WTO: 2008 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.

Prior to the adoption of the agenda, Ecuador requested that item 3, relating to the Banana case between the EC and Ecuador (WT/DS27), be removed from the agenda with the objective of continuing negotiations with the EC and finding a satisfactory solution.

DS344: United States — Final anti-dumping measures on stainless steel from Mexico

The DSB adopted the Panel and the Appellate Body (AB) reports in this case (WT/DS344/R and WT/DS344/AB/R).

Mexico welcomed the adoption of the reports especially since the AB report had upheld Mexico's arguments and reversed several conclusions of the Panel. Mexico appreciated that the AB reiterated the incompatibility of the zeroing method with the WTO rules. Mexico said that the proceedings could have been avoided but the United States had refused to fully implement prior recommendations from the DSB on the inconsistency of zeroing with the WTO anti-dumping rules. Mexico hoped that the United States would fully comply with the DSB recommendations and bring its measures into conformity with the Anti-Dumping Agreement.

The United States welcomed the adoption of the Panel report that was reversed by the AB report because the Panel departed from earlier AB rulings on zeroing. The United States raised two systemic concerns about the use of zeroing in assessment reviews and about the obligation of panels to follow prior AB rulings.

According to the United States, the Anti-Dumping Agreement allowed the use of zeroing in assessment reviews and the AB could not create new obligations that imposed such a ban. On the obligation by panels to follow previous AB rulings, the United States declared that panels were not required to follow previous AB decisions but could take them into account if relevant to the case.

Australia, Chile, Colombia, India, Hong Kong-China, Norway, Thailand, the EC and Japan welcomed the confirmation from the Appellate Body that zeroing was inconsistent with the Anti-Dumping Agreement. They called on the United States to stop using zeroing and to comply promptly with the AB ruling.

India said that zeroing was a major negotiating issue in the current Doha Round and added that there should be an express provision in the Anti-Dumping Agreement that prohibits zeroing in any form.

There was a debate among members on whether or not panels were obliged to follow AB decisions.

Some members argued that prior AB rulings constituted a clear line of jurisprudence that should be used by panels if relevant to the case examined.

Some others argued that there was no provision in the Dispute Settlement Understanding that requires panels to follow prior AB or other panel findings. The panel or AB decisions are binding only to the parties involved in a dispute.

  

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