WTO: 2014 NEWS ITEMS

DISPUTE SETTLEMENT


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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.

The meeting began with a statement by Director-General Roberto Azevêdo regarding the current situation in the dispute settlement system, the challenges faced, what is being done to overcome the challenges and what more could be done.

Nineteen delegations intervened. They welcomed the DG’s statement and were appreciative that the concerns were being taken seriously. Members underscored the importance of the dispute settlement system and stressed that delays were contrary to the specific features and objectives of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) — namely the prompt resolution of disputes, predictability and consistency of decisions. Thus, there was an urgent need to address the current situation, and the responsibility rested on both the WTO members and the Secretariat.

 

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Appointment of an Appellate Body member

Further to the Selection Committee’s recommendation of 10 September 2014, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) agreed to appoint Mr Shree Baboo Chekitan Servansing as a member of the Appellate Body for a four-year term starting on 1 October 2014. Further information about the appointment is available here.

Delegations welcomed the completion of the selection process and congratulated Mr Servansing on his appointment. A number of delegations emphasised the importance of appointing Appellate Body members based purely on their expertise and merit and of ensuring that the selection process is not politically influenced. They also highlighted the need for full transparency in the process. Saudi Arabia expressed a number of concerns and said that it was disappointed with the conduct of the selection process. In its view, the selection process was not conducted in the agreed manner. Saudi Arabia and Egypt looked forward to working on reviewing the procedures and guiding principles pertaining to the selection of Appellate Body members. The Chairman noted that the process was not perfect and that there was room for improvement.

 

DS479: Russia — Anti-Dumping Duties on Light Commercial Vehicles from Germany and Italy

Russia rejected the first-time request for the establishment of a panel by the European Union. The EU said that the anti-dumping duties imposed on imports of light commercial vehicles from Germany and Italy were inconsistent with the Anti-dumping Agreement and unjustifiably hampered access to the Russian market. The consultations had not resolved the matter and Russia had not shown any intention to remove the measures. The EU, therefore, requested the DSB to establish a panel to examine this dispute. Russia regretted the EU’s request for a panel. In its view, the matter may require further clarification and could be resolved through consultations. Russia was therefore not in a position to agree to the establishment of a panel.

 

DS438, DS444, DS445: Argentina — Measures Affecting the Importation of Goods

Following Argentina’s decision to appeal the panel reports pertaining to these disputes, the item concerning the adoption of the panel reports was removed from the DSB’s agenda

                                     

DS431,DS432, DS433: China — Measures Related to the Exportation of Rare Earths, Tungsten and Molybdenum

China said that it intended to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in a manner that respected its WTO obligations. China added that it would need a reasonable period of time to implement and was already discussing the matter with the European Union, Japan and the United States. The EU, US and Japan urged China to promptly comply with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings. They expressed their readiness to continue the discussion with China on the reasonable period of time.

 

DS371: Thailand — Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines

The Philippines said that it continued to have concerns about Thailand’s compliance with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute. The Philippines noted that with respect to the recent political developments in Thailand, it had already given Thailand additional time to address and resolve the outstanding issues with regard to implementation. The Philippines reserved its rights under the DSU, including the option of reverting to dispute settlement. Thailand said that, as it had stated in previous DSB meetings, it had taken all action necessary to implement the DSB’s recommendations and rulings. Thailand did not see the need to provide status reports pertaining to this dispute.

 

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Status reports

The United States and the European Union submitted status reports on their implementation of the recommendations and rulings of the DSB in various disputes.

 

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Next meeting 

The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled for 20 October 2014.

 

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