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.

Panel established

DS511: China — Domestic Support for Agricultural Producers

For the second time, the United States requested the establishment of a panel to examine China’s domestic support to agricultural producers. The United States told the DSB it was concerned that China’s market price support for wheat, rice and corn each exceeds the permissible level of domestic support China agreed to upon accession to the WTO and that it was therefore renewing its request for a panel.

China said it regretted the second US request and said it was disappointed by the United States’ unprecedented action in challenging China’s legitimate and WTO-consistent domestic support for vital food staples. Members had a right under the WTO to provide necessary and essential support to their agricultural producers, China added.

The DSB agreed to establish a panel. Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the European Union, Egypt, El Salvador, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Turkey and Viet Nam reserved third-party rights to participate in the panel’s proceedings.

 

Other panel requests

DS513: Morocco — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Steel from Turkey

Turkey requested a panel to examine Morocco’s decision on 26 September 2014 to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of certain hot-rolled steel from Turkey. Turkey said it was concerned with certain aspects of the investigation carried out by Moroccan authorities, including the duration of the investigation, the arbitrary use of facts available in the dumping calculation, the lack of disclosure in the essential facts letter, the unsubstantiated finding of material retardation, and the trade-restrictive system for import surveillance. Consultations with Morocco in November failed to resolve the dispute, Turkey said, prompting it to request the establishment of the panel.

Morocco said it regretted Turkey’s decision to request the panel and said it considered the anti-dumping duties in question to be in accordance with its domestic laws and with its WTO commitments. Morocco said it objected to the establishment of a panel, saying that it believed a diplomatic solution should be pursued.

The DSB therefore deferred the establishment of a panel.

 

Panel reports adopted

DS482: Canada — Anti-Dumping Measures on Imports of Certain Carbon Steel Welded Pipe from the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu

Canada said it welcomed the panel’s finding regarding Chinese Taipei’s failure to establish that Canada had not undertaken a proper non-attribution analysis. Canada particularly welcomed the panel’s rejection of the argument that the Anti-Dumping Agreement (ADA) required investigating authorities to differentiate the effect of subsidization and the effect of dumping for goods that were subsidized and dumped. Canada said it did regret certain aspects of the panel’s findings, but, in light of the stress on the dispute settlement system, it would not be appealing the panel report.

Chinese Taipei said the panel confirmed the WTO-inconsistency of Canada’s anti-dumping measure. In particular, Chinese Taipei welcomed the findings that Canada had acted inconsistently with Article 5.8 of the ADA by pursuing investigations against exporters whose final dumping margins were found to be de minimis. The panel had also found Canada’s imposition of definitive anti-dumping duties on exporters with a de minimis margin of dumping to be inconsistent with Article 9.2 of the ADA. Canada’s treatment of uncooperative exporters had also been found to be inconsistent with Article 6.8 and Annex II of the ADA.

Chinese Taipei said it stood by the panel’s conclusion that resorting to facts available, and applying anti-dumping duties on imports of new product models or types based on all others, was inconsistent with Article 9.3 and Article 6.8 of the ADA. Chinese Taipei said it was also pleased the panel had found that certain provisions of Canadian legislation, concerning the treatment of exporters with de minimis dumping margins, were “as such” inconsistent with provisions of the ADA, the GATT 1994 and the Marrakesh Agreement. Chinese Taipei urged Canada to withdraw the anti-dumping measures in question, and amend its anti-dumping legislation, to comply in a timely manner.

The DSB adopted the panel report.

 

2017 Appellate Body selection process

The DSB Chair, Ambassador Xavier Carim (South Africa), informed delegations that the second and final four-year terms of Mr Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández and Mr Peter Van den Bossche as Appellate Body members would expire on 30 June 2017 and 11 December 2017 respectively. Accordingly, the DSB would need to decide on the appointment of two new members to replace them.

The Chair outlined two possible approaches. One approach would be for each vacancy to be subject to its own selection process. A second approach would be to conduct one selection process for both positions at the same time, with a view to completing the process by the end of June. In this approach the Selection Committee would make one recommendation as of 1 July 2017 and the other as of 12 December 2017. In the past such an approach consisted of four elements:

(i) to launch one selection process for two vacant positions in the AB;

(ii) to establish a Selection Committee composed of the Director-General and the 2017 Chairpersons of the General Council, the Goods Council, the Services Council, the TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights) Council and the DSB — to be chaired by the DSB Chair;

(iii) to set a deadline for members to submit nominations of candidates; and

(iv) to request the Selection Committee to make a recommendation to the DSB so that the DSB could appoint two new AB members before the expiry of the first four-year term in order to ensure continuity in the work of the AB.

The Chair said he intended to consult with members on these approaches and the elements outlined above. The matter will be taken up at the next DSB meeting on 20 February 2017.

 

Statements on implementation

The European Union, Brazil, Canada and China made statements regarding US implementation of DS217 and DS234, “US — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000”.

The United States made a statement regarding China’s implementation of DS413, “China — Certain Measures Affecting Electronic Payment Services”.

 

Surveillance of implementation

The United States presented its status reports with regard to DS184, “US — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Products from Japan”, and DS160, “US — Section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act”.  The EU presented its status report with regard to DS291, “EC — Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products”.

 

Report on the dispute settlement workload

The Chair provided an update on the Appellate Body’s workload, on the number of disputes in the panel queue and at the panel composition stage, and matters referred to arbitration.

 

Next DSB meeting

The next meeting of the DSB will take place on 20 February 2017.

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