WTO: 2016 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

DS493: Ukraine — Anti-Dumping Measures on Ammonium Nitrate

Russia recalled that at the 22 March 2016 DSB meeting, it had made its first request for a panel to examine this dispute given that consultations with Ukraine had not resolved the matter and the situation had not changed. Russia believed that the measures imposed were in violation of numerous provisions of the WTO agreements. Russia, once again, requested the establishment of a panel in this dispute.

Ukraine said that the measures were introduced as a result of a thorough and objective investigation and were applied in accordance with the WTO agreements, in particular the Anti-Dumping Agreement. Ukraine expressed concern that some of the legal issues in Russia’s request for panel establishment were not discussed during the course of consultations. Ukraine, however, stood ready to engage in the panel proceedings and to explain that Russia had no legal basis for its claims.

The DSB established a panel. Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, the European Union, Japan, Kazakhstan, Norway and the United States reserved their third-party rights to participate in the panel’s proceedings.

 

Establishment of panel rejected

DS381: US — Measures Concerning the Importation, Marketing and Sale of Tuna and Tuna Products — recourse to Article 21.5  of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (compliance panel) by the United States

The United States recalled that the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had issued a new rule modifying the dolphin safe labelling measure at issue in this dispute. The new rule directly addressed the DSB’s findings and brought the US into compliance with its WTO obligations. The US had discussed the recent rule with Mexico who had indicated that it was not prepared to refer the matter of compliance back to a compliance panel. Mexico had insisted that the arbitration on the amount of suspension of concessions move forward immediately. The US was of the view that Mexico appeared to be seeking to avoid the fact that the US had now changed its measure to come into compliance and instead proceed as though the measure at issue was unchanged. The US requested the DSB to establish a compliance panel to confirm that it had brought its measure into compliance with the DSB’s recommendations and rulings.

Mexico expressed concern that the US actions undermined the dispute settlement system and affected its automatic nature. Mexico noted that the US did not request formal consultations with Mexico as required by the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). Furthermore, in Mexico’s view, the US actions were inconsistent with the parties’ sequencing agreement (WT/DS381/19). The sequencing agreement between the US and Mexico did not provide for a second compliance panel proceedings but did provide for Mexico’s request for authorisation to suspend concessions. Mexico believed it was entitled to continue the proceedings and that there was no legal basis to stop that process. Mexico noted that, with respect to the new US rule, Mexico retained its right to request its own compliance panel.  But Mexico could not agree to the establishment of a panel on compliance as requested by the US, until the procedural steps had been met.

Further to Mexico’s objection, the DSB deferred the establishment of a panel.

 

Status reports

Six status reports were presented. Statements on implementation were made regarding four other matters.

 

Other business

Under “other business”, the Chairman, Ambassador Xavier Carim, of South Africa, made a statement regarding the 2016 selection process for the appointment of a new Appellate Body (AB) member and the process for the possible reappointment of one AB member.

Mr Carim recalled that on 7 and 8 April 2016, the Selection Committee had interviewed the seven candidates proposed for the vacant position in the AB. On 20 April, the Selection Committee had started its consultations with interested delegations who had expressed their wish to provide views on the candidates. He encouraged delegations to indicate their positive preferences on the candidates during the consultations or in their written comments. Following the consultations, the Selection Committee would make a recommendation by no later than 12 May so that the DSB could consider it at its 23 May 2016 meeting.

Regarding the possible reappointment of Mr Chang for a second four-year term beginning 1 June 2016, the Chairman informed delegations that he would host a meeting with Mr Chang and invited interested delegations to contact him or the Secretariat by 28 April and to indicate topics that they wished to raise. The informal meeting will be held on 10 May at 3pm and would be open to ambassadors plus one. The meeting would follow ground rules established for the 2015 reappointment process which were reflected in the previous Chairman’s report to the DSB meeting of 25 November 2015 (WT/DSB/M/370). The Chairman intended to place the issue of reappointment on the agenda of the 23 May DSB meeting.

Also under “other business” and in keeping with the Director-General’s undertaking at the October 2015 DSB meeting to provide more information to members, the Chairman provided information on the Appellate Body’s workload, on the number of disputes in the panel queue and at the panel composition stage, and on the ability of the Secretariat to meet expected demand over the coming period.  

 

Next meeting

The next regular DSB meeting is scheduled for 23 May 2016.

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