WTO: 2007 NEWS ITEMS

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NOTE:
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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Panel established 

DS366: Colombia — Indicative prices and restrictions on ports of entry

At the second time request of Panama (WT/DS366/6), a panel was established to review Colombia's restrictive measures imposed on Panama's imports.

Panama stated it experienced serious difficulties in accessing Colombia's market which caused a negative impact on its exports. Panama said it was trying to resolve this issue for the last 2 years through consultation. Panama declared that Colombia unilaterally ignored the mutually agreed solution which was found during this consultation and reintroduced measures restricting Panama's access to Colombia's market. Panama hoped that this request would address this situation once and for all.

Colombia regretted Panama's decision to request a panel to resolve this dispute. Colombia said it explained the scope of its measures and the compatibility with WTO rules during the consultation process. Colombia said it was at the disposal of Panama to continue discussions. Colombia added it was ready to demonstrate the legality of its measures.

The countries that reserved their third party rights are Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, the EC, India, the US, and Chinese Taipei.

  

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Panel request

DS363: China — Measures affecting trading rights and distribution services for certain publications and audiovisual entertainment products

The US requested a panel for the first time against China (WT/DS363/5) to review Chinese measures affecting market access and distribution services for goods such as movies, DVDs, videos, publications, books, etc. China did not agree to the panel which was consequently not established.


The US said that bilateral discussions held in June and July helped clarify some provisions but did not resolve the issue. The US also linked these measures to the protection of intellectual property rights saying that China's barrier to market access are keeping legitimate products away from Chinese consumers which benefited copyright pirates.

China regretted that the US requested a panel. China said it was fulfilling its WTO commitments, on intellectual property, sincerely and faithfully. China stated it imported 20 films annually, half a million publications and countless audiovisual products thus providing a good access into its market to WTO members. China added it was willing to resolve this dispute through consultations. China said it did not agree to the establishment of the panel.

  

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Panel reports adopted
  

DS334: Turkey — Measures affecting the importation of rice

The DSB adopted the panel report (WT/DS334/R).

The US stated it was satisfied with the Panel's conclusions saying that Turkey acted inconsistently with its WTO obligations. The US qualified the Panel's analysis as sound and hoped Turkey would promptly bring its measures into compliance.

However, the US made a comment on 2 systemic issues. The US said the Panel did not make any recommendation to Turkey on how to bring its measures into conformity with WTO rules. According to the US, the Panel was required to make this recommendation by the DSU (art. 19.1). Moreover, the US declared it was troubled by the Panel's new additions into the final report which were not contained in the interim report. The US said this was inconsistent with the procedure (art. 15 of DSU) as it did not allow the parties to review these changes before the final report was issued.

Turkey said it was disappointed with the Panel's findings and did not share the Panel's conclusions. Turkey stated it was currently exploring what steps might be needed to comply with the Panel's conclusions and would come back on this issue at the DSB 's next meeting. Turkey welcomed the Panel's decision not to make any recommendations on how to bring its measures into conformity with WTO rules.

Canada agreed with the US that the Panel should refrain from including changes in the final report that did not appear in the interim report. Canada added that parties should be given the opportunity to make comments on all drafts.

Australia stated it was looking forward to Turkey's implementation measures as it has an interest in accessing Turkey's rice market.


DS312: Korea — Antidumping duties on imports of certain paper from Indonesia

The DSB adopted the compliance panel report (WT/DS312/RW).

Indonesia said it was satisfied with the Panel which concluded Korea did not comply with the DSB ruling in this dispute. Indonesia said the antidumping measure remained inconsistent with WTO rules and Korea failed to respect the procedural rights of the Indonesian company during the antidumping investigation. Indonesia said it was up to Korea to bring itself into conformity with its WTO obligations. Indonesia expected Korea to immediately withdraw the antidumping measure. Indonesia said Korea's inconsistent measure was in place for almost 4 years and added it would request the right to retaliate if Korea continued to enforce it.

Korea said it was puzzled by the Panel's conclusions. Korea recognized the Panel's good faith in addressing the issues raised by this dispute but failed to understand why the Panel did not consider some of Korea's arguments. Korea added it was ready to provide additional explanations as required by the Panel and would discuss with Indonesia on the schedule to implement the Panels' recommendations.

  

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Selection process of Appellate Body members

The DSB chair announced that the Selection Committee (Director General, Chairpersons of the General Council, of the Goods, Services and TRIPS Councils and the DSB) interviewed the 9 candidates, met with 40 delegations and received written comments from 5 more.

The Selection Committee will communicate its recommendations to the members by 8 November 2007. The DSB's final decision will be taken on 19 November 2007.

  

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Next meeting 

The next meetings of the DSB will take place on 19 November 2007.

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