SUBSIDIES AND COUNTERVAILING MEASURES: NOTIFICATIONS
Notifications under the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures

The Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (“SCM Agreement") obliges Members to submit a variety of notifications to the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (“SCM Committee”). Except where a notifying Member has specifically requested to the contrary, all notifications are issued as unrestricted documents and are fully accessible to the public.

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Notifications Relating to Subsidies Back to top

These notifications are available through “Documents Online”. In order to assist the public in identifying and retrieving these documents, a discussion of some of the main types of notifications submitted to the SCM Committee and the document series in which they may be located is provided below.

Notifications of Specific Subsidies. Article 25.1 of the SCM Agreement requires that all Members submit a new and full notification of all specific subsidies every three years, with updating notifications due in the intervening years. It should be noted that the notification obligation extends to all specific subsidies related to goods, in any sector (including agriculture), and provided by any level of government (e.g., national, regional, state or provincial, local). Members that consider that they provide no specific subsidies should so notify. Article 25.7 clearly states that the notification of a measure does not prejudge the measure's legal status under GATT 1994 and the SCM Agreement, its effects under the SCM Agreement, or the nature of the measure itself; Accordingly, Members are encouraged to err on the side of notification in the interests of transparency. A format for these notifications, which was approved by the SCM Committee in 1995, may be found in document G/SCM/6 dated 9 August 1995.

All 1995 new and full subsidy notifications are circulated under document series G/SCM/N/3/..., with the notifying Member identified by its three-letter ISO country code, while the 1996 and 1997 updating notifications may be found in document series G/SCM/N/16/... and G/SCM/N/25... respectively. In addition, there may be corrections, revisions, and supplements to any given notification, so a complete notification may include several documents. For example, the 1995 new and full subsidy notification of Argentina may be found in document G/SCM/N/3/ARG (with ARG being the three-letter ISO country code for Argentina), supplemented by document G/SCM/N/3/ARG/Suppl.1. New and full subsidy notifications for 1998, may be found in document series G/SCM/N/38/…. Updating notifications for 1999 and 2000 may be found in document series G/SCM/N/48/… and G/SCM/N/60/…, respectively. In May 2001, the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures discussed the frequency of subsidy notifications, and reached an understanding that Members believed that their resources would be best utilized by giving maximum priority to submitting new and full notifications, every two years, and by de-emphasizing the review of the annual updating notifications. The new and full notifications for 2001 were circulated in the G/SCM/N/71/… series. The new and full notifications for 2003 were circulated in the G/SCM/N/95/… series. New and full notifications of subsidies are reviewed by the SCM Committee on the basis of written questions and answers. These written questions and answers may be found in document series G/SCM/Q2/.... For example, questions and answers regarding the subsidy notification of Argentina would be found in documents G/SCM/Q2/ARG/1, G/SCM/Q2/ARG/2, etc.

Notifications of Measures Inconsistent with the SCM Agreement. Under Article 28 of the SCM Agreement, a subsidy programme established within the territory of a Member before the date on which that Member signed the WTO Agreement and which is inconsistent with the provisions of the SCM Agreement (i.e., export and local content subsidies) shall be notified to the SCM Committee not later than ninety days after the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement for such Member. Notified programmes are exempt from the prohibitions of Article 3 for three years from the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement for the notifying Member. A format for such notifications may be found in PC/IPL/11. Notifications pursuant to this Article may be found in document series G/SCM/N/2/..., with the notifying Member identified by its three-letter ISO country code. In addition, there may be corrections, revisions, and supplements to any given notification, so a complete notification may include several documents. For example, the notification of Chile may be found in document G/SCM/N/2/CHL (with CHL being the three-letter ISO country code for Chile), supplemented by document G/SCM/N/2/CHL/Suppl.1.

Pursuant to Article 27.4 of the Agreement, developing country Members subject to the eight-year transition period for the elimination of export subsidies had the possibility, not later than 31 December 2001, to request extensions of that transition period. The Members making use of this mechanism must present annual notifications in respect of the programmes concerned. The initial notifications were circulated in the G/SCM/N/71/… series, and updates for 2003 can be found in the G/SCM/N/99/… series. Questions and answers concerning those notifications can be found in the G/SCM/Q3/… series.

