WTO: 2017 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.

DS461: Colombia — Measures Relating to the Importation of Textiles, Apparel and Footwear: recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU by Colombia

Colombia reiterated its position that it had brought itself into compliance with the DSB's recommendations and rulings in DS461 within the reasonable period of time, which expired on 22 January. Panama, which initiated the DS461 proceedings, had requested authorization to suspend concessions against Colombia without requesting the establishment of a panel under Article 21.5 of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU). Colombia had thus found it necessary to have recourse to Article 21.5 of the DSU. Panama had objected to Colombia's request for the establishment of an Article 21.5 compliance panel on the grounds that Colombia had failed to hold consultations with Panama under Article 21.5. Colombia reiterated its position that the DSU did not require parties to hold consultations prior to requesting the establishment of a compliance panel under Article 21.5. Colombia therefore requested the establishment of an Article 21.5 compliance panel for the second time.

Panama said it had already stated its concerns regarding certain substantive and procedural issues related to Colombia's request for the establishment of a compliance panel.  However, Panama noted that the Article 21.5 compliance panel would be established following Colombia's second request. Panama reserved its rights to raise its substantive and procedural concerns before the Panel.

A number of delegations reiterated their systemic concerns regarding the issue.  Some disagreement was expressed as to whether the holding of consultations was a prerequisite to having recourse to an Article 21.5 compliance panel. Several members supported the practice of entering into “sequencing” agreements as a pragmatic solution to the issue.

The DSB agreed to refer to the original panel the matter raised by Colombia.  Australia, China, Ecuador, the European Union, Guatemala, Honduras, India, the Russian Federation, Chinese Taipei and the United States reserved their third party rights to participate in the panel proceedings.

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