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Dispute Settlement Body 24 June 2002

Panel on US steel safeguards dispute grows to six co-complainants

At the Dispute Settlement Body meeting on 24 June, second time panel requests by China, Switzerland and Norway were granted. The DSB also agreed to refer these complaints to the panel established on 3 June to examine the EC's complaint.

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This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariats 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 Bodys meetings.

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Establishment of panels

DS252, DS253 & DS254: United States Definitive safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products

The DSB agreed to refer complaints by China, Switzerland and Norway to the panel established on 3 June. The panel now has six complaints: EC, Japan, Korea, China, Switzerland and Norway; and 14 third parties: Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Switzerland, Norway, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Canada, China, EC, Mexico, Turkey, Venezuela and Cuba.

The US regretted that China, Norway and Switzerland had chosen to challenge their safeguard measures which, the US said, were fully consistent with WTO agreements.

The EC welcomed the establishment of a single panel and reminded Members that New Zealand and Brazil were currently in the process of consultations with the US on the same matter.


DS243: United States Rules of Origin for textiles and apparel products

The DSB agreed to accept the request for a panel by India on the WTO consistency of the United States legislation and administrative practices on the rules of origin for textile and apparel products which, according to India, have created restrictive, distorting and disruptive effects on international trade. The US considers that its measures are fully consistent with the Agreement on Rules of Origin.


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Panel requests deferred

Turkey blocked the first-time request by Ecuador (DS237) for the establishment of a panel on the procedures for the imports of fresh fruit, in particular bananas, into Turkey. Peru also blocked a first-time request for the establishment of a panel made by Chile (DS255) on the modification of the tax regime in Peru for the imports of products such as fish, milk, fruit, vegetables and tea. Both request will be reconsidered by the DSB in the next regular meeting on 29 July.

The case concerning Canada export credits and loan guarantees for regional aircraft goes to arbitration.

At the DSB meeting it was agreed that the matter in relation to Canada export credits and loan guarantees for regional aircraft (DS222) would be referred to arbitration. Brazil requested the DSB to grant authorization to take appropriate countermeasures in the amount of US$3.36 billion for Canada's failure to follow the recommendations of the DSB within the time-period specified by the panel, adopted by the DSB on 19 February 2002. Canada, which previously had requested without success for the matter to be taken out of the agenda of the meeting, objected to the countermeasures proposed by Brazil and asked for the matter to be referred to arbitration.


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Other business

Under other business, the US made a statement in which it reminded the DSB of an agreement reached with Argentina on certain measures on the protection of patents and test data. The US said they noted with concern that the Argentine Supreme Court recently overturned an appeals court decision that would have permitted adding product claims to pending process patent applications. Argentina also made a statement saying that both parties agreed that Argentina will fulfill its WTO obligations on this matter through its legal system and practices, including decisions of the Supreme Court of Justice, and that the decision by the Supreme Court mentioned by the US has addressed this issue.


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Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the DSB will be on 29 July.

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