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Dispute Settlement Body 3 June 2002

Panel on “steel” established

At its meeting on 3 June 2002, the DSB established a panel to examine the United States' “Definitive safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products”. The panel was requested by the European Communities.

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This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariat’s Information and Media 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.

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Request for the establishment of panels

DS248: United States — Definitive safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products

The EC requested for the second time the establishment of a panel. The EC said that many other members also questioned the compatibility of the US action with WTO requirements: Japan, Korea, China, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand and Brazil. The EC said that all members raised similar points, including lack of increased imports, absence of injury, flawed causal link between imports and injury, disproportionate remedy and violation of parallelism requirement.

The US said that it regretted the EC's challenge and that US measures were fully consistent with the Safeguards Agreement and GATT 1994.

The DSB agreed to establish a panel. Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Canada and China requested to be third parties. Malaysia said it was keeping its options open.


DS249 & DS251: United States — Definitive safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products

The DSB examined Japan and Korea's first requests for the establishment of panel at the same time.

Japan said that the US safeguard measures clearly violated the WTO Agreement. It said that the consultations in April did not result in a satisfactory solution and therefore Japan was requesting a panel.

Korea said that after the US Government had announced its decision to take safeguard measures on steel in early March, there had been an outpour of protests. Korea repeated that the US action was leading to a spiral of protectionist measures and that the situation might easily get out of control and escalate into cross retaliations by major members on a level that had never before been witnessed in the history of the WTO. Korea added that it was worried about the ramifications of the US measures on the on-going Doha Development Agenda negotiations.

The US regretted Japan's and Korea's challenge to the US safeguard measures and said they were not in a position to accept the establishment of a panel.

Japan said that it would immediately request a special meeting of the DSB on 14 June to consider their second request.

Norway said they would circulate a request for a panel to be considered on 14 June.

Switzerland said they would do the same.

The EC said that they regretted the US' delaying tactics which meant that they had to keep on asking for additional meetings of the DSB.

China reminded the members that they had asked for a special meeting on 7 June to consider its first request for a panel.


DS245: Japan — Measures affecting the importation of apples

The US requested for the second time a panel to examine Japan's phytosanitary measures applied to US apples.

The US said that the Japanese measures lacked the scientific basis required under the WTO agreements and that they were not legitimate phytosanitary measures. The US added that they had provided Japan with ample information demonstrating that mature, symptomless apples did not pose a risk for the fire blight.

Japan said that they had repeatedly expressed their willingness to consider the possibility of amending their phytosanitary measures if the US provided more information. Japan said that the US had never provided additional information but rather had unilaterally terminated bilateral consultations.

The DSB established a panel. The EU, Australia and Brazil requested to be third parties.


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Request for suspension of concessions

DS222: Canada — Export credits and loan guarantees for regional aircraft

Following a bilateral agreement signed on 1 June 2002, Brazil and Canada requested the DSB to defer consideration of this agenda item and revert to it at its next regular meeting on 24 June 2002. Brazil and Canada said they needed additional time to consider how to proceed with this dispute, particularly with regard to the sequence of Articles 21 (review of implementation) and 22 (suspension of concessions).


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Next meeting

Special meetings of the DSB will take place on 7 and 14 June 2002. The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled for 24 June 2002.

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