Subsidy Notifications by Members in Transformation. Members in the process of transformation from a centrally-planned to a market, free-enterprise economy and who seek to benefit from the transition period provided for such Members with respect to otherwise prohibited subsidies (i.e., export and local content subsidies) were to notify such subsidies up to two years after the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement (i.e., by 31 December 1996). These notifications were circulated to the SCM Committee in document series G/SCM/N/9/..., with the notifying Member identified by its three-letter ISO country code. In addition, there may be corrections, revisions, and supplements to any given notification, so a complete notification may include several documents. For example, the notification of Romania may be found in documents G/SCM/N/9/ROM and G/SCM/N/9/ROM/Suppl.1.

Other optional notifications. Certain benefits under the SCM Agreement can only be obtained through notification by a Member. For example, a developing country Member that desires that certain subsidies directly linked to a privatization programme be non-actionable multilaterally under Article 27.13 of the SCM Agreement must notify the subsidy to the SCM Committee. A format for such notifications may be found in document G/SCM/15. Notifications pursuant to this provision may be found in document series G/SCM/N/13/..., with the notifying Member identified by its three-letter ISO country code. (1)

  
  
Notifications Relating to Countervailing Measures
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Notifications of Countervailing Legislations. Article 32.6 of the SCM Agreement requires Members to notify their domestic laws and regulations relating to countervailing measures to the SCM Committee. Members that have no countervailing laws or regulations should so notify. These notifications, which are in the form of the full texts of the relevant laws and/or regulations, may be found in document series G/SCM/N/1/..., with the notifying Member identified by its three-letter ISO country code. In addition, there may be corrections, revisions, and supplements to any given notification, so a complete notification may include several documents. Where a new legislation and/or regulation replaces an existing notification, a new number is given. For example, the current countervailing legislation of Brazil might be G/SCM/N/1/BRA/2. These notifications are subject to review in the SCM Committee on the basis of written questions and answers. The questions and answers are circulated in the G/SCM/Q1/... series. For example, questions and answers regarding the legislative notification of Brazil would be found in documents G/SCM/Q1/BRA/1, G/SCM/Q1/BRA/2, etc.

Notifications of Countervailing Actions. Article 25.11 requires Members to submit a report of all countervailing actions they have taken, as well as a list of all countervailing measures in force, twice a year. A format for these semi-annual reports may be found in document G/SCM/2. Members that have taken no countervailing action during the period should so notify. Semi-annual reports for each six-month period have their own document series, with each Member's report identified with its three-letter ISO country code. For example, the request for semi-annual reports for the second semester of 1997 may be found in G/SCM/N/35; A summary of the status of semi-annual reports for that semester (which Members have notified actions; which Members have notified that they have taken no action; and which Members have not yet submitted a notification) may be found in document G/SCM/N/35/Add.1. For example, the semi-annual report of Australia for that semester may be found in document G/SCM/N/35/AUS.

Notifications of Preliminary and Final Countervailing Actions. Article 25.11 also requires Members to submit notifications of all preliminary or final countervailing actions to the SCM Committee. The notification may either take the form of the full text of a Member's public notice of countervailing action, or a summary satisfying the requirements of the format set forth in document G/SCM/3. A list of notifications received is periodically circulated to the SCM Committee as a G/SCM/N/... document; however, the actual notifications are too lengthy to be circulated and are thus made available at the WTO Secretariat for consultation by interested delegations.

Notifications of Competent Authorities. Article 25.12 requires Members to notify the SCM Committee which of its authorities are competent to initiate and conduct countervailing investigations. The list, which includes addresses and contact numbers, is periodically updated and may be found in document G/SCM/N/18/Add….. The highest addendum number reflects the most recent list.

Note:
(1) The Agreement as it originally went into force allowed a Member to notify the SCM Committee of subsidy programmes for which non-actionable status was invoked. The Agreement's provisions pertaining to non-actionable subsidies applied provisionally for five years ending 31 December 1999, and pursuant to Article 31 of the Agreement, could be extended by consensus of the SCM Committee. As of 31 December 1999, no such consensus had been reached.
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