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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.
DS401: European Communities — Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products
The DSB established a panel to examine the EU-wide import ban on seal products, following Norway's second time request (WT/DS401/5).
The DSB also agreed that the same panel would examine Norway’s and Canada’s complaint (WT/DS400/4) for which a panel was established on 25 March 2011 (see).
Norway said it was of the firm view that the EU seal regime was inconsistent with WTO rules.
The EU believed that the WTO was not an appropriate forum to discuss Norway’s concerns and added that the seal regulation fell within the scope of the European Economic Area agreement. The EU said that Norway provided no meaningful explanation regarding why the EU’s measures were inconsistent with WTO rules. The EU said it was strongly convinced of the strength of its case and stood ready to defend its measures.
Canada said it had long made efforts to ensure that the seal hunt was humane, well managed and sustainable and hoped that the dispute would cast meaningful light on a measure it considered being unjust and unnecessary.
Namibia stated that the exploitation of seals along its coast dated back to the 17th century. Namibia said that there were 25 colonies of seals along its coast and that their harvest was done according to the Marine Resources Act of 2000 and in the presence of a fishery inspector. Namibia noted that the seal industry was very important in terms of employment and GDP contribution to its economy.
Iceland said that this dispute was not just about seal products but was also related to the sustainable utilization of all living marine resources and the right to market the products coming from such legitimate practices. Iceland added that there were no justifiable grounds for the EU’s ban.
Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Iceland, China, Canada, Argentina, Ecuador, Namibia and the US reserved their third-party rights.
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DS382: United States —Anti-Dumping Administrative Reviews and Other Measures related to Imports of certain Orange Juice from Brazil
The Panel report (WT/DS382/R) related to this dispute was circulated on 25 March 2011. Under Article 16.4 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), the 60-day period within which the DSB is obliged to adopt a panel report that is not appealed, would have expired on 25 May 2011.
Taking into account the workload of the Appellate Body, Brazil and the US jointly requested (WT/DS382/7) that the DSB adopt a draft decision to extend the 60-day time period to 17 June 2011.
Following this joint request, the DSB agreed that it shall, no later than 17 June 2011, adopt the Panel report, unless the DSB decides by consensus not to do so or the US or Brazil notifies the DSB of its decision to appeal.
Australia said that to ensure fairness and predictability in the appellate process, all members should be accorded the same procedural treatment, including in the scheduling of the appellate proceedings.
Japan commented that this sort of arrangement should not become a norm and must remain an exception. Japan added that the dispute settlement system would be better served if members would have confidence in its fairness and equity.
Canada supported the cooperative approach taken by members to assist the Appellate Body and noted that members would be more likely to continue such cooperation if all members and all cases were treated equitably.
DS363: China — Measures affecting trade rights and distribution services for certain publications and audiovisual entertainment products
China reported on progress made to implement the DSB ruling (WT/DS363/17/add.3) and said so far it had completed amendments to most measures at issue. China hoped that this would fully demonstrate its sincerity to implement the rulings.
The US remained concerned by China’s lack of progress in bringing its measures into compliance with the DSB recommendations.
Both China and the US announced that they have entered into a sequencing agreement (WT/DS363/18) which would govern procedural aspects of any eventual request for a compliance process (article 21.5 of the DSU) and for retaliation (Article 22.6 of the DSU).
DS379: United States — Definitive anti-dumping and countervailing duties on certain products from China
On 25 March 2011, the DSB adopted the Panel and Appellate Body (WT/DS379/R and WT/DS379/AB/R) reports which examined anti-dumping and countervailing duties imposed by the US on Chinese products. According to Article 21.3 of the DSU, the US shall inform the DSB, within 30 days after the date of adoption of the panel and Appellate Body reports, of its intentions to implement the rulings.
The US announced its intention to implement the DSB ruling and requested a reasonable period of time (RPT) to do so.
China said it was ready to open discussion with the US on the RPT at the earliest convenience of both parties.
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The DSB chair, Ambassador Johansen (Norway), announced that the first term of two Appellate Body members, Ms Jennifer Hillman and Ms Lilia Bautista will expire on 10 December 2011. Under article 17.2 of the DSU, Appellate Body members are appointed by the DSB for a 4 year term, renewable once.
The DSB chair said that Ms Bautista will not seek reappointment for a second term and that Ms Hillman is not requesting the DSB to consider her for reappointment. Therefore, the DSB would be required to take certain action with respect to these appellate body positions.
The DSB chair announced that this issue will be on the agenda of the next meeting (24 May 2011).
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The next meeting of the DSB will be held on 24 May 2011.
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