WTO: 2015 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.

DS489: China — Measures Related to Demonstration Bases and Common Service Platforms Programmes

The United States was concerned that China appeared to be providing export subsidies through a programme establishing the Foreign Trade Transformation and Upgrading Demonstration Bases and the Common Service Platforms. China identified enterprises based on, among other things, export performance and provides export-contingent subsidies to these enterprises in the Demonstration Bases through free or discounted services or through grants. The US noted that the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM) Agreement prohibits subsidies contingent upon export performance. Given that the consultations with China did not resolve the dispute, the US requested the DSB to establish a panel immediately, in accordance with Article 4.4 of the SCM Agreement, to examine its complaint.

China expressed its disappointment with the US decision to request the establishment of a panel in this dispute. It was surprised that the US had chosen to file a request for panel establishment just seven days after the consultations. China noted that finding a mutually agreed solution was the preferred approach to dispute settlement, in particular at a time when the system was resource-constrained. China stood ready to safeguard its rights under the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU).

The European Union said it had an interest in this dispute which raised important systemic issues. The EU shared the concerns expressed by the US.

The DSB established a panel and Australia, Brazil, Canada, the EU, India, Japan, Korea and Russia reserved their third-party rights to participate in the panel's proceedings.

DS477 and DS478: Indonesia — Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Products

New Zealand said that this dispute concerned prohibitions and restrictions imposed on the importing of horticultural products, animals and animal products into Indonesia, including through Indonesia's trade-restrictive non-automatic import licensing regime, and measures which accorded less favourable treatment to imported products than to "like" products of national origin. New Zealand was of the view that these measures were inconsistent with key WTO obligations. Consultations held had not resolved the matter and, in that regard, New Zealand requested the establishment of a panel. Furthermore, given that the US was also requesting the establishment of a panel to examine the same matter, New Zealand requested that the DSB should establish a single panel to examine both complaints.

The US noted that Indonesia used its import licensing measures to prohibit or restrict the importation of horticultural products, animals and animal products. The US recalled that the WTO Agreement generally obligated members not to impose restrictions on the importation of goods from other members. The US was therefore concerned that Indonesia's measures were inconsistent with its WTO obligations. Efforts to resolve the dispute had failed and, in that regard, the US requested the DSB to establish a panel to examine this matter. Furthermore, the US also requested that a single panel be established to examine the US and New Zealand complaints.

Indonesia regretted the requests for the establishment of a panel and believed that its policies were consistent with WTO rules. Indonesia also believed that consultations should be given a chance to seek possible solutions. In that regard, Indonesia was not in a position to agree to the establishment of a panel. The DSB, therefore, deferred the establishment of a panel.

DS429: US — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Shrimp from Viet Nam

The DSB adopted the Appellate Body report and the panel report, as upheld by the Appellate Body report.

 

Panellists

The DSB approved additional names as proposed by Cuba for inclusion on the Indicative List of Governmental and Non-Governmental Panellists.

 

Other business

Under "Other business", the Chairman made a statement on possible reappointments of two Appellate Body members. He noted that the first four-year terms of office of Ujal Bhatia and Thomas Graham would expire on 10 December 2015 and that both were eligible for reappointment to a second and final term of office. It was his understanding that both were interested and willing to serve a second four-year term. In that regard, he would consult informally with WTO members on these matters and invite any delegation with views on this matter to contact him directly. He would report back to delegations on the results of his consultations as appropriate.

 

Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled for 20 May 2015.

 

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