WTO NEWS: 2003 NEWS ITEMS
Dispute Settlement Body 2 October 2003
DSB establishes panel on EC trademark and geographical indication rules
On 2 October 2003, the Dispute Settlement Body agreed to established a panel to examine European Community rules on the protection of trademarks and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs. The United States and Australia requested the panel (DS174 & DS290).
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 United States said that the US Administration continued to work with Congress to achieve further progress in resolving this dispute.
The European Communities complained that three years had passed since the adoption of the panel and appellate body reports. The EC said that in the absence of any signs of implementation, the EC had asked for re-activation of the arbitration on the amount of sanctions it would be allowed to impose against the US.
Japan called on the US to pass the legislation repealing the 1916 Act and added that the legislation should have the proper retroactive effect to terminate the pending cases.
DS176: United States — Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998
The US stated that the US Administration would continue to work with Congress on appropriate statutory measures to resolve this dispute.
The EC welcomed the introduction of a bill in June 2003 in Congress that
would repeal Section 211. The EC hoped that this bill would offer a
solution to the dispute.
DS184: United States — Anti-dumping measures on certain hot-rolled steel products from Japan
The US said that the US Administration continued to work with Congress to address the recommendations and rulings of the DSB.
Japan said that the implementation deadline was approaching and that no
bill had yet been introduced in Congress to address this dispute. Japan
added that, should the US choose not to implement, it would have the right
to apply sanctions.
DS207: Chile — Price band system and safeguard measures relating to certain agricultural products
Chile announced that it would put a new price band system into place on 16 December 2003 which would cover most of the products concerned by the dispute. Other products would from that date no longer be subject to the system.
Argentina argued that the Appellate Body had ruled that any tariff resulting from the price band system was inconsistent with WTO rules. Argentina urged Chile to seek alternatives to the price band system before the implementation deadline, on 23 December 2003.
DS219: European Communities — Anti-dumping duties on malleable cast iron tube or pipe fittings from Brazil
EC and Brazil announced that they had agreed to a reasonable period of time to implement the recommendations and rulings of the DSB: the EC would have seven months from the adoption of the Appellate Body and panel reports — i.e. until 19 March 2004 — to implement.
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The US and Australia first requested a panel on 29 August 2003. Presenting their second request, the United States and Australia mentioned their serious concerns about the discriminatory nature of the EC regulation.
The US complained that the regulation did not allow the registration of non-EC geographical indications unless the geographical indication was from a country that offered geographical indication protection that was equivalent to that of the EC.
Australia argued that the EC regime was inconsistent with existing WTO rules prohibiting discriminatory treatment, did not give due protection to trademarks, and was overly complex and prescriptive.
The EC said that its regulation was fully compatible with WTO rules.
The DSB established a single panel and the following countries requested to be third parties: Australia, United States, Mexico, New Zealand, Guatemala, India, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and Colombia.
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DS287: Australia — Quarantine regime for imports
Requesting a panel for the first time, the EC mentioned that this dispute was a long-standing one. The EC stated that as a result of the Australian legislation, a number of agricultural products from EC Member States had been denied access to the Australian market.
Australia replied that the EC challenge was not about commercial
considerations since, for a number of products referred to in the request,
Australia had no record of EC Members States having previously expressed
any interest in exporting to Australia. Australia added that its approach
to quarantine matters, while being conservative, was entirely WTO
Australia blocked the establishment of a panel.
DS269: European Communities — Customs classification of frozen boneless chicken cuts
Brazil said that the reclassification by the EC of the product “frozen boneless chicken cuts” had resulted in tariffs on salted chicken meat in excess of the EC's tariff commitments.
The EC argued that Brazil had misunderstood or misinterpreted the EC legislation and that the EC legislation had simply ensured a uniform classification of the specific products imported under the EC Common Customs Tariffs.
The EC blocked Brazil's first request for a panel.
DS295: Mexico — Definitive anti-dumping measures on beef and rice
The United States said that they had several concerns about Mexico's anti-dumping measures on beef and rice: for example, the manner in which Mexico conducted its dumping and injury analysis, and the date it relied on in making its determinations.
Mexico said that it had showed the legality of its measure during the consultations with the US. Mexico complained that the US panel request contained reference to measures that were not addressed during the consultations.
Mexico blocked the US's first panel request.
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Selection process for the Appellate Body
The Chairman of the DSB announced that two candidates had been nominated by the United States to replace Mr. James Bacchus: Professor Merit E. Janow and Mr. Robert Lighthizer. The DSB will take a decision on this appointment at its meeting on 7 November 2003.
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The DSB will next meet on 7 November 2003.
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