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.

DS464: US — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures on Large Residential Washers from Korea

Korea referred to its statement made at the December 2013 Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting regarding its concerns about the anti-dumping and countervailing measures imposed by the United States on large residential washers from Korea. These measures effectively prevented Korean manufacturers from exporting to the US and were, in Korea’s view, inconsistent with the US obligation under the WTO Agreements. Thus, Korea requested the DSB to establish a panel.  The US said that the measures identified by Korea were fully consistent with its obligations. The DSB established a panel. Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Norway, Thailand and Turkey reserved their third-party rights to participate in the panel’s proceedings.

 

DS381: US — Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products — Recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Mexico

Mexico said that the US modification to its dolphin-safe labelling requirements had not complied with the DSB’s recommendations in this dispute. In that regard, and for the second time, Mexico requested the DSB to establish a panel pursuant to Article 21.5 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). The US said that its final rule published on 9 July 2013 had brought it into full compliance with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings but was prepared to defend the amended dolphin-safe labelling requirements. The DSB established a compliance panel to examine this dispute and agreed to refer to the original panel, if possible, the matter raised by Mexico. Canada, China, the European Union, Guatemala, Japan, Korea, Norway and Thailand reserved their third-party rights to participate in the panel’s proceedings.

 

DS469: EU — Measures on Atlanto-Scandian Herring

Denmark, in respect of the Faroe Islands, said that it was concerned about the coercive economic measures imposed by the European Union against the Faroe Islands, a self-governing territory forming an integral part of Denmark and covered territorially by Danish WTO membership. In its view, the measures are inconsistent with basic provisions of the GATT 1994 and have no justification under WTO law. In that regard, Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands, requested the DSB to establish a panel. The EU said that the measures were imposed after the Faroe Islands decided to leave the common management of the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock which is discussed every year among the five coastal states. The EU was of the view that it was still possible to resolve this matter amicably and was thus not in a position to agree to the establishment of a panel. The EU added that it was convinced that its measures were in conformity with the WTO Agreements. Following the EU’s objection, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel to examine the dispute.

 

DS413: China — Certain Measures Affecting Electronic Payment Services

The United States said that it continued to have serious concerns that China had not implemented the DSB’s recommendations and rulings in this dispute. The US noted that the reasonable period of time to implement had expired more than six months ago. In that regard, the US called on China to promptly meet its obligations and to permit foreign suppliers of electronic payment services to do business on fair and open terms. China said that it has fully complied with the DSB’s recommendations and that actions being sought by the US were beyond China’s compliance obligations.

 

Other business

Under “Other Business”, the European Union made a statement regarding the dispute “US — Measures Affecting the Production and Sale of Clove Cigarettes” (DS406). The EU recalled its statement made at the DSB meeting on 23 August 2013 expressing its view that disagreement on compliance in this dispute between the United States and Indonesia should be decided through recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU before recourse to arbitration subsequent to an Article 22.2 request. Further to that meeting, the EU had filed an application with the arbitrator seeking to ensure that it would have an opportunity to exercise its third-party rights. The arbitrator’s decision, which was confidential, appeared to envisage that no other member apart from the parties was to have any role in or information about the arbitration proceedings. The EU was of the view that this was in breach of its third-party rights as provided for under Article 10 of the DSU.

Mexico, China, Guatemala, Brazil, Canada, Japan and India made statements on the systemic implications of the matter. Indonesia said that nothing in the DSU prevented a member from having direct recourse to Article 22.6 especially in this dispute where the US had not complied. The US said that Rule 25 of the Rules of Procedure was clear and that the EU should have inscribed the matter on the DSB’s agenda ten days in advance. The US recalled that it had received a proposal from Indonesia to enter into a sequencing agreement but Indonesia had subsequently pulled out. However, the US did agree that nothing in the DSU precluded a member from having direct recourse to arbitration. The US did not agree with the notion that once a proceeding is brought under Article22.6, issues of compliance could not be looked at. On this point, the US referred members to the EC-Bananas III Panel Report. China questioned how matters under “Other Business” should be discussed.

 

Appellate Body selection process

Speaking also under “Other Business”, the Chair made a statement regarding the Appellate Body selection process. He recalled his fax of 20 January 2014 proposing that the DSB decide to open the process for further nominations. He had also set out a proposed time-line for receiving nominations and for consultations and deliberations by the Selection Committee that was established on 24 May 2013. He intended to hold a special DSB meeting on 7 February 2014 to consider the matter and would submit formally, and with the required period of notice, a draft decision for consideration at that meeting. He emphasised that this was a continuation of the selection process and that it was not necessary for members to re-nominate the candidates who are and continue to be under consideration.

 

Status reports

The United States, the European Union and Thailand submitted status reports on their implementation of the recommendations and rulings of the DSB.

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