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.

Panel established

DS496: Indonesia — Safeguard on Certain Iron or Steel Products

Viet Nam recalled that it had made its first request for the establishment of a panel at the previous DSB meeting. Viet Nam continued to have concerns about Indonesia’s imposition of a safeguard measure on imports of certain flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel which, in its view, was inconsistent with the relevant provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards. Efforts to resolve the matter had failed and hence Viet Nam’s second request for the establishment of a panel. Viet Nam also requested that this matter be examined by the same panel that would examine Chinese Taipei’s complaint regarding the same measure (DS490).

Indonesia expressed its disappointment that, after consultations held to clarify the consistency of the safeguard measure, Viet Nam still requested the establishment of a panel. Chinese Taipei supported Viet Nam’s request for a single panel to examine both DS490 and DS496.

 

Panel request rejected

DS484: Indonesia — Measures Concerning the Importation of Chicken Meat and Chicken Products

Brazil said that it was concerned about Indonesia’s general prohibition on the importation of chicken meat and chicken products. In Brazil’s view, the general import prohibition was inconsistent with various provisions of the GATT 1994, the Agreement on Agriculture, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Agreement, the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and the Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures. Given that the consultations held in December 2014 did not resolve the dispute, Brazil requested the DSB to establish a panel to examine its complaint. Indonesia was of the view that its responses had fully addressed Brazil’s concerns and that the establishment of a panel was premature. Indonesia was therefore not in a position to agree to panel establishment. The DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.

 

Reports adopted

DS454: China — Measures Imposing Anti-Dumping Duties on High-Performance Stainless Steel Seamless Tubes (“HP-SSST”) from Japan

DS460: China — Measures Imposing Anti-Dumping Duties on High-Performance Stainless Steel Seamless Tubes (“HP-SSST”) from the European Union

Japan welcomed the findings and rulings by the Appellate Body (AB) and those of the panel, as modified by the AB, that China’s anti-dumping measure at issue was in clear breach of its WTO obligations. In Japan’s view, China’s anti-dumping measure was flawed at its fundamental level and therefore not tenable. Japan urged China to remove the anti-dumping measure in line with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings. The EU welcomed the findings of the panel and the AB that China’s anti-dumping measure was inconsistent with the Andi-Dumping Agreement and the GATT 1994. The EU expected China to repeal the measure promptly.

 

Implementation

Seven status reports were presented, and statements were made regarding four implementation matters.

 

Delays in the dispute settlement process: Statement by the Director-General

The Director-General addressed the DSB on the challenges facing the WTO dispute settlement system and what the Secretariat was doing to address them. He noted that despite some progress made in the past year, challenges remained. Since his previous address to the DSB in September 2014, he had continued to reallocate existing resources to the legal divisions while observing the zero nominal growth principle and the caps on personnel expenditure and headcount. His full speech is available here.

 

Other business

DS447: US — Measures Affecting the Importation of Animals, Meat and Other Animal Products from Argentina

Argentina made a statement concerning this dispute. It expressed concern that there had been no progress regarding pending issues necessary to gain access to the US market. Argentina was also concerned about two draft bills before the US Congress and similar measures with a view to impeding access of Argentinian meat. In this regard, Argentina would continue to monitor the situation.

The United States expressed concern about the lack of advance notice that this matter would be raised under “Other Business”. As the US had mentioned at the August 2015 DSB meeting, following a science-based review, the US now permits the import of Argentinian beef under conditions that meet the high US level of protection. The measures raised by Argentina were proposals only and thus had no effect on the administrative action taken by the USDA. The US was of the view that it had addressed the matters raised in this dispute. The EU urged members to give prior notice on items they intended to raise under “Other Business”.

 

Appellate Body members

The Chairman made a statement regarding the issue of the possible reappointment of two Appellate Body members. He reported that, in light of his consultations, he intended to convene a very informal meeting with the two Appellate Body members. He invited any interested delegation wishing to participate in that meeting to contact him directly or through the Secretariat. The issue of reappointments will be on the agenda of the 25 November 2015 DSB meeting for a decision.

 

Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the DSB is scheduled for 25 November 2015.

 

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