WTO: 2010 NEWS ITEMS

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NOTE:
This summary has been prepared by the WTO Secretariat’s Information and External 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.

DS362: China — Measures affecting the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights

China introduced its latest status report on implementation. It stated that on 26 February 2010 the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress had approved the amendments of the Chinese Copyright Law and that on 17 March 2010 the State Council had adopted the decision to revise the Regulations for Customs Protection of Intellectual Property Rights. Thus, concluded China, it had completed all necessary domestic legislative procedures for implementing the DSB’s rulings. The US recalled that the reasonable period of time for China to comply was 20 March 2010 and the US was not yet in a position to share China’s claim that it had implemented the DSB’s rulings. The US requested China to provide official copies of the amendments to its Copyright Law and Customs regulations or to direct members to the appropriate Chinese government website. The EU took note of China’s changes to its Copyright Law and looked forward to further information regarding the adoption of the legislative proposals on customs measures.

DS291, DS292, DS293: European Communities — Measures affecting the approval and marketing of biotech products

In introducing its latest status report on implementation, the EU announced that it had reached a mutually agreed solution with Argentina. The EU added that its regulatory procedures on biotech products continued to work as foreseen in the legislation and that on 2 March 2010, five authorizations were issued, bringing the number of GMOs authorised since the date of establishment of the panel to twenty-nine. Argentina noted that the mutually agreed solution did not prejudge the implementation of the DSB’s recommendations but opened up positive channels for dialogue. The US reiterated its concerns with delays in the operation of the EU approval system for biotech products as well as the maintenance and continued adoption by EU member states of bans on some of the biotech products that had been approved at the EU level. The US took note of the mutually agreed solution between the EU and Argentina and highlighted that the dispute brought by the US differed from that brought by Argentina.

DS383: United States — Anti-dumping measures on polyethylene retail carrier bags from Thailand

At its last meeting on 18 February 2010 the DSB had adopted the panel report in this dispute. According to Article 21.3 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, the member concerned has to inform the DSB, within 30 days of adoption, of its intentions concerning implementation. At today’s meeting, therefore, the US announced that it intended to implement and that it would need a reasonable period of time to do so. The US also drew attention to the procedural agreement between the US and Thailand (WT/DS383/4) in which the two parties had agreed that the period for implementation would be six months from the date of adoption. Thailand confirmed the six-month period as agreed in the bilateral procedural agreement.

 European Communities — Export subsidies on sugar

This item was on the agenda at the request of Australia, Brazil and Thailand. In a joint statement delivered by Australia, the three members recalled their concerns about the recent EU decision to export out of quota sugar in excess of its annual scheduled quantity commitment. They recalled that at the previous DSB meeting on 18 February 2010, as well as at the Committee on Agriculture on 10 March 2010, the EU had offered to provide the necessary technical information underpinning its decision but had yet to provide such information. Australia, Brazil and Thailand thus urged the EU to provide the information. The EU reiterated that its decision to export an additional 0.5 million tonnes of sugar was a temporary measure that fully respected its international obligations as the quantities on sale were not subsidised. The EU expressed its readiness to continue a dialogue regarding the background underpinning its temporary decision.

  

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Other business 

Under “Other business”, the Chairman made a statement regarding the amendments proposed by the Appellate Body to the Working Procedures for Appellate Review. He recalled that his predecessor had reported on this matter at both the January and February meetings of the DSB and that he had indicated the need to allow appropriate time for reflection and informal consultations before placing the item on the DSB’s agenda. Given the need for more informal consultations, the Chairman proposed to convene an informal DSB meeting in the second half of April 2010. Subsequent to the informal meeting, he would request the Secretariat to place the item on the agenda for the DSB meeting scheduled to be held on 18 May 2010 so that members could provide their views formally. He added that members were also free to submit their comments in writing and that written comments be submitted by 18 May 2010.

  

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Next meeting 

The next meeting of the DSB is scheduled to take place on 20 April 2010.

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