November 1998, Japan notified its intention to
appeal certain issues of law and legal interpretations developed by the
Panel. The report of the Appellate Body was circulated to Members on 22
February 1999. The Appellate Body upheld the basic finding that Japan’s
varietal testing of apples, cherries, nectarines and walnuts is
inconsistent with the requirements of the SPS Agreement.
The DSB adopted the Appellate Body Report and the Panel Report, as
modified by the Appellate Body Report, on 19 March 1999.
Implementation of adopted reports
Pursuant to Article
21.3 of the DSU, Japan informed the DSB on 13 April 1999 that it was
studying ways in which to implement the recommendations of the DSB. In a
joint communication, the two parties informed the DSB, on 15 June 1999,
that they had agreed on an implementation period of 9 months and 12 days
from the date of adoption of the reports, i.e. from 19 March to 31
On 31 December 1999, Japan abolished the varietal
testing requirement as well as the “Experimental Guide” in
accordance with the DSB’s rulings. At the DSB meeting on 14 January 2000,
Japan also stated that it was conducting consultations with the US
regarding a new quarantine methodology for those products subject to
import prohibitions because they were hosts of codling moth. At the DSB
meeting on 24 February 2000, Japan noted that it expected to reach a
mutually satisfactory solution with the US regarding a new quarantine
On 23 August 2001, Japan and the US notified to the DSB that they had
reached a mutually satisfactory solution with respect to conditions for
lifting import prohibitions on the fruits and nuts at issue in the
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