WTO NEWS: 2003 NEWS ITEMS
Dispute Settlement Body 21 & 23 July 2003
Australia, Brazil and Thailand request a panel to examine the EU sugar subsidy regime
On 21 July 2003, Australia, Brazil and Thailand made their first request for the establishment of a panel to look at the European Union's export subsidies on sugar (DS265, DS266 and DS283).
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.
Surveillance of implementation
The US said that legislation repealing the 1916 Act and terminating all pending cases had been introduced in the Senate on 19 May 2003. The US also mentioned previous bills repealing the 1916 Act introduced in the House of Representatives.
The EC urged the US Administration to convey upon Congress the need to proceed to repeal the 1916 Anti-Dumping Act and terminate pending litigation prior to the congressional summer recess.
Japan asked the US to report to the DSB in more details on how the three bills and any future bills would be handled in Congress.
DS176: United States — Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998
The US informed the DSB that the US and the EC had agreed to extend the implementation time until 31 December 2003.
The EC explained that it had agreed to give the US more time given the introduction in Congress in June of a bill that would repeal Section 211.
Cuba complained about the United States' slowness in implementing the DSB recommendations and rulings.
DS184: United States — Anti-dumping measures on certain hot-rolled steel products from Japan
The US said that the US Administration had expressed its support for specific legislative amendments that would implement the DSB recommendations and rulings.
Japan said that the US had not shown any evidence to prove that it meant to support the required legislation. Japan demanded that the US secured the introduction and passage of the relevant legislation as early as possible.
DS211: Egypt — Definitive anti-dumping measures on steel rebar from Turkey
Egypt said that it had submitted its revised injury and dumping assessment to interested parties. Egypt added that it would examine Turkey's comments.
Turkey said that it was aware of Egypt's efforts but that no tangible solution had been found and that the implementation deadline would end in 10 days (31 July 2003).
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DS273: Korea — Measures affecting trade in commercial vessels
The EC requested for the second time the establishment of a panel to look at Korea's measures affecting trade in commercial vessels.
Korea commented that it firmly believed that the Korean government had not provided any support inconsistent with the WTO Subsidies Agreement. Korea said that the main issue in that case was whether action taken by Korean financial institutions into which the government was forced to inject funds due to a financial crisis constituted prohibited or actionable subsidies.
The DSB established a panel. The following countries requested to be third parties: Japan, United States, Norway, China, Mexico and Chinese Taipei.
According to Annex V of the Subsidies Agreement, the DSB agreed to initiate a procedure to gather information on the Korean commercial vessel subsidies and their adverse effects. Dr. András Szepesi, currently Chairman of the Textiles Monitoring Body, was chosen by the EC and Korea to facilitate the information gathering process. The EC designated China and Japan as “third-country markets”, i.e. countries that should submit information on potential adverse effects of Korean subsidies to their commercial vessel industry. The information gathering process must be completed within 60 days of its launch.
DS285: United States — Measures affecting the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services
Antigua and Barbuda requested for the second time the establishment of a panel. Antigua and Barbuda reiterated its complaint about the US' prohibition of all cross-border supply of gaming services.
The US repeated that cross-border gambling and betting services were not within the scope of US specific market access commitments under the GATS.
The DSB established a panel. The following countries requested to be third parties: EC, Mexico, Canada and Chinese Taipei.
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DS270: Australia — Certain measures affecting the importation of fresh fruit and vegetables
The Philippines requested a panel for the first time. The Philippines said that it had repeatedly raised its concerns with Australia on the latter's sanitary and phytosanitary measures on fruit but to no avail. The two countries held consultations mid-November 2002 but these failed to solved the dispute, the Philippines added.
Australia argued that its quarantine system was fully WTO consistent and said that it could not agree to the establishment of a panel at this meeting.
The Philippines' request was thus blocked.
Australia, Brazil and Thailand together requested the establishment of a panel to examine the EC's subsidy sugar regime. The three countries argued that EC's direct and indirect subsidies on the export of its sugar were not consistent with the EC's WTO export subsidy obligations contracted during the Uruguay Round.
The European Communities blocked this first request saying that it was totally convinced of the WTO consistency of its sugar regime. The EC added that EC exports had remained stable for many years and could therefore not be blamed for low prices on world sugar market.
Mauritius, on behalf of several African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, made a lengthy statement on the importance of EC sugar preferences for ACP states.
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Adoption of panel report
DS243: United States — Rules of origin for textiles and apparel products
The United States welcomed the panel's findings that the US rules of origin at issue in the dispute were not inconsistent with the US WTO obligations.
India, China and the Philippines expressed their disappointment with the panel's rulings.
The DBS adopted the panel report.
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Appointment of Appellate Body Members
The term of office of four of the Appellate Body Members is expiring. The DSB decided on appropriate procedures to fill the four posts.
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The next meeting of the DSB will take place on 29 August 2003.
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