DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

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.

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DS529: Australia — Anti-Dumping Measures on A4 Copy Paper

Indonesia said a number of important issues related to the conduct of anti-dumping proceedings was raised in the DS529 dispute, including the determination of “normal value” (i.e. the domestic market price) for the product under investigation and the calculation of certain costs of production, with the panel finding in Indonesia's favour on these points. Indonesia thanked Australia for its spirit of cooperation in agreeing not to appeal the panel ruling.

Australia said that while it was disappointed with the outcome, it intended to work closely with Indonesia in order to ensure prompt implementation of the findings. It said the dispute addressed important systemic issues not previously considered, notably with respect to the interpretation of “particular market situation” under Article 2.2 of the Anti-Dumping Agreement, where it welcomed the panel's findings on this issue.

Russia said it had numerous concerns with the panel ruling which it said undermined the security and predictability of the multilateral trading system. Among other complaints, Russia criticized the panel's interpretation of the term “particular market situation”, which it said would allow investigators to find dumping where no dumping exists. Thailand thanked the panel for its clear and well-written report and said it would follow this matter closely.

The DSB then adopted the panel report.

DS234: United States — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000

The European Union reiterated its request that the United States cease transferring anti-dumping and countervailing duties to the US domestic industry, arguing that every such disbursement was a clear act of non-compliance with the rulings on this matter. Canada supported the EU statement, while the United States said it has taken all actions necessary to implement the ruling.

DS316: European Communities and Certain Member States — Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft: Implementations of the recommendations adopted by the DSB

The United States said that once again the European Union has failed to provide a status report to the DSB concerning dispute DS316. The European Union repeated that the matter is subject to new compliance proceedings and thus there was no obligation on the EU to submit a status report.

Appellate Body appointments

Mexico, speaking on behalf of 120 members (Nepal becoming the latest co-sponsor), introduced once again the group's proposal to start the selection processes for six vacancies on the Appellate Body. The increasing and considerable number of members submitting the proposal reflects a common concern over the current situation in the Appellate Body that is seriously affecting its workings as well as the workings of the overall dispute settlement system against the best interest of members, Mexico said for the group.

Nearly 20 members then took the floor to comment. Most of those speaking reiterated the importance of resolving the impasse over the appointment of new members as soon as possible and re-establishing a functioning Appellate Body. Many said it was the obligation of members to begin the process, as Article 17.2 of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) requires members to fill Appellate Body vacancies as they arise. China said the present paralysis means that 10 pending appeals are suspended until the Appellate Body resumes functioning and that 33 pending panel disputes are also facing a potential legal limbo should the paralysis continue.

Several delegations noted the declaration by 17 WTO members in Davos on 24 January to develop a multi-party interim appeal arrangement that will allow the participating WTO members to preserve a functioning and two-step dispute settlement system at the WTO in disputes among them. Japan said it noted this development with great interest but that any attempt to adopt measures of a provisional nature must serve the purpose of finding a long-lasting solution. 

The United States repeated that it was still not in the position to support the proposal and that the systemic concerns that it previously identified remain unaddressed. The fundamental problem is that the Appellate Body is not respecting the current, clear language of the DSU and members cannot find meaningful solutions to this problem without understanding how we arrived at this point, the US said. Without an accurate diagnostic, members cannot assess the likely effectiveness of any potential solution. 

The DSB chair noted that, in his role as facilitator, he put forward a draft decision on the functioning of the Appellate Body (WT/GC/W/791) which did not secure consensus at the General Council's 9 December 2019 meeting.  It was up to members to see how this work will be taken forward in the future, he said.  The chair also noted Director-General Azevedo's statement on 9 December informing members that he would be undertaking more intensive high-level consultations on how to resolve the matter.

Surveillance of implementation

China presented its first status report regarding its implementation of the WTO ruling in DS511, “China — Domestic Support for Agricultural Producers”.  China told the DSB that its government agencies have conducted intensive consultations aiming to implement the ruling and that, given the complexity of measures at issue and the sensitivity of the subject matter, the internal process was still ongoing. China said it will accelerate the internal process and fulfil its implementation obligations in due course.

The United States thanked China for its statement and its readiness to accelerate the implementation process, and said it looked forward to hearing more detail from China on its implementation plan. 

Brazil presented a further status report with regards to the implementation of the WTO ruling in DS472 and DS497, “Brazil — Certain Measures Concerning Taxation and Charges.” Brazil said that it enacted a law on 26 December bringing two challenged measures into conformity with WTO requirements and that, for the remaining programmes at issue, the measures either expired before the issuance of the WTO ruling or were revoked or replaced. Brazil is therefore in full compliance with the WTO ruling, it declared.

The European Union and Japan, which initiated the complaint against Brazil, said they were still analysing whether Brazil's recent actions brought it into full compliance. Japan said it still had concerns that certain eligibility requirements for tax credits remain unchanged and that certain implementing orders remain in force that constitute prohibited subsidies.

The United States presented status reports with regard to DS184, “US — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Steel Products from Japan”,  DS160, “United States — Section 110(5) of US Copyright Act”, DS464, “United States — Anti-Dumping and Countervailing Measures on Large Residential Washers from Korea”, and DS471,“United States — Certain Methodologies and their Application to Anti-Dumping Proceedings Involving China”.

The European Union presented a status report with regard to DS291, “EC — Measures Affecting the Approval and Marketing of Biotech Products”.

Indonesia presented its status reports in DS477 and DS478, “Indonesia — Importation of Horticultural Products, Animals and Animal Products”. 

Other business

Morocco said that the anti-dumping measure at issue in its dispute with Turkey in DS513, “Morocco — Anti-Dumping Measures on Certain Hot-Rolled Steel from Turkey”, expired on 26 September 2019, and that Morocco therefore did not need to take any further action to ensure compliance with the ruling.

Turkey said it agreed Morocco did not need to take any further action with regard to the anti-dumping measure at issue but said it trusted Morocco would take the ruling fully into account in future anti-dumping determinations. Turkey also said it regretted that Morocco's anti-dumping measure has now been replaced by a safeguard measure.

Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the DSB will take place on 28 February.

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