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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DS604: Russian Federation — Certain Measures Concerning Domestic and Foreign Products and Services
The European Union submitted its second request for a panel to rule on several measures adopted by the Russian government which the EU claims form part of a broader import substitution programme aiming to replace, through a mix of restrictions and incentives, imported goods or services provided by foreign entities with domestic goods or services provided by Russian entities. The EU's first request was blocked by Russia at a DSB meeting on 29 November.
The EU referred to its statement on the matter made at the 29 November DSB meeting and said it maintains its request for the establishment of a panel.
Russia also referred to its statement made at the 29 November DSB meeting and said it regretted the EU's decision to further pursue its request for a panel. Russia is confident its measures fully comply with its WTO obligations, Russia said.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of a panel. Australia, Korea, Colombia, Brazil, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Ukraine and India reserved their third party rights to take part in the proceedings.
DS605: Dominican Republic — Antidumping Measures on Corrugated Steel Bars
Costa Rica submitted its second request for the establishment of a panel to rule on measures adopted by the Dominican Republic imposing anti-dumping duties on imports of corrugated or deformed steel rods and bars for concrete reinforcement originating in Costa Rica. Costa Rica's first request was blocked by the Dominican Republic at the DSB meeting on 29 November.
Costa Rica reiterates its belief that the measures in question are inconsistent with the Dominican Republic's obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and that the dumping investigation did not meet the minimum requirements set out under the WTO's Anti-dumping Agreement.
The Dominican Republic said it regretted Costa Rica's decision to pursue its panel request and reiterated its belief that the request was premature, as the parties have not exhausted all possible means to resolve the dispute. The Dominican Republic said that it is prepared to defend the legality of the measures adopted but that it is willing to continue working with Costa Rica to try to reach an amicable solution.
The DSB agreed to the establishment of a panel. The European Union, Russia, the United States Canada, Japan, and China reserved their third party rights to take part in the proceedings.
DS577: United States — Anti-dumping and countervailing duties on ripe olives from Spain
The European Union thanked the panel for its work in this dispute. The panel report circulated on 19 November substantially upheld the EU’s claims and largely confirmed that in the anti-subsidy duties imposed by the US on ripe olives from Spain, the US acted inconsistently with the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM), the EU said. The panel found that the US did not comply with its obligation in the determination of “de jure” specificity of the subsidy and in the calculation of the subsidy benefit for one specific EU company. It also found that Section 771B of the US Tariff Act of 1930, which presumes that the entire benefit of a subsidy provided in respect of a raw agricultural product passes through to the downstream processed agricultural product, is ‘as such’ inconsistent with the ASCM. The EU said it expects the US will promptly and fully implement the panel's findings.
The United States said that while it was disappointed in certain respects, it welcomed the panel’s findings on key issues in the dispute. The panel rightly rejected many of the numerous claims brought by the EU regarding the anti-dumping and countervailing duties at issue, including key EU claims relating to injury and so-called “decoupled” payments.
The United States said it appreciated the panel’s rejection of all eight claims concerning the US International Trade Commission’s injury determination and that, contrary to certain comments, the panel rejected the EU position that so-called “decoupled” agricultural payments cannot be subject to countervailable duties. In particular, the panel did not find that the EU Common Agricultural Policy programs at issue were outside the scope of the ASCM. Although disappointed with some of the panel’s findings, the US has decided to allow the report to be adopted in light of all the circumstances, including the overall quality of the panel report and the US desire to work with the EU to resolve this dispute, the US said.
Canada highlighted the panel's important finding that an investigating authority must establish the existence and extent of indirect subsidization, taking into account all relevant factors, in order to impose countervailing duties.
The DSB took note of the statements made and adopted the panel report.
Statement by Tunisia regarding the status of the consultations concerning the dispute “Morocco — Definitive anti‑dumping measures on school exercise books from Tunisia” (DS578)
Tunisia made a statement regarding its ongoing efforts with Morocco to resolve their differences on the implementation of the WTO panel ruling in DS578. The two sides met on 14 December on the initiative of the DSB chair, Ambassador Didier Chambovey of Switzerland, with Tunisia describing the talks as promising. Morocco informed Tunisia and the DSB chair on progress made by its relevant authorities in revising the calculation of the dumping margin on school exercise books in accordance with the conclusions of the panel report, Tunisia said. Tunisia said it will prepare itself constructively for the next round of talks which the DSB chair proposed to take place the week of 10 January 2022.
Morocco welcomed the fraternal atmosphere and constructive spirit of interaction between the two parties. Both sides had good faith and pragmatic discussions of the different options before them to break the stalemate at the 14 December meeting, with Morocco looking to adjust the measures at issue in line with the panel's recommendations. Morocco said it trusts both parties are moving towards an agreement which will resolve this dispute.
In his role as DSB chair Ambassador Chambovey also expressed his hope that the dialogue between Tunisia and Morocco will continue so that a mutually satisfactory solution can be found.
DS217: United States — Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000
Both the EU and the United States referred to their previous statements under this item.
DS316: European Communities and Certain Member States — Measures affecting trade in large civil aircraft: Implementation of the recommendations adopted by the DSB
The United States noted that the US and the EU reached an “Understanding on a cooperative framework for Large Civil Aircraft” and that it looks forward to engaging with its EU partners on to create a more level global playing field in this sector. The EU referred to its previous statements under this item.
Appellate Body appointments
Mexico, speaking on behalf of 122 members, introduced for the 49th time the group's proposal to start the selection processes for filling vacancies on the Appellate Body. The extensive number of members submitting the proposal reflects a common concern over the current situation in the Appellate Body which is seriously affecting the overall WTO dispute settlement system against the best interest of members, Mexico said for the group.
The United States reiterated that it was not in a position to support the proposed decision. The US continues to have systemic concerns with the Appellate Body, which it has explained and raised over the past 16 years and across multiple administrations. The US said it believes that WTO members must undertake fundamental reform if the dispute settlement system is to remain viable and credible. The dispute settlement system can and should better support the WTO’s negotiating and monitoring functions, the US said, adding that it looked forward to further discussions with members on these important issues.
Nearly 20 delegations (including EU for its 27 members and Morocco for the African Group) took the floor to reiterate the importance of the WTO's two-tiered dispute settlement system to the stability and predictability of the multilateral trading system, and the need to resolve the impasse over the appointment of new members as soon as possible and re-establish a functioning Appellate Body. Several delegations said good progress was made in the run-up to the postponed 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) to address the matter and that this momentum should not be lost.
For the 122 members, Mexico again came back to say the fact a member may have concerns about certain aspects of the functioning of the Appellate Body cannot serve as pretext to impair and disrupt the work of the DSB and the dispute settlement in general, and that there was no legal justification for the current blocking of the selection processes, which is causing concrete nullification and impairment of rights for many members.
The DSB chair also noted a certain amount of progress was made in the preparatory work for MC12 and again expressed his hope that members will be able to find a solution to this matter as soon as possible.
Surveillance of implementation
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.”
Speaking in his role as facilitator to the chair of the DSB, Australia's WTO ambassador George Mina reported to members on efforts he has engaged in with the Philippines and Thailand to resolve their differences in DS371, “Thailand — Customs and Fiscal Measures on Cigarettes from the Philippines.”
The next DSB meeting will take place on 25 January 2022.