WTO: 2005 NEWS ITEMS
Dispute Settlement Body 20 April 2005
WTO dispute body adopts rulings on EC protection of geographical indications and on US gambling measures
The Dispute Settlement Body on 20 April 2005 adopted the panel report on the European Communities' protection of trademarks and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs. It also adopted the Appellate Body and panel reports on the United States' measures affecting the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services. At the same meeting, the United States informed the DSB of its intentions regarding implementation in the subsidies on upland cotton case.
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.
Adoption of reports
When a panel report comes out, it is either adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body or appealed by one or more parties to the dispute. When the Appellate Body report comes out, it is automatically adopted by the DSB — unless there is consensus to reject it — and becomes binding.
Adoption of panel report
The US said that the panel report provided useful guidance with respect to geographical indications. The US commented, inter alia, on the discriminatory nature of the EC geographical indications (GI) regulation, on the necessity for the EC to provide foreign companies with direct access to its GI registry, and also on the relationship between GIs and trademarks.
Australia welcomed the adoption of the report. Australia commented on the discrepancy between the EC's ambitious agenda on GIs in the Doha negotiations and its problems with its own domestic GI regime.
The EC was disappointed that the panel failed to acknowledge how EC regulation allowed foreign and European GIs to register on the same conditions. The EC, however, was very pleased that the panel found the key aspects of the EC regime on GIs to be compatible with WTO rules.
Canada was pleased that the panel corroborated Canada's claim that the EC
regulation violated the principle of national treatment.
India noted the panel's finding that national treatment obligations cannot be conditioned on reciprocity.
The DSB adopted the panel report.
Adoption of Appellate Body and panel reports
DS285: United States — Measures affecting the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services
Antigua and Barbuda said that it had some concerns with some of the Appellate Body's statements and decisions but that it was generally satisfied. It added that it looked forward to the US' implementation and that it would monitor it closely.
The US said that it was pleased that the Appellate Body reversed or modified key findings of the panel, which it called “flawed”. The US then commented on several aspects of the Appellate Body report, including the issue of whether or not the US had made a commitment on gambling and betting services.
The EC welcomed the Appellate Body report and noted that the ruling
confirmed a number of legal arguments presented by the EC.
Japan welcomed the Appellate Body's approach in finding that the US had indeed made a commitment in respect of gambling and betting services.
The DSB adopted the Appellate Body report and the panel report as modified by the Appellate Body report.
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After a ruling has been adopted, the DSB keeps under surveillance the implementation of the ruling until the issue is resolved.
Within 30 days after the date of adoption, the Member concerned must inform the DSB of its intentions in respect of implementation of the ruling.
Six months after the implementation time period has been fixed, the Member must start presenting at each DSB a status report of its implementation — until full implementation.
DS267: US — Subsidies on upland cotton
The US said that it intended to implement and had begun to evaluate options for doing so. The US said that it would need a reasonable period of time.
Brazil complained that the US' statement was not detailed enough. Brazil said that the US Administration should be able to give a more elaborate description of its work so far, especially given the fact that expedited timeframes applied to implementation of DSB rulings under the Subsidies Agreement. Brazil recalled that the panel had made recommendations concerning the implementation period of time in this dispute.
The EC argued that, since the ruling identified violations under both the Subsidies and the Agriculture Agreement, the US was entitled a reasonable period of time in order to come into conformity with the Agriculture Agreement.
The US and Brazil agreed to discuss the implementation period.
Implementation status reports
In its status report, the US reminded the DSB that on 3 March 2005 legislation that would repeal the Byrd Amendment was introduced in the US House of Representatives.
The EC announced that on 31 March 2005 the European Commission had adopted a proposal to impose as from 1 May 2005 a 15% additional import duty on certain US products. The EC added that this proposal had been transmitted to the Council of the European Union for discussion and adoption. The EC recalled that more than US$ 1 billion had already been collected on imported products and redistributed to the competing US products and that US$ 1.6 billion could be distributed in October 2005. The EC said that new distribution of collected duties under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 was not acceptable.
Similarly, Canada said that on 31 March 2005 it had announced that it was proceeding with imposing retaliatory measures against the US.
Japan said that it was observing carefully how the US Congress was proceeding with the consideration of the repealing bill. Japan added that if the current situation prevailed, it intended to take appropriate actions to address such situation.
DS246: European Communities — Conditions for the granting of tariff preferences to developing countries
The EC announced that on 20 October 2004, the European Commission had proposed to the Council of the European Union a new General System of Preferences (GSP) regulation, which would, inter alia, repeal the “Drug Arrangements”. The EC explained that this proposal was currently under discussion within the Council. The EC said that it was confident that it would fully respect the implementation deadline of 1 July 2005.
India noted the EC's announcement.
Other implementation cases
There are no new developments to report since the last DSB meeting on the following items:
DS176: US — Section 211 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998
DS184: US — Anti-dumping measures on certain hot-rolled steel products from Japan
DS160: United States — Section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act.
DS204: Mexico — Measures affecting telecommunications services.
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The next regular DSB meeting will be on 19 May 2005.
